This is something that I often do. I’m working on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and it has a lot to do with wild fires. I’m not a firefighter, except for one retired fireman married to my cousin, I have none in my family. (Cousin’s hubby wouldn’t be helpful because he fought city fires.)
Fortunately, I have a friend who is also in my critque group who has been a volunteer fireman for years and often works on the big forest fires around the state. Believe me, I’ve truly picked his brain.
I’m good at this because of course, I’ve never been a resident deputy sheriff either. Living where I do, we’ve had several I’ve become acquainted with over the years. In fact, I wrote an article for the newspaper about the woman who inspired me to write about a female deputy sheriff. As for the real-life deputies who came after her, the first was a layed-back guy who had some traits that I borrowed for Tempe. Even the more gung-ho type we have now was kind enough to let me see inside his truck so I’d know what one looked like.
And for all of us writing about murder–I doubt that many of us have known a murderer personally or what really makes one do what the or she has done. But it hasn’t stopped any of us from writing about murderers and the acts they commit.
What I think that says for all of us is that we’re good at researching what we want to know and have incredibly lively imaginations. And of course, we’re counting on our readers to be transported to the world that we’ve created.
What else can you think of that helps you to write about people and subjects you really don’t know much about?
Marilyn who also writes as F.M. Meredith