What research did you do for the novel to ensure credibility? Have you, or do you plan to work with consultants? At what point would you bring in a consultant?
Thank you for this question. It’s a very relevant topic especially in this genre, which is psychological, medical and crime related. Yes. I’ve done a lot of research. It was research, which needed to be done. Integration needs to be created between fiction and credible fact. There are editors in the publishing companies who specifically check, even the most simplest of issues. It’s also crucial that the writer save the research in its entirety to either prove or disprove an editorial change request.
My background is psychology, not psychiatry, so I needed to research the facets of Forensic Psychiatry, from NYC Law codes, salaries, job descriptions, duties, practice and procedures, psychiatric and medical testing, psychotropic drugs, mental health laws in NYC, confinement of people with varying forms of mental illness to procedures within maximum-security facilities vs minimum security.
I have experience in residential mental health facilities but not with a criminal population and mine was in the 1970’s. There have been many changes since then. I needed to learn about the mental institutionalization of children in the 1980’s vs today.
A maximum-security facility has its own rules and procedures from the moment you step foot in the front door. It’s very stressful to say the least. For details, you’ll have to read the novel.
I also delved into schizophrenia, psychosis, drug induced psychosis, claustrophobia, panic attacks, psychopathic behavior including treatment, alternative therapies, mind-body connection therapies and nutrition. My female killer is psychopathic. Not a serial killer but a predatory murderer. The differences are clear.
I needed to know hostage negotiation procedures, dialog, weaponry, team structure, strategies for the goal: no shots fired. I’ve done crisis interventions and coaching, but again not in a criminal situation. Believe it or not, some of the coaching techniques and dialog I used are the same. Here is where my consultants thus far helped me a lot. One was an NYPD Detective, and the second a Captain of Major Crimes in our county. They explained to me the differences in ESU (Emergency Service Unit) in NYC, to SWAT and HNT (Hostage Negotiation Team) here in Fla. The differences add an interesting dimension to the story since my NYC psychiatrist becomes involved in a situation down here too.
I had to learn interrogation techniques, Taekwondo moves, black belt ranks and testing, cinematographic techniques, cinematography equipment, how to create holograms and different ethnic dialects. How does all of this relate? Well, you’ll just have to read the novel when it reaches print.
Another form of ‘consultant’ I use is photographs. Last time we went to NYC I took photos of the locations in the novel. This has been extremely helpful, especially in the edits and revisions stage. Those pics add an extra punch of reality in including descriptions from the POV of the characters.
Will I be utilizing consultants? Yes. A friend in NYC will be helping me tweak maximum security. I am looking for a psychiatrist who specializes in Medical Orgone Therapy. So if you read this and know someone practicing in NYC please bring us together.
There is so much info online now. Sometimes working with a consultant you have to pay can be avoided. So, regarding using other consultants? I’ll wait and see what a publisher suggests.
I hope you found this to be interesting and you got a peek into some of the content of the Psychological Thriller, Gemini.
Happy New Year everyone!
Please keep the questions coming.