Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guest Post:S. Connell Vondrak

In yesterday's author bio, Susan mentioned her extensive background in forensics. Today we're going to learn more about her work and how it contributed to novel No Evidence of a Crime

"When people ask me what I do for a living, I always get back, “Oh, you’re like CSI,” and I usually answer, “Yeah, something like that.”  But, in my mind, I am thinking, “It’s nothing like that.”  I remember in the movie Apollo 13, there was a quote: “That’s 3 hours of boredom followed by 7 seconds of sheer terror.” And that strikes a chord with me.  Forensics is not boring and there is never really any terror but the quote embraces the aspects of forensics most people don’t think about.  That AH HA moment where the evidence discloses its secrets is seen on TV after about 30 seconds of lab work but in real life it is usually preceded by many hours, if not days, of documentation of everything from the chain of custody to a detailed description of the evidence.  Lab work can take many hours of prepping the samples, running controls, pipetting standards and yet, it is a very interesting job filled with people dedicated to finding the truth.   

When I am writing, I am writing about the things that I know but I am also writing about the people I know, the relationships between officers and lab staff, the struggles that each has working though the evidence but also working through life, as we all do.  

I enjoy using forensics in my books but not all forensics is high tech or complicated science and I also try and show that in my writings.  When giving talks, I often start with “There are only three types of finger prints: Loops, Whorls and Arches.”  (This is the point where everyone looks down at their fingers.  Go ahead, you can too. I’ll wait.)  Loops are the most common by far and almost every loop starts its loop from the pinky then turns back toward the pinky, giving latent print examiners an idea of which hand the print is on before they start their comparisons.   Every person, who has fingers, could probably figure this out, if they spent a lot of time considering their finger prints.  It’s not high tech or complicated science but it represents the fundamentals of forensics which is observation.  I love to develop that quality in the characters in my books and hopefully in the readers that enjoy them."

No Evidence of a Crime is available from Amazon. "The Evidence is Clear" is also available from Amazon

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