Waking the Dead by Kylie Brant

Waking the DeadThere was a time in my life when that title phrase would have reflected the task of getting my five kids out of bed in the morning in time for school :).  But now it refers to the third of my Mindhunters trilogy, which released on November 3.

I will confess to being something of a research geek at heart.  I love research. I can get lost in it. If reality hadn’t had a nasty way of interfering, I probably could have been a lifelong student. Alas, the    children required feeding. My husband expected a wife that dropped in occasionally. That lifelong college career was not to be.

Maybe that’s why I choose subject matter in my dark romantic thrillers that I have absolutely no expertise in. I find the research endlessly fascinating. I’m chock full of  random bits of knowledge that serve as little more than inappropriate dinner conversation (defleshing bones) or make for eye-widening introductions (Meeting husband’s new boss for the the first time, dh jerks his thumb at me and says, “She knows a half dozen ways to kill someone silently.”) You just never know when this stuff is going to come in handy.

My books tend to have a forensics / police procedural slant. I tell myself that the characters have different forensic specialties to prevent me from becoming bored. But I suspect that sub-consciously I’m planning subjects that I’d like to learn more about.

I don’t often have the opportunity to travel to the location of my story’s setting, but I did for Waking the Dead. My sister had once lived in a picturesque little Oregon mountain town called McKenzie Bridge. I always thought it sounded like a wonderful place to set a book. So I flew out to stay with my her for a few days, and we hiked the Willamette Forest and crawled through caves. I met someone who described the perfect cave to dump seven sets of skeletal remains. He didn’t need to know that during the course of our conversation I’d already mentally cast him as my villain ) complete with the character’s personality.  That was magic.

A magic that didn’t extend to the more technical aspects of the story. Turns out I know very little about the care and feeding of dermestid beetles, defleshing skeletal remains, testing bones for latent fingerprints or extracting DNA from bones. But I was able to find molecular scientists and forensic anthropologists to help along the way.  Research books only go so far.  It takes experts in the field to answer those questions specific to my plots.  I find their information and careers endlessly fascinating.

And always, after speaking with them, I’m left wondering, where *I* was on career day.

What careers / occupations do you find fascinating?  If you could do it all over again, what would you be ‘when you grew up’?  I’m giving away an autographed copy of Waking the Dead to one commenter today!  For more information about The Mindhunters check out my site at www.kyliebrant.com.

22 Responses to Waking the Dead by Kylie Brant

  1. susan leech

    Morning Kylie, what a nice post and funny you should ask the question I had just talked about with some friends earlier. I made my life a yo yo style life. Married at 16 ..four children by age 21 and by the time I was 33 I return back to school and went to business school. I had gotten to graduate from high school by taking GED courses but I wanted to work in an office. I graduated from business school and work for awhile in several offices but wanted to be more active so went to factory work. After 46 years of marriage to the same man I am now retired and still work part time as cashier at wal mart. NOW TO DO IT OVER YES I would graduate and still take a business course but I would talk myself into staying contented in the office and now change jobs. Now that I am older I often wished I had stayed where I could set down once in awhile..my current job is all standing. I would not had changed anything else just the choice of work. susan L.

  2. Kylie Brant

    Good for you, Susan, to go back to school for more education. Everytime I talk to an expert for a story I think, “Ooh, forensic profiling. That would have been cool.” Or forensic anthropology??? Awesome. A couple days ago I spoke with a forensic linguist and feel like I missed my calling. Language *and* forensics???? That sounds perfect!

  3. Pam Keener

    Funny you should ask what I want to be when I grow up? I am 54 years young a retired road dog police officer at 48 years old and still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up LOL. 6 years later and I am still lost. I wouldn’t have changed my profession because I loved being out on the road helping people in need. I loved the fact that basically if I did my job I stayed under the radar so to speak and the upper echelon left me alone. I now drive workmens comp patients to doctor appointments and things like that. I am once again back on the road & helping people. It is not something new and exciting but with a little help from my right brain, or is it left, I feel confident that I will find that perfect job.

    Love & Hugs,
    Pam Keener in PA

  4. Laurie

    Loving the Mindhunters series! (Ok, I’ve only read the first one so far!)

    I work as a legal assistant in a small civil practice law office, but if I had it all to do over again, I think I would have enjoyed being an elementary school art teacher. The profession that I admire the most is that of the surgeon. The miracles they can perform on ailing bodies, be it disfigured faces, reattaching limbs or fixing those seriously broken and failing hearts, I’m still stunned at some of the procedures I hear about.

  5. Lisa G

    I love forensics! I have actually taken classes when you learn to ID bones for race, age and type of death. One class covered ways people die by murder and how their killers make it look like accident. I also love archaeology. Being able to dig up our past in bones and artifacts and relating them to our lives today. I guess like you said above to one of the other blogger “Forensic Anthropology” would have been something I loved to do. My body let me down from the start and now my mind and age(I’m only 48) makes me feel like I’m “too late” to start something new. I know it’s all in the mind!!! So Kylie, Pick Me, I really could use the boast right now!!

  6. Kylie Brant

    Pam, good luck on finding that occupation just right for you!

    Thanks, Laurie 🙂 Yes, I’m amazed at the surgeries they can perform too. I know Grey’s Anatomy very exaggerated but the procedures they do are real and I’m always in awe of them.

  7. Sarah T

    When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a fighter pilot, but biology prevented that. So, I ended up in finance. Blah, right?

