Monday, August 3, 2015

Research Part 2: Guest Author Kristina Stanley

Kristina Stanley's debut novel, Descent, was an instant bestseller and continues to garner rave reviews.  She's a fellow Imajin Books author and a great addition to our Imajination team with her enthusiasm, inspiration and support. I'm thrilled to have her here as a guest to talk about research, my pet topic this summer.

Catherine has asked me to talk about researching my novel DESCENT, so let’s talk research.

We’ve all heard the saying write what you know. Well, I think it should be write what you love. If you’re not interested in something, and I mean deeply interested, how can you spend endless hours researching and writing your novel?

In order of fun and importance, my methods of research are:

  • Life experience
  • Interviewing experts
  • Online research

Being the director of security in an isolated ski resort inspired me to write the Stone Mountain Mystery series. I lived the life for almost six years and paid attention to what happened around me. I wrote the first in the series, DESCENT, after I moved from the ski resort to a sailboat in the Bahamas.

In DESCENT, there is skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, night hikes, employee terminations, medical emergencies and interactions with RCMP. Due to my job and my lifestyle, I’ve participated in all these things. This provided the basis of facts. Then comes the imagination. One dead ski racer, many suspects: all the more believable because the underlying story is believable.

When using real life experience, I was careful not to write about actual events or people. The trick is to use an event to spark the imagination, turn it into something evil or dangerous, exaggerate it, expand it, and go from there.

Now here’s an important research tip. Keep in touch with all you work or play with. This group of people will become your experts. After I left the resort I interviewed ski technicians, RCMP constables, snowmakers, lift operators and security officers.  When I needed details, these people were there for me. I found most were happy to contribute to the process of writing a novel. In return, they get mentioned in the acknowledgement section of DESCENT.

Online research is my last resort. For DESCENT, I used the Internet to ensure I used the right language for a skier aiming to be part of the Alpine Canada ski adventure.

So why not descend into fiction and order a copy of DESCENT at, or the amazon hosted in your country? To entice you, here is what DESCENT is about:
When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.

Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.

BLAZE (to be release this fall by is the second in the Stone Mountain Mystery series and is a tale about arson, betrayal and revenge. Heading up security was again a great asset. The security team was tightly linked to the fire department, and you guessed it, the firefighters were an awesome group to interview. A first person account of what it’s like to walk through a burning building is terrifying but makes for a good story.

The third in the series, AVALANCHE, has Kalin Thompson searching for a thief, struggling to prove her brother is innocent of a major theft. Unfortunately for Kalin, her brother disappears in an avalanche hours after the theft and is the prime suspect.

REQUEST FOR READER ASSISTANCE: I’m writing the fourth in the Stone Mountain Mystery series. A business partner of Kalin’s is murdered while driving his ATV on a mountain trail. He’s forced into a frothing river… My problem with the fourth novel is I have to stop calling it “the fourth.” I need a title. If you have any suggestions for a title that fits with DESCENT, BLAZE and AVALANCHE, please leave a comment below.

You can find out more about me at I’d love to hear from you so drop by and leave a comment or connect with me @StanleyKMS. Follow me and I follow back.

Thank you, Catherine, for hosting me. It’s a pleasure to share your blog with you.

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