When I began writing a book about the books we read over and over again and a quirky little used bookstore in peril, I had no idea I would end up mired in research about the federal criminal court system, reading documents like Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (which has a foreword by the current chair of the Committee on the Judiciary, whose delightful last name happens to be Goodlatte–seriously, it is) and perusing websites with colorful maps of Circuits of the Federal Judiciary and flow charts about how cases move through court.
And yet, here I am, hunched at my desk, squinting through it all and trying to figure out just how a couple cases in my novel’s backstory would have gone.
Imagination, if you let it, can take you to places you’d never expect (or go on purpose). This is not the kind of research I enjoy. I love reading well-written books about history or biographies of fascinating people. But reading dry-but-necessary material put together by the government makes me feel a little like this:
And occasionally this:
So if there are any federal judges or district attorneys or lawyers out there who want to help me out with this, don’t hesitate to drop me a line. Sometime in the future you may get a free book with your name in the acknowledgments out of the deal.
Now don’t everyone all jump up at once…