Monthly Archives: March 2015

Researching Science Fiction






What research is involved in writing science fiction? There can be quite a lot, actually. In my first science fiction novel, Relocated,      my main character, Keth, becomes involved in ceramics and glass blowing. I had some knowledge of ceramics left over from a pot-throwing course at summer camp and another summer spent playing with copper enamel, but I knew nothing about blowing glass. So it was off to the internet to check things out and construct — mentally,  anyway — my studio. It turned out to be quite large, with a separate room for storing the finished work, an area for throwing pots, and another with a couple of furnaces for the glass. Because my main character was sweet on the master craftsman’s daughter, I spent a fair amount of time getting the details nailed down to my satisfaction. My character spent quite a  lot of time there, too.

In the next Aleyne novel,  Broken Bonds, I shamelessly picked the brains of my middle son, who was in the army at the time, as my main character was a military officer who was called up on charges. I also researched the International Court, which had an equivalent — the Interstellar Court — in my novel. As well, I checked out procedures for criminal trials. My father was an attorney, my mother served on the Grand Jury, and I have been a juror several times, so I was more comfortable with trials and courtrooms than I was with military procedures. Still, I wanted to get the details right.

I also ended up researching stringed instruments. One of my major characters plays an imaginary stringed instrument, and I wanted to know what it looked and sounded like. I play the flute and the piccolo, but my knowledge of strings is limited, and so it was off to the internet to do some research. In the end, I decided it was made of wood and shaped something like an autoharp, and came in various sizes like violins, violas, cellos and basses do. Did most of this information end up in the text? Um, no, but I needed to know it.

As to badly researched material in books I read, yes, it bugs me. I can still recall a novel by a well-known author where the main character played the flute and composed. I play the flute and the piccolo, and have for many years. Flute players are a dime a dozen, which is one of the many reasons so many of them turn to composing. While the author did a fine job on this aspect, in my opinion she short-changed the flute playing. There were a couple of places in the text where a bit more detail. The character was writing a book on the difficulties of playing the instrument, and there should, I believe, have been more specific detail. It’s been years since I read this novel, and I still find it annoying.

And that is one of the many reasons why I look up glass blowing, the International Court, the military, and stringed instruments. I don’t my readers to have that reaction.

Do check out the posts by my fellow bloggers:
Margaret Fieland
Beverley Bateman
Skye Taylor
Rachael Kosnski
Heidi M. Thomas
Marci Baun
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Connie Vines
Kay Sisk
Fiona McGier
A.J. Maguire
Judith Copek
Lynn Crain
Rhobin Courtright

Meet Janet Brown

Meet author Janet K. Brown, author of Worth her Weight

Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. Writing became her second career after  retirement from medical coding.  Worth Her Weight will be the author’s debut inspirational women’s fiction, but it makes a perfect companion to her recently released, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Both books encompass her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word. janet (3)

Worth Her Weight marks Brown’s third book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July,  2012.

Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren, and work in their church. Find her at

on Twitter at

on Facebook!/pages/Janet-K-Brown-Author/143915285641707


Can you tell us a bit about your book?

Worth Her Weight is an inspirational women’s fiction. Here is what you’ll see on the back cover.WHW_cover_11-26-14 (1)

How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God’s love and healing when she believes she’s fat, unworthy, and unfixable? Can she be Worth Her Weight?

LACEY CHANDLER helps her mother, her sister, her friend, and then she binges on food and wonders is there really a God?

BETTY CHANDLER hates being handicapped and useless, so she lashes out at the daughter that helps, and the God who doesn’t seem to care.

TOBY WHEELER loves being police chief in Wharton Rock, but when the devil invades the small town, he can’t release control.

Here’s the trailer for the book:


Did you always want to be a writer?

I had a junior high teacher that inspired me to write. I think I’ve been writing something ever since. When my children were small, I published a few short stories. I submitted one novel, it was rejected, and I quit that until years later.


When did you start writing seriously, and what do you think was the trigger?

My demanding job as a medical coder/bookkeeper in a doctor’s office pushed out writing except for daily journals until I retired eight years ago. After that, I delved into writing as a second career, joining writing groups, attending conferences and workshops, and submitting often. It’s been quite a ride. I got enough rejections to paper my wall before I got the first contract.


I notice you live in Texas. How do you believe the state has shaped what you write?

They say write what you know, so I do.

My YA ghost series takes place in Texas. The first one, Victoria and the Ghost, already published happens at a registered Texas ghost town, Clara. The second one, contracted but not published yet, happens in McKinney, TX, near Dallas.

The new women’s fiction, Worth Her Weight, takes place in a fictional North Texas town.


How do you find your personal beliefs have shaped your writing?

I write from a Christian worldview. Though not preachy, my characters either look at things from that perspective or come to view things that way. My tagline is Writing God’s Message of Hope. My desire is to offer hope to those suffering from addictions, compulsions, or any insurmountable problem at the same time I entertain them with a good story.

If you could meet any writer, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I read a lot of Fern Michaels. Her stories grip your emotions and don’t let go. I just know she would have some good advice on how to do that. I would like to ask her why she quit writing.

Of ones I have met, Margaret Daley, tops my list. She introduced me to Christian fiction and has been a mentor every since.


If you could take only one book with you to a desert island, what would it be and why?

Wow, you sure ask difficult questions. If only one book, it would have to be the Bible.

I would prefer a stack of books because I like to change from one genre to the next. I generally keep a fiction and non-fiction going all the time.

If I did narrow that down to two, I’d say non-fiction would be Courage to Change by Bill Pittman and Dick B. Fiction would be The Debt by Angela Hunt.


Who is your favorite writer in your genre?

I have 3 different genres published.

I’ve already given my favorite for women’s fiction – Angela Hunt.

For YA, my favorite would be Beverly Stowe McClure.

For devotion books, I would say Mrs. Charles E. Cowman.

Did you have a favorite book growing up, and what was it?

To be honest, I don’t remember reading much as a child.


What is your favorite piece of writing advice?

2 things

Write something every day.

And Read something every day.


Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

After I get an idea, I write 2-3 chapters just letting the creative process take over without any editing.

Then, I stop and interview my characters. I draw what I call an amoeba with four points determining plot points and black moment. Sometimes, if know at this point, I might make a chapter by chapter outline, but not always.

Then, I begin to write as before, not stopping to edit until the full first draft is finished. Then, I make up a storyboard adding colored post-it notes for each main thread and see where there’s work to be done. I read and edit the entire manuscript six to eight times before I call it done.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing a sequel to Worth Her Weight. It will involve pornography as the addiction in the same small town.

At the same time, I’m working with my editor Renee La Viness from 4RV Publishing to improve my YA A Ghost for Shelley due out later in 2015.


What do you want readers to take away from your book?

Many good people become caregivers and volunteers but don’t take care of themselves. I want them to understand, though they may become addicted to food and feel fat and worthless, there can be hope and lasting joy despite what life throws their way.

Any last words?

Just that I wish to thank you, Margaret, for hosting me as your guest and allowing me to tell about my new book. I’m greatly honored.