Last week marked the five year anniversary of my debut, Not A Drop to Drink being published. Since my post-apocalyptic debut I’ve written historical, mystery, contemporary, thriller, and fantasy. With seven books published, and an eighth coming in March, I’ve researched some odd things.
One of the difficulties facing me when I started writing Not A Drop to Drink was how to make the world believable. I think that’s a huge leaping off point for any writer of Sci-Fi or Spec-Fic. How do we sell the world we pop our characters into? In my case, it wasn’t one of those things where I could lackadaisically describe some trees (although trees are awesome) because the entire plot is based on the environment.
So, in a world where water is scarce and most of the water that does exist is cholera-ridden, how the hell is my character surviving? Well, I’m the biggest nerd you’ve ever met. So I researched my butt off in regards to H2O. I read about the history of water, I read about water ethics, and I read about water purification methods.
Yes, we can get salt out of water – good tip…
… but my character doesn’t live near the sea.
Yes, you can drink your own pee…
… but not on a long term basis. Also, I wasn’t sure I wanted DRINK to be identified as “that book where the chick drinks her own pee all the time.”
Which left me with this – how is my character going to conceivably drink pond water in a world where I slashed the population down with cholera? Luckily, I’m a very invested nerd and I read National Geographic, where I discovered the SODIS method.
Yes! Science to the rescue! In short, the SODIS method involves putting water in clear plastic bottles and exposing them to at least six hours of sunlight. The UV-A rays in sunlight do the work, killing off viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Gee, thanks sun. You rock.
I’ve researched many odd things in search of facts for my fiction, and could tell you more things about lobotomies than you care to know. If you do happen to care, I did put together a little video about it while I was writing A Madness So Discreet.
Katherine Locke, my guest for this week’s podcast episode is also a bit of a stickler when it comes to research for her historical fiction. Check out this week’s ep to learn how Katherine’s process of drafting ignores the need to be perfect, putting that responsibility on the editing process. As well as how she approaches historical facts while working with fiction, plus her process of research while writing.