MT McGuire Books

A Confession About Research and The Wrong Stuff…

OK, quite a few of you kind souls have bought the second part of the K’Barthan Trilogy, The Wrong Stuff. So I thought I ought to come clean about my research.

Doubtless you’re wondering how I have such in depth knowledge about British police procedures, not to mention the foyer at Paddington Green Police Station. Unless you’re in the police force and/or work at Paddington Green, of course, in which case you’ll know I have absolutely no knowledge of either.

To be honest, some things have been very carefully researched for this book but most of those are the made up bits. A lot of the ‘real’ stuff is fluid because I’m a firm believer about basing what I write in what I know. London as I knew it doesn’t exist any more. So the London in this book is the London in my head; the 1990s version with bits of modern London garnered from subsequent visits melded onto the top.

These days the City has moved on. It’s all sparkly and shiny and glittery and I’m rather envious of people who live there now. It sounds a bit convoluted but my point is, that while the place I’m describing as London exists, at the same time, it doesn’t. I’m hoping that if I describe it in a way that feels real it will work and no-one’ll notice.

The stuff in my head is much easier. It’s been there since I can remember, in fact, I’d say that the majority of my brain is away with the fairies or, at least, in K’Barth, most of the time so it’s quite easy to get that straight. The tricky bit is communicating it with equal clarity to readers without giving away the secret bits we don’t discover until Book 3.

Conversely, the thing about the Lotus lettering, now that really is true and I’m guessing most of you know the snurds are based on real cars. There are lots of things about Ruth’s London which you might recognise if you ever lived in Kilburn in the early 1990s and worked in Clerkenwell; although they’re probably not there now.

Indeed, I’m afraid I’ve pretty much made everything up as if it were an extension of K’Barth rather than here. In common with Ruth, I’m not sure when the police offer you your phone call — probably a lot sooner than DI Softone offered it to her — and I can’t speak for the quality of the beveredges at Paddington Green, but I based them on National Health coffee and tea. Both are brown and the taste is pretty much interchangable. Quick tangent: if you have to endure a protracted stay in hospital, make sure you have a coffee or tea buddy or trying to tell the difference between them may drive you insane.

Back to the point. Research.

In summary, what I have tried to do is ensure that the bits of the book that matter are accurate and true. That tends to be the timeline, the continuity, the surroundings as I have drawn them (they may not be real but they sure as hell have to be constant) the behaviour of the characters and their emotional interaction/reaction to events. Descriptions of real places don’t have to be accurate but I suspect they have to ring true.

Posted May 6, 2012 and visited 4071 times, 1 so far today

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2 comments... add one yourself ?

  1. Nicely put, MTM.

    Reality is a state of mind, not set in stone. Or concrete.

  2. Why thank you!