    Now, when I think back I wish I had become an archaeologist. The combination of science and history is fascinating, and learning about those who came before us – well, I can’t believe they PAY people to do this! 😉

  8. Deanne

    Kylie,
    What a great post. I’ve thought about this most of my working career. I believe it’s not what you do but what you do with what you have. If I had it to do all over again I would work 2 or 3 jobs, save all my money, live sparsely and invest what I made, then I would move to a tropical island as soon as I could and do nothing but read and maybe write. Can you tell I’m ready for retirement? Thanks for letting me dream.

  9. Kylie Brant

    LOL, Lisa. I sooo understand about the body letting you down! Those classes sound verrry cool!

    Sarah, I think archeology would be cool too. But hard to understand how you haul your family around on those great digs all over the world!

    Deanne, dream away! I dream about the day I retire to just one full time job, LOL! But I know I’d get bored so I have to wait until I get more tired, LOL.

  10. Mary Anne Landers

    Kylie: Thank you for your blog. If only there were more fiction writers like you! I love it when an author has dug deep into some fascinating topic and incorporates it into her story. I can really get lost in fiction like that. And it’s in no danger of being dismissed as just another work in its genre, or confused with any others.

    As for your question: I recall a line from comedian Lily Tomlin in her persona of Edith Ann, a precocious little girl: “People ask me what I want to be when I grow up. I tell them, I want to be myself.”

  11. Martha Lawson

    Hi Kylie!

    I’ve only been back in the workforce for the past 2 years. I am a small town librarian – I actually run 2 libraries in two different towns (6 miles apart). I love my job, working with books what could be better? My dream has always been to have my own bookstore. That would be great. Anyway, i’m happy with being a librarian.. Love the mindhunter series, even tho, i’ve only read the first one, so far..

  12. Kara

    Kylie,
    I have really enjoyed your current series! I haven’t read the latest one yet, but it is high on my to-buy list.
    As for occupations, as a little girl, I wanted to be a detective. Still find shows and books featuring detectives very fun! In reality, I grew up to become a special education teacher in an elementary school. There are days I think I’d rather be on a deserted island, if only for a little while, but in general, I still find it fascinating. I can honestly say, I am never, ever bored, and no day is just like the one before!

  13. Tracey D

    Hi, Kylie.

    I majored in biology and some how ended in IT! What the heck!!!???

    Anyway, I was interested in genetics and forensic pathology!

    Oh, well, maybe in my next life.. .oh, no, wait, I’m going to be beautiful and rich, then. Maybe the next one!

    Thanks.

  14. Mariska

    Great post Kylie!
    What i want to do, be a psychologist. That’s my dream when i was young, but i’m ended up in IT 🙂
    I like to hear people ask and share their secrets with me, giving them my thoughts and opinions. And usually they’re the one who pick me among other friends to share their problems at my work last time. Maybe because i’m the ‘quiet’ person 🙂
    and Big Congrats for the new Release Kylie! I’m amazed. How you can manage your time between 5 childrens, husband, houseworks, writing. Brilliant ^.*b

  15. Kylie Brant

    Mary Anne, the trick with all this research is making sure I don’t hit readers over the head with it, LOL. I rarely can use all the cool details I find. Ah, well, it always comes in handy for that dinner conversation I mentioned!

    Thanks, Martha! I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than being surrounded by books!

    Kara, thanks! Glad you’re enjoying the books. When I was in grade school, there was a book called Harriet the Spy that I absolutely loved. And then of course there was Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys, LOL. I loved detectives, too.

    Tracy in my next life I’m going to be forever young, LOL!

    Mariska, I wanted to be a psychologist from the time I was in second grade. I like to think I pour some of that fascination for the field into my story characters.

  16. Kara

    That’s so funny. Harriet the Spy was my favorite book! I was telling someone about it the other day.

  17. Little Lamb Lost

    I would love to be a consultant who went “undercover” and evaluated services and the client experience for hotels and spas. It is apparently a real career for some lucky few.

  18. Beverly G

    I find alot of career oppertunityes facinating id Love to be a criminologist or a Behaviorl anylist theres alot id do psychology i find all of that very intrigueing and exciting would i go back and change how my life is now no not for a second i embrace the differances and i love how my life hasturned out i wouldnt ask for anything better

  19. Linda Henderson

    I find the aerospace industry fascinating. When I was in high school I wanted to work for NASA.

  20. Lindy

    Although I love what I do (I’m self employed), I could totally see going into forensic science. But even more so, that’s what my husband should have done. He has the right kind of brain for that stuff.

    By the way, I’ll bet you’d be really fun to hang out with. No such thing as “inappropriate” dinner conversation around here! 🙂

    ~Lindy

  21. Kylie Brant

    Little Lamb Lost, that does sound like lots of fun!

    LOL, Lindy, be careful what you wish for ! A few writers were having dinner in a restaurant near the Smithsonian and talking at length about how a thief could break in to steal the Hope Diamond. We concocted some pretty out there schemes and went on to some other topic. When we were leaving we noticed two Smithsonian security guards sitting in the booth behind us. We assured them we were writers, but they did not look amused!

    Wow, Linda to aspire to Nasa you must have the sort of scientific brain I lack!

    Beverly, I think behavioral profiling would be fascinating!

  22. Kylie Brant

    The winner of the autographed copy of Waking the Dead is….Tracey D!

    Please contact me at kylie@kyliebrant.com with your snail mail addy. Congrats!

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