I posted the idea for this blog on Facebook wanting some comments and asking if other authors had experienced rejection. My thanks to David Schlosser and Bob Dunbar who responded with an example each. I can’t make up this stuff so I’ll let them tell their short stories in their own words:
David Schlosser: I once wrote a scene in which a veterinarian sedates a bad guy and contacted the head of the US association of veterinary anesthetists to conduct research. He was polite and responsive until I asked what sort of chemical cocktail a vet would have access to in a vet clinic that would knock out a human. Then he said (IMHO, wisely, though it hadn’t occurred to me until he said), “Because I don’t know you, I don’t think I should answer that question.”
Bob Dunbar: When I was doing research for my novel about the Alamo, a colonel in the Mexican army refused to allow me access to their archives, claiming that the Mexican army had never massacred anyone at any time during its history.
No, we authors don’t have it easy when it comes to research. When trying to find out information on child pornography I called the FBI. I repeatedly said I wasn’t involved with it, didn’t want to be involved with it, had zero interest in other than some facts to put in a story. I wonder if I ended up on a watch list anyway.
When I talked to the Oskaloosa police regarding heroin for Mallory’s next adventure, again I made it clear several times I didn’t want the drug, didn’t want to sell the drug, didn’t want to be involved with the drug, and had no plans to buy any quantity. I just needed information.
Since I don’t want to end this on a low note, let me highlight some successes.
One of the best two interviews I had were with a nurse and a counselor who provided me loads of material on addiction. Both will receive a mention on the acknowledgments page and probably a signed book.
Another great adventure was had with a friend from high school who helped me ‘do the zoo’ for a future story. She definitely will receive a free book.
As I mentioned I put people I meet into my books in some fashion. Many writers do this. I hear stories and live through experiences that I remember, write down, and save for future reference. A former landlord and some previous neighbor tenants are bound for a future story…and not as likeable people, but hey, it’s their own fault. Lol.
Advice to the general public: please help out a writer when asked. Watch how you act and what you say around writers. You might end up in a story…
Please share your research woes and wins below.