Tuesday, April 18, 2017

In the Name of Research: Pregnancy Tests, Duct Tape, and Locked Trunks – by Patricia Beal

Late last month, author Angela Ruth Strong asked a group of writers: What is the wackiest thing you have ever done in the name of "research"?

Oh, the answers we got! I'm going to share a few of them here (because they're too awesome not to), and then I hope you will have some of your own to add to the list.

Mine: "I purchased a Frist Response pregnancy test, used it, and later threw it with violence against the bathroom floor to see if it would break, and if so, how and in how many pieces." (Not the one in the picture. That one is our first evidence of "baby" Logan and I still have that test.)

Author Heather Day Gilbert: "So far, I had my hubby duct tape my wrists to see if I could break it (I did!), then I had my daughter shut me in a car trunk to see what it was like. These were for my contemp mysteries. I have also shot guns my characters use, etc." (For the full results of the duct tape experiment, check out Trial by Twelve.)

Author Jessica Osborn Patch: "Once I let my best friend blindfold me and tie my hands behind my back then throw me in her trunk and drive around. I was curious if I could count turns. After a few you can't. I should note she didn't mention she bought canned goods and forgot to get a bag out. I was sore for days. I wanted to kick out her taillight but her husband was against it. She however said I could. Also, we stalked a stranger for several days. And we discovered he was cheating on his wife. It's crazy what you can find out by following someone, peeking in their car and Facebook stalking. So that's about it. Please still like me!"

I asked Jessica about the research behind her latest cover: "LOL!! Lots of buried stuff."

Author Cara Grandle: "I hosted a poker party because I've never played and needed to take notes. I visited a friend who owns draft horses to see if I could climb on without a saddle (I couldn't but a young 20s guy did). I made my husband lay on the floor and fake unconscious while I tried to drag him and get him up on the bed (not happening). I had my husband carry me limp a couple city blocks to see if it was attractive or a hot sweaty, puffing for air mess (I ain't petite. It was a mess). And I laid across the back of a horse while someone else led it to see if I could be unconscious on my stomach and limp and not just slide off one side or the other. That one worked..." 

How about that?

So next time you feel like doing some serious research but feel weird and wacky, don't. I don't think I will ever beat some of these girls... Chances are you won't either. So go and be a little weird.

Your turn. What's the wackiest thing you've done so far in the name of research?

Patricia Beal writes contemporary Christian fiction and is represented by Leslie Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, comes out on May 9, 2017 (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). The pre-order link is up!

She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. Now, after a 10-year break in service, she is an Army editor. She and her husband live in El Paso, Texas, with their two children.


  1. This was such a fun question and I hope to do many other semi-crazy things in the name of research in the future! LOL!

    1. It was a fun question indeed! Awesome answers. Now I don't feel weird about novel research. I know there are a bunch of other "weirdos" all over the writing community. It's just who we are... #notalone :)

  2. Great question, Patricia and love the responses. Now of my research has been anything so exciting except travelling to some fabulous locations all in the name of research.

    1. What? No real bomb blasts? No evil businessmen online community? ;) Travelling counts, of course. Great to see you here, Ian.