Mystery writers have to research the strangest things. I'm not the paranoid sort, but sometimes I wonder what the powers that be would think if they were reviewing my google history. I suspect the average citizen isn't simultaneously interested in: how long it would take a body to decompose to a skeleton; how to audition for a commercial; the wholesale vs. retail price of cocaine; current Toronto street gangs; and the criminal charges for indignity to a human body. Oh yeah, and cute pictures of Maltese puppies. They're just so damn fluffy and adorable.
All of these things feature in my various as-yet-unpublished novels and works in progress. As a trivia junky, I find being a professional editor and aspiring author to be part calling, part fix.
But, I have to admit, my next wave of reasearch will be on bombs, and that does make me feel a little skittish. Kind of like how you felt when you were in school and you had to visit the principal's office—guilty even if you did nothing wrong. Or, if you walked past your (insert religious leader of choice) or a police officer—guilt . . . because you know you must have done something wrong sometime. So, I feel strangely guilty when I type in my searches, even if what I glean will be reduced to the ridiculous and included in a comedic mystery about a luck-challenged dog walker.
I was the kind of kid who would never write in a diary, because I could never write it just for me. As I wrote, it was with the assumption that, some day, my privacy would be invaded and someone would read my ramblings.
Googling feels a bit like that to me, too. Like it or not, there is a history of what we search on. I have nothing to hide, but it doesn't change the sensation
Still, I love having a world's worth of information at my fingertips. The other day, I said to my husband, "Hey, I was doing some pirate research, and—" He laughed and said, "Pirate research?" Yes, my research is hugely varied and would appear nonsensical to anyone but a writer who is writing three books at once in different genres. Let's hope my googling for YouTube videos of mother cats fostering baby rabbits, sable German shepherds, long-haired Chihuahuas, and pirate lingo balances out the creepy on my google rap sheet.