Research Is Important But Never Lose Sight of Creativity by Gareth Frank – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gareth Frank will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Research is important, but never lose sight of creativity.

“Write what you know.” It is a regularly repeated dictum that often collides with the necessity of creating something interesting and readable. I first try to find an interesting idea whether I am an expert in that field or not. After I have found a story, I can always research what I don’t know. It is only after my initial research that I mix in my own experiences.

That being said, never write a novel that is controlled by your research. You can easily get trapped in minutia. My first novel, was about the Vietnam war protests of the sixties and early seventies. I grew up in that period, so I already had a base of experience, but because I was writing a historical novel, I wanted to know what happened in the real world on every given day. I was driven to look deeper and deeper. To make matters worse I kept trying to make my characters part of all the amazing events of the time. It was a crucial mistake. I became just as concerned about the historical events as I was about my story.

In my latest novel, The Moment Between, I spent no less time on research, but I was much more cognizant about how to use the product in my book. I don’t know how others do it, but I start my research very broadly. I wanted to incorporate near-death experiences, afterlife, neuroscience and even physics in my budding novel. Even though I had read previous books on the subjects, I took the time to read six or eight books that I thought were most relevant, taking notes as I went, and trying to capture facts and ideas that were integral to the story I envisioned. As I began writing scenes, I referred back to this base research, but invariably items would arise that needed further exploration. For that research, the internet was crucial. I can’t imagine how much time I would have spent in the library in the good old days.

I would often get sidetracked on a sentence or a paragraph, researching for hours just to get the right facts and words. My favorite example is the research I did on brain surgery, especially the time I spent watching doctors on YouTube as they sliced into flesh and brain. The truth is I loved it. While that may seem like an extravagant use of time, if it fits in the story, it is never a waste, even if you don’t use it.

The only time research is a waste of time is if you misuse it. Always keep your eyes on the prize. Story comes first.

After four years of mourning, Doctor Hackett Metzger is determined to stop letting his wife’s death control his life. He is finally beginning to live again, but his recovery leads to an unexpected fight for his own survival and startling revelations about what happens to all of us in The Moment Between.

Hackett, a brilliant neurologist, is a skeptic. He doesn’t believe he will one day be reunited with Jean, or dwell with God in heaven. What he does believe is that he should have seen the warning signs of her heart attack; he should have saved her. He also cannot accept the possibility that his clinical study of near death experiences could prove the existence of a conscious afterlife. When Hackett falls for the mother of a patient, grief finally begins to fade. But he has no idea his new love is hiding her dangerous past. Will Hackett’s damaged spirit endure another heartbreak?

Enjoy an Excerpt

In those first months, he tortured himself with the notion that Jean’s voice had been real. He was sure that she had been present while he tried to save her. He prayed that she lived on in death, hoped that even as he failed, she had a soft landing on the other side. Her voice became his torture.

And so he understood death as he never had before. He understood grieving and pain. He understood what it meant to miss someone and to know that he would never see that person again. He understood loneliness. Most of all he understood the foolish and painful illusion that life might somehow continue. There was no voice. Jean had not talked to him from beyond. He had tortured himself from within. She was dead. He had learned to accept that cold hard reality. Anger had settled into the dark hole that was his memory of that day, poisoning his spirit. For weeks he stayed home from work, for months the blackness held him captive, until slowly he emerged into the world once more. His sanity hinged on his acceptance that Jean’s voice had been an illusion. Death was just death.

About the Author:Gareth Frank is a former union organizer and administrator. He received a Master’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin and later studied at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Moment Between is his first published novel. His short stories have been published in various journals and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize as well as the Silver Pen Write Well Award.


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  1. Martha Lawson says

    Sounds like an interesting book that I’d love to read.

  2. The only trouble with research is that propensity to fall down the rabbit hole and not surface for an hour or two, lol. Good luck on the tour and thank you for the giveaway!

  3. Thanks for hosting!

  4. Research can be an endless temptation!

  5. bernie wallace says

    What is your favorite fictional location from a novel or book? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  6. James Robert says

    Hello! Thanks so much for sharing your book with us. Always fun reading about another book to enjoy.

  7. Marisela Zuniga says

    This sounds like a great book! Thank you for sharing

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