Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wow, What you can Learn when Researching a Book!

Hi Everyone, Sandra Orchard here.
[Click CTRL and shift and + keys for easier reading.]

While writing my newest book, Blind Trust, book 2 in my Port Aster Secrets mystery series, I researched everything from how to track a cell phone to how to make money--the old-fashioned way...by counterfeiting it. ~wink~

So...I thought I'd share a few fun factoids that I discovered.

For example, did you know how easy it is for anyone to track you with your GPS-enabled cell phone?

Give a person a few minutes alone with your phone to install a handy-dandy app and they've got you on their radar, even if the phone is turned off. It can be turned into a listening device too! Most people suspect as much, given movies these days. But, hey, verifying it was another reason for me to be glad I don't own one.

Yup, you read that right. I don't own one, smart phone or otherwise. Because wow, I wouldn't want any of these bad guys I write about to be able to track me down before my hero takes them out!

And...if the guys are really resourceful, not having a GPS in your phone won't stop them.

I also have an elderly neighbor in the story whose son is trying to get her to sign a power of attorney.

 Wow, let me tell you, talking to a lawyer about things like this is enough to make you paranoid! If all your property is held jointly with your spouse or whoever, you'd better trust them, because they can up and disappear with the whole shebang--legally!

And even if you trust them, the bad guys could still coerce them to do it with that gun to their head. Well, okay, maybe the gun at the head would be a tip off to the bank manager. ~wink~

At the other end of the spectrum, my detective also needed to interrogate a young suspect, so I had a little chat with a real-life detective. Wow, that was an eye-opener.

There's a long list of rights a young offender needs to waive before an officer can ask him anything without a parent or lawyer present. In fact, the detective urged me to have my fictional detective offer to bring in a pastor or an uncle, when the kid declined to consult his parents, because they really don't want to later be accused of coercing him to waive his rights without understanding them.

Lastly, did you know that in the U.S. most new photocopiers and printers are designed to lock up if you try to copy currency? Yup, even had a blog reader confirm it's true--happened to her. ~grin~

Luckily, my story takes place in Niagara, Canada, where...a few years ago, a young man duped his classmates with photocopies of the then-new five dollar bills. It was partly the newness that made his classmates easy targets.Of course, our newest bills (which came out after I wrote the story) are plastic, so it's no longer easy to pull off that stunt.

If I've whet your appetite to check out Blind Trust, pop over to Trish Perry's blog this week to enter a giveaway. And...

For those with Ereaders, the first book in the series, Deadly Devotion is only $2.99 this week at most Ebook retailers (I highly recommend starting with book one, since although each book is a standalone mystery, the romance and an underlying suspense plot arcs the series). Blind Trust will also have a special price in E format for the first month of release at most retailers. (Find links to the most common ones here.)

Here's the book's back cover blurb:
Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can’t believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker’s investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor’s innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation–and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world–and her budding romance with Tom–begin to crumble. To Kate, it’s clear that she won’t be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster’s secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom?

BookList raves:
“Orchard infuses romance with suspense and keeps the excitement coming page after page.  Readers will love the ever-deepening mystery as Kate extends her investigation and finds herself and her long-dead father tangled up in an international corporate conspiracy.”

Your Turn: What's the most interesting factoid you've picked up in your reading or research for a book?

Sandra Orchard is an award-winning author of inspirational romantic suspense with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint, and Revell Publishing. A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and now writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren.  You can learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features at www.SandraOrchard.com or connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

Money image courtesy of the Bank of Canada website.
Justice image courtesy of nirots / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Congrats on the new series, Sandra! I knew a few of your factoids but not all of them. Interesting - and yes, paranoia inducing. Makes me glad I research the past. No cell phones or gps. Some days I long to retire from technology, so I totally understand not owning a cell phone.

  2. Thanks, Christine.
    The advances in technology sure do make for a very different suspense novel (or movie) than even ten or twenty years ago. :)


  3. I've used the tracking cell phone GPS in a book too :)
    and I'm amazed that if I lose my iPad, it can be found, but will a cop really go retrieve it for me?

    Awesome cover.

