Scout Book: Question Four for Author Mary Head
The Fourth Question about No Safe Place and Mary Head.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I love doing research, and I do a lot of it. It's a bit of a compulsion for me, in that I don't want to write anything I don't know at least a little bit about, so even if it's for a small line of dialogue, or something that won't even come up in the story directly, I still want to have it in my head, because it better shapes the story and characters for me. As for the length of time I spend researching, I don't think I have any kind of set frame. I research whatever I think of before writing, and I research while writing too, if something big comes up; I try to leave smaller things for later, so I don't get stalled researching something minor. But for No Safe Place, I was researching FBI practices, looking at Washington D.C. and Arlington in Google Earth to get a feel for street names and routes characters might take, the effects of certain drugs, laws about kidnapping... I'm surprised the actual FBI hasn't come knocking on my door.
Hannah Cole, a young graduate student attending George Washington University, and her father David Cole, a senior FBI agent, enjoy a happy life together in Arlington, Virginia. Due to the nature of his job, and having been a single father for most of Hannah's life, David has always been fiercely protective of his daughter and has taken great strides to keep her safe. But when Hannah is kidnapped from their home one night, their world is turned upside down.
With the force of the FBI behind him, including his best friend Juliet Grayson, trusted partner Chris Tyler, and rookie agent Eli Shaw, David rushes to find his daughter, while Hannah struggles to stay alive, both of them racing against a deadline that could mean the end of Hannah's life.