Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Q&A!

Welcome to a new feature on the Lucky 13s - Friday Q and A! On the first Friday of every month, we'll be answering a question to do with our writing, and for October, we wanted to know What's the craziest / most unusual / most interesting thing you've had to Google?

Amy Christine Parker looked up how to cultivate your own salmonella and building homemade bombs...yeah, she's on ALL THE WATCH LISTS!

Melissa Landers wondered "How much fertilizer does it take to build a homemade bomb?"

Amy Tintera wanted to know how to fire a rocket launcher.

Lenore Appelhans needed info on how to hack an airline VPN, conch shells used for music in Papua New Guinea and did an image search of spider bites.

Jess Verdi needed to find out how to perform an exorcism.

Lindsay Ribar did a lot of research on the "three wishes" trope, mostly to find out when it started intersecting with djinni/genie mythology. Turns out, pretty recently!

"Retinoic acid and limb development" "The Gunks, NY" and "parasitic twins" are a smattering of Lydia Kang's searches. She's pretty certain the "hallucinogens" search is going to get her a call from the DEA.

And Elle Cosimano? What about: "How to brew hooch in prison", "How long until a dead body floats" and "how to transport hydrofluoric acid"?

Claire M Caterer needed to know what sort of underwear men wore in the Middle Ages for Book #1 (THE KEY AND THE FLAME). And for Book 2 (still untitled sequel to the above): "How do you load and fire a musket?"

For previous novels, Karen Harrington has Googled "how many inmates currently on death row", but more recently she Googled the list of nationwide Dairy Queen locations to find the one closest to her protagonist's house.

You'd better be careful around Elsie Chapman. She wanted to know about "best ligaments to sever to temporarily cripple with minimal permanent damage", "bullets and wind drift" and "speed of death with knife wound chest."

Cat Winters had to Google "ghost sex" for her upcoming release, and on the opposite end of the excitement spectrum, conducted a long and grueling search for the history of whistling tea kettles.

Ashley Elston's would be "How to remove fingerprints from your own fingers" and "What kind of dogs do you use when hog hunting and are they safe around kids."

Alison Cherry watched a lengthy series of instructional videos meant for beauty pageant hopefuls about how to walk, turn, and pose gracefully in a swimsuit and an evening gown.

April Tucholke needed to know about vintage ladies underwear (from the 20's -40's) for her devil book.

Kit Grindstaff asked "Do rats sweat?", "What's the texture of spleen and pancreas? when cooked?", "Can you dye hair using berries and mud?" and "How do spiders spin webs?"

Melanie Crowder's weirdest search was antelope bladders. How big they are, how much liquid they hold, how long it takes to cure them. In her own words… Blech.

Caroline Carlson had to search for the most suitable sport for young ladies in Victorian England (archery, because you don't sweat while you do it), how to turn an ore into a metal (smelting!), and whether you could go to the bathroom on a late-19th-century train (yes, thank goodness).

For her MG novel, Rachele Alpine googled "Ways to get boys to kiss you."
She had to tell her husband she was researching it for a book!

Amy McCulloch recently had to google "How to transport a yurt by camel" (turns out - not so easy!) and "Nabatean water collection and irrigation systems."

Elizabeth May's searches were things like, "How to make a Molotov cocktail." "How to construct a flame thrower." And various searches on how one might conduct electrostatic discharge in a handheld weapon. You know, things my heroine enjoys doing in her spare time.

Evan Roskos had to google information about cock fighting for a short story. He turned Safe Search ON, but still. It was horrifying.

For the poetic forms section of GONE FISHING, Tamera Will Wissinger verified bits of the history of poetry. Before you yawn, she'll add: "It's fascinating; some of poetry's history is very dark."

Mindy McGinnis wanted to know if horses get elevation sickness.

Helen Douglas's searches included "How to build short-cuts through the space-time continuum", "Which stars are likely candidates for habitable planets?" and "What is it like to almost drown and how would someone be treated medically for this?"

Kelsey Sutton is another Lucky who Googled "How to make a bomb". It was for a WIP with a particularly kickass heroine.

For her debut novel, Karen Akins had to google so many quantum physics questions, it made her brain explode. But the weirdest was probably for a WIP: "How to weaponize a telescope."

For her current book, Pat Zietlow Miller Googled the life cycle of a squash and how long it would take for one to rot. She also searched for what you could name your pet goldfish… and actually found a list of options! For various works in progress,she's Googled Double Dutch jump rope techniques, the music of Tony Bennett and popular soft drinks in Mexico.

For an adult novel, Elisabeth Dahl watched footage of Queen Elizabeth's 1953 coronation, listened to audio clips of periodical cicadas singing, tracked bloodlines of racehorses, etc., etc.

And me? Well, for ACID, I looked up "Which pressure points can you use to knock someone out?" and "Which self-defence move can you use to grab a gun out of someone's hand?" For my WIP, the weirdest thing I've had to look up so far is transorbital lobotomies. DO NOT GOOGLE IF YOU'RE EATING. o_O

See you next month for the next Friday Q and A… if we haven't all ended up on watch lists by then! And what's the craziest thing you've had to Google for your writing? Let us know in the comments!

Emma Pass grew up at an environmental studies centre near London, went to art school in Cornwall and now lives in the North-East Midlands, UK, with her husband and The Hound. She is represented by Carolyn Whitaker at London Independent Books and her YA dystopian thriller ACID is out from Corgi/Random House on 2nd May 2013. You can find her blog here, view her website here and catch her procrastinating on Twitter here.


  1. Oh, what a great list. Thanks for compiling this!

  2. Love this! Here's my most recent:

    "How much blood can you lose before you go into shock?"

    1. Thanks! And that's interesting - did you find out?

  3. Haha. Fantastic list. I'm actually really curious about some of these answers. The weirdest thing I've Googled recently had to do with the best place to get shot with an arrow that will make you incapable of being moved more than a few yards without risking permanent damage, and in which you'll be able to very quickly bounce back from.
    That, and different types of drugs in liquid form.
    Can't wait till next month!

    ~Riv Re
    Riv Reads

    1. Thanks, Riv. Your searches are fascinating too!

  4. Fabulous!! Now we know who to avoid if we cross paths on the street.

    1. Lol, Amanda, you're quite safe with all of us… honest! :D

  5. I love this! We really do sound like a crazy bunch...