  4. Your series looks great, Sandra. Modern technology makes us stretch to do our mysteries. I'm looking forward to reading them.

  5. Sandra, loved your post. I had no idea that Canadian money is plastic. I still have one of the old Canadian bills. Can I still use it?

  6. Sandra, love your research! Can't wait to read your newest release.

    I'm currently researching the way drugs smell, which took me to some very strange sites where I probably shouldn't have been. Oh my, some of the conversations that folks have online include info beyond my comfort level. :)

  7. Research can be such fun, can't it? I loved hearing about the facts you unearthed, Sandra. I didn't realize Canada is moving to plastic currency. That's cool. I have some Australian plastic bills. They are so pretty and must be quite durable.

  8. Oh, Pamela, the police lot this tracking stuff, because it helps them catch a lot more thieves. A few months ago, we had a case locally where the woman's cell phone happened to be in her stolen car, and they used the app to find the phone the car and...a car theft ring!

  9. Thanks Leann.

    Yes, Merrillee, we'll still accept the old bills. Tourist places in particular will still see one and two dollar bills from Americans who've had them for decades. We haven't had them for more than 20 years as they were replaced by loonies and toonies--$1 and $2 coins. What they won't accept is pennies, but the bank will.

  10. Oh, my, Debby, when I first started reading your post, I thought you meant you were visiting sites in person! Of course, these days you don't have to go far to smell them for real.

    Keli...yes, and no on the durable part. One more guy had his brand new plastic Christmas money melt into a lump, because he left the envelope on the heating rad. And some people have complained that they get brittle when they get too cold.

    On the plus side, they survive the washing machine just fine and as the laundress, my motto is finders keepers. :D

  11. Enjoyed this post, Sandra.
    Have to say I am LOVING your newest book, Blind Trust - - Wow! (In fact, 2 nights ago I stayed up waaaay too late reading--but I didn't want to put it down--seriously).

    This isn't too exciting, but when I was researching coastal GA for my historical, I discovered at one time we (Georgia) had an oyster harvest that rivaled Chesapeake Bay! I had NO idea, LOL.

    Thanks again for sharing this today--fun post!
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  12. Oh, Patti Jo, I love to hear that my book is keeping you up late. :)

  13. Sandra, thanks for sharing those fascinating tidbits. It's amazing all the stuff suspense writers need to know. My hat's off to you.

    Now to go download Blind Trust. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  14. I have a cell phone but its very basic and normally at home not with me unless I go away.

    We also have the plastic money have had for probably 25 years or so.

    the most interesting fact I found in a book well many one being historical from Naomi Rawlings about the metric system starting during the French Revolution (and yes I did google that one). Also from Gilbert Morris that Rolland Garros (sp) home of the French Open Tennis is named after a world war 1 flying ace.

    Off to the city today to see the specialist about my head pain tomorrow. Sure hope they listen and can offer some help as I am so over pain! its over 9 months since it started that I almost forget what its like to not have headpain.

  15. Thanks Carolyn!

    Jenny, those are cool tidbits, Jenny. I didn't know the metric system dated back that far. We adopted it here in Canada when I was a young child, but decades later, we still price our meat by the pound (with by the kilogram in small print...since it feels cheaper) and I still think in Fahrenheit once the weather warms up, but in Celsius when it's around freezing or colder. :)

    Praying for you!

  16. What fun, Sandra!

    Plastic money???? I'd love to see that. :)

  17. Here you go, Missy. I posted a pic of our new bills on my blog a couple of weeks ago. :)


  18. I'm not one of those people who doesn't have a smart phone. I'd be completely lost without mine. lol. Rally. I am directionally challenged and it has a GPS in it that I use all the time. :-)

    And the last two nights I've stayed up way past my bedtime as well reading Blind Trust. It is soooo good!

    No as to the interesting thing I've learned researching. There are so many things...like how to blow up a car, or use oral versed, or how arsenic mimics an ulcer...not forget how to fly an airplane.

  19. Yee! Patricia, love to hear that I'm keeping you up. :)

    I'm sure we could have lots of fun swapping interesting suspense factoids. That arsenic one, hmmm, has lots of possibilities. :D


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