As Zora Neale Hurston put it, “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” And what, you might ask, are the Swanky 17ers curious about? Why, biopunk, cockroaches, and breaking into the Pentagon, of course! What other weird information did we just have to dig up for our 2017 debuts? Here’s our strangest Google searches in name of research, Part II.
1) Obsessive-compulsive hand washing — as well as a slew of how-to videos on YouTube — in order to get a sense of how the protagonist’s mom would have performed this OCD-fueled ritual. Apparently, there are more ways to wash your hands than I thought!
Melissa Roske, KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN, Charlesbridge, June 13, 2017
2) My main character is a sneakerhead so I Googled, “How to properly clean a Jordan sneaker.” Surprisingly, it’s not as easy as just throwing it in a washing machine. There’s a method that involves a combination of toothpaste, detergent, and sunlight. It’s pretty cool. I became obsessed with watching sneaker cleaning videos.
A. C. Thomas, THE HATE U GIVE, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Spring ’17
3) I had a ton of weird Google searches for my debut, but the ones that probably landed me on an NSA watch list were:
-bruise colorations over time
-how hard do you have to hit a knee with a bat to break it
-how long does it take for a body to completely decompose; and
-the locations of hate groups in the US.
S. F. Henson, DEVILS WITHIN, Sky Horse/Sky Pony, Fall ’17
4) “How to slaughter and skin a cow” and surprisingly there are websites that go in great detail. *shudders* The Internet is a dark dark place.
Amy Brashear, NO SAINTS IN KANSAS, Soho Teen, Fall ’17
5) I once I fell into a body hacker/biopunk internet wormhole and didn’t emerge for DAYS. My husband had to talk me down from trying to implant a magnet into my fingertip.
Darcy Miller, ROLL, HarperCollins, Summer ’17
6) Pretty much all of my searches could get me on the NSA watchlist. Probably the worst was how to break into the Pentagon. So if I suddenly disappear one day…
Tracey Neithercott, GRAY WOLF ISLAND, Random House/Knopf, Fall ’17
7) I looked up various Arabic swear words for WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND – which didn’t make the final cut! LOL!
Tanaz Bathena, WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND, MacMillan/FSG Books for Young Readers, Winter ’18
8) For AMONG THE RED STARS, I filled my browser with searches about Bolshevism. Long live the revolution, comrades!
Also: history of cannabis.
I learned a lot of things they don’t mention in textbooks.
Gwen C. Katz, AMONG THE RED STARS, HarperTeen, Fall ’17
9) I think my weirdest one for my debut was something about what makes a building collapse.
But anything I researched for my debut PALES in comparison to the many years of research I did for a WIP of mine about conspiracy theorists. I scared myself many times over.
Lauren Karcz, THE GALLERY OF UNFINISHED GIRLS, Harper Teen, ’17
10) – What romance novels in the 1940’s looked like- particularly the cover models.
– From how far someone can get shot with an M1 without a scope.
Gwen Cole, COLD SUMMER, Sky Pony/Sky Horse, May 2, 2017
11) My companion novel is about a gambling addict, and I’ve researched the craziest things for it. I was in some forums about how to run an illegal card room, and the entire time, I was sure the NSA was coming to get me.
Kate Watson, SEEKING MANSFIELD, Jolly Fish Press, Spring ’17
12) “Facts about Cockroaches” — it was disgusting. I was on Wikipedia and had to cover up the pictures with my hands.
Amanda Foody, DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY, HarlequinTEEN, August ’17
13) Currently looking at “rashes in weird places” and “how to cuss in different languages.”
Candace Ganger, THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE + BASH, St. Martin’s Press, July ’17
14) “What are those things water polo players wear that look like earmuffs?”
Kiersi Burkhart, HONOR CODE, Lerner Books/Carolrhoda Lab, Fall ’17
15) “Saints who partied.”
You wouldn’t believe what kind of trouble these guys (yes, mostly it was the guys) got into before they saw the light.
Katie Bayerl, A PSALM FOR LOST GIRLS, Penguin/Putnam Books for Young Readers, March ’17
16) I did a lot of research on types of grenades and how they’re made. Oh and how quickly bodies decompose/what kind of bugs are attracted to them. I’m probably on some FBI watch list.
Caitlin Sangster, LAST STAR BURNING, Simon Pulse, Fall 2017
17) “What color is Molly?” and I’m not talking the skin color of a young girl!
Stephanie Elliot, SAD PERFECT, FSG/Margaret Ferguson Books, February ’17