Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Post with Marcia Argueta Mickelson

I'm uber-excited to have Marcia on my blog today. I've been stalking her in the least-creepy way possible for a while because her book looks fantastic! Check her out!


Researching Your Book

Every author knows that writing a book takes extensive research that involves finding out about the book’s setting, characters’ occupations, and many other details that must be accurate to make the book authentic.

A lot of this research can be done online which makes me think what did authors do before the Internet? Research must have been extremely difficult. While reading online and watching videos about your needed topic are very helpful, sometimes you have to do it yourself to make the experience more authentic. Of course, this is not always possible, but when possible, it’s a great idea to do it.

Recently, I drove by a high school in my town, which is the setting of my current work in progress. It was right as school was dismissing, and so I parked outside of the building to observe. I might have seemed like a stalker. After all, I don’t have any children that go to that school and my behavior may have seemed creepy, but hey that’s what an author has to do! I wanted to observe the after-school experience—what students were wearing, how they walked in groups, how they headed home, what they carried with them, what the ethnic make-up of the school was.  I have since made contact with one of the students and have asked her a ton of questions about her school. She has been so helpful and kind to answer all of my questions. I want to describe the school as authentically as I can.

Another such research project occurred last summer. In the book I’m currently working on, I describe a scene in which my main character takes a friend to the beach to watch the release of turtle hatchlings into the Gulf of Mexico. I read extensively online and watched Youtube videos to describe the event. I wrote the scene and then a few months later, I had the opportunity to go see the event myself. I went with my friend and her daughter and watched as park rangers released these tiny turtle hatchlings into the Gulf of Mexico. I found that I had described it pretty well, but I was able to make a few adjustments to make the scene more authentic. (Youtube videos are great, by the way. I had to watch a few videos depicting people drawing their own blood for my book, The Huaca Yeah, I know. Gross and kind of creepy.)

As an author, it’s important to make the scenes as authentic as possible. Currently, I’m writing a scene about a family’s house burning down. A friend mentioned that they might be burning down a house on their property. This would be an incredible opportunity. It may not be possible for me to attend, but if I do get the chance, it would be amazing.

Take all of the opportunities you can to make the book as authentic as possible even if it does mean somewhat suspect behavior and a questionable browsing history on your computer.

 Find Marcia:

Here is a little bit about my book, The Huaca.

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings just wants to be a regular teenager, but after her mother’s mysterious murder, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be normal again. Her mother’s death has left Ellie and her father worlds apart. And when her best friend abandons her, Ellie has no one else to turn to—except for the strange boy who says he can help.

Gabe de la Cruz seems to know way too much about everything,
and her instincts tell Ellie to stay far away. But when he claims that he can communicate with the dead through an ancient Incan artifact, Ellie can’t resist the temptation of seeing her mother again. In the hanan pacha—the Incan afterworld—Ellie’s mother sends a message to help Ellie understand what happened the night of the murder—a message that may be better kept a secret.

Find Huaca:
Barnes and Noble


  1. It would be interesting to see how many authors have gotten on certain watch lists while researching online for their books. :)


  2. Thanks, Wendy for having me stop by your blog.

  3. Awesome post, and you're totally right. Sometimes going somewhere is what it takes to nail the details. Good too meet you, Marcia. And you, Wendy! :)

  4. David,

    Good to meet you too! Thanks for the comment.