Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Author Spotlight - Melanie Atkins talks about researching romantic suspense

I love writing and reading suspense, watching crime shows, and even hearing about crimes in the news. Why? I have no idea. I just know I do. And when I write my books, I want to get the details right. So I do a lot of research.

I've bought books about police procedure, forensics, and the deviant mind -- everything from Forensics for Dummies to Lee Lofland's Police Procedure and Investigation, one of the best books out there for people who write about law enforcement. I've also attended some fabulous conferences, including Forensic University in 2007, sponsored by the St. Louis chapter of Sisters in Crime, various LEO sessions at RWA conferences, and Lee's Writers' Police Academy in 2010 and 2011. Some of my best information, however, has come from local citizens' police academies. I've been to two: one sponsored by the Jackson Police Department, and the other by the Hinds County Sheriff's Office. Both were excellent and gave me a much needed glimpse inside these local agencies.

I've talked with detectives, ATF agents, members of the bomb squad, SWAT team members, and forensic experts, gone on ride alongs, and taken jail tours. And at this year's WPA, I did hands on fingerprinting, learned about blood spatter from an expert, and viewed an outdoor crime scene in the pouring rain. It's so great to get a glimpse into this world!

I'm working hard to "get it right", not only by doing what I've listed above, but also by talking to local cops… and I hope you'll check out my books! Last month at Desert Breeze, the second book in my Keller County Cops series, Shield of Valor came out, and this month, Voodoo Bones, a novella, is available. I'll post an excerpt in a later post.

Buy link for Voodoo Bones:


  1. I know who I'm gonna call when I have a police question. Seriously, this book sounds so exciting, Melanie. I have to confess it's already on my kindle. Can't wait to read it.

  2. Melanie - Voodoo Bones sounds fantastic! Fabulous cover, too.

    And now I know why every one of your books has such a great premise--you really do your homework.

    Congrats on the latest additions.


  3. I love that you've had a chance to talk will all the different arms of law enforcement. It ads that hard reality of life tone to your books.

    Love the title of this one too. Can't wait to read it.