Time & Place - that's my blog theme for November, and author Kaye George starts us off in a time machine. Come along to learn about how she researched the details of her Neanderthal mystery series - fascinating stuff. Leave a comment, and you might win the cool mug shown below (the winner will be chosen at random from those who leave comments - be sure to check back to see if you won!). Welcome back, Kaye! ~ Sheila
Researching a Time Past
by Kaye George
How do you research your mysteries? Do you visit firing ranges, attend citizens’ police academies, read blogs by policemen and doctors, attend conferences, read books on crimes and crime solving? I’ve done all that, but none of it did me any good for my most recently published project.
When I decided to write a mystery featuring Neanderthals, I knew I would have to do very different research. I didn’t realize how much--or how fun it would be!
I like reading well-written textbooks, so that wasn’t drudgery. The reports on the new sequencing of the Neanderthal genome held me spell bound. Maybe that wouldn’t thrill you. But who wouldn’t like visiting a Mammoth Museum? The Waco Mammoth Museum helps visitors step back in time thousands of years and visit the huge animals who once lived there.
This is the stream bed where a herd of mammoths was discovered in 1978 by Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin, two men out hunting arrowheads. The bone they brought to Baylor University was declared to be that of a Columbian mammoth.
To give you an idea of their size, this mural is life sized and I’m about 5’ 8” tall.
A herd of 19 mammoth, mothers and babies, died here 68,000 years ago. They may have gotten trapped in a steep sided channel and drowned when a flood arose. Here are the fossils of one of the mammoths.
These are relatives of the animals that the Neanderthals in my novel, Death in the Time of Ice, hunted. The Columbian mammoth didn’t range as far north as the edge of the approaching glacier 30,000 years ago. The wooly mammoth would have been what they hunted, had they been on this continent. Well, they were on the continent in my book anyway, so they did hunt them.
New discoveries are made all the time - here's one of the latest.
Here’s a part of what happened on a disastrous hunt early in the book:
Kokat No Ear is not here, Enga Dancing Flower thought-spoke. Tog Flint Shaper read her thought and her fear. He summoned several others. Help me search the tall grasses. Then Tog spied a smear of dark liquid in the grass, leading toward the trees. He must be in the forest, thought-spoke Tog. He ran into the woods, black with nightfall now, following the even blacker trail of Red and summoning the other three males to come with him. The females squatted next to each other and waited. The males sent no thoughts to them. Enga checked on Ung. She was sound asleep. The wound still bled, but now seeped instead of spurting. Enga felt her shoulders relax just a notch.
Kaye George is a short story writer and novelist who has been
nominated for Agatha awards twice. She is the author of four mystery
series: the Imogene Duckworthy humorous Texas series, the Cressa
Carraway musical mystery series, the FAT CAT cozy series, and The
People of the Wind Neanderthal series.
Her short stories can be found in her collection, A PATCHWORK OF
STORIES, as well as in several anthologies, various online and print
magazines. She reviews for "Suspense Magazine", writes for several
newsletters and blogs, and gives workshops on short story writing and
promotion. Kaye lives in Knoxville, TN.
Learn more about Kaye at her webpage and her blog, and find her books at Untreed Reads.
Leave a comment and you might win this snazzy mug! (Be sure to check back or Kaye won't be able to send it to you if you win.) Winner will be chosen at random from among people who comment.