Behind the Scenes of My Latest Project (AKA Geek Girl Alert)!!

Yay! It’s time for Wednesday Ramblings. Be sure to check out my partners in crime for this tag team: Bronwyn Green, Kellie St. James, Jess Jarman, Kris Norris, Jenny Trout, and Leigh Jones. Joining the madness this week is Gwendolyn Cease!

Today we discuss behind the scenes of our latest project. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit to definite geek girl tendencies.  Although I’m having a great time researching my WIP, I could see where it might not hold the same fascination for all.

Subject matter? A killer virus. Not just any killer virus, but a hemorrhagic fever (think Lassa Fever). Because who doesn’t love a good plague?

Hello? Anybody still out there?Virus hunters of the CDC

Really, I’m talking can’t-put-down reading. Armed with my orange Sharpie highlighter, I get to dive into books like this one…

Stick with me. Because if you thought that one was good, check out this one.




Or how about this video?





Used booksellers everywhere have become my best friends as I search out info on the first outbreaks of Ebola (1976), Lassa Fever (1969), Marburg (1967) and the Sin Nombre hantavirus (1993).

I also work at a hospital and I must admit to a little lab coat stalking as I worked out who were the infectious disease docs. Then, yes, I walked up to them and said amazing first lines like, “Can I talk to you about the life cycle of a virus?” Or how about this beauty, “How do you feel about convalescent plasma?”

I. Am. A. Geek. (And that would be a capital G no matter how I punctuated it.)

How about you? Any burning questions about viruses I can answer for you? Better yet, what’s going on behind the scenes of your latest project?



23 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes of My Latest Project (AKA Geek Girl Alert)!!

  1. Kris says:

    I think my plasma needs some convalescing (I’m going to have to Google that one!!). My latest project is planning a trip to WY for a family wedding. Actually I’ve made some progress, now just have to work on the funding!!

  2. Jess Jarman says:


    I love research, and have to remember not to get completely lost in it, or lost in one of the research tangents I inevitably veer off on. 😀

    1. Tess Grant says:

      I embrace my geekiness. I embrace my geekiness. What a great mantra!

      I too love research. With this one, some days I think maybe I should just run off to the CDC for a job and forget about writing. There is that little matter of no experience though…

  3. Joselyn says:

    There’s an ebola outbreak in Liberia right now. Could be some first hand research there, if you are brave enough to go. I think the biggest problem I’d have with a hemorrhagic fever is the smell of blood. It grosses me out.

    Thankfully the never-ending winter of 2014 and my recent infamous spring break trip are providing sufficient research for my new WIP.

  4. Dianne Salerni says:

    Research is fantastic, especially when you’re pursuing a geeky topic! I might be a little too squeamish for viral plague research, but I am currently attempting to master a primitive understanding of string theory, m-theory, and braneworld theory (which I think are all related). I only need a Middle Grade understanding of it, so I am hopeful! 😀

  5. J.Q. Rose says:

    Yep, Geek with a captial G! Yikes. I’d love to see the faces of the docs when you ask them to explain all that stuff. Eye rolls when they find out it’s for a book of fiction?? My WIP needs research on the bad guys selling drugs. I don’t think I want to join a gang to discover how they actually do their drug operation, so I’m a bit stumped on this research. I know I don’t want to try the drugs either. That would be getting too in to the research. Loved your post.Thanks.

    1. Tess Grant says:

      The docs were fabulous! Not an eye roll among them, even after they heard it was for teens. They sat right down with me, recommended other reading material, and answered all my questions. I felt more confident in my research after 20 minutes with each of them than I did in weeks of reading on my own.

  6. Eileen says:

    Well my latest project isn’t anything nearly as exciting as diseases or plagues, but I am working on getting a new job and a new physically challenging project that starts tonight (if the rains hold off).

  7. Kris Norris says:

    Long live research. Because knowledge is a powerful thing… or half the battle, or something from a kid’s show 🙂 And I love viruses. Love researching possible ends to the human existence. Though I’m still hoping for zombies 😀

    1. Tess Grant says:

      I love zombies too. At least the thought of them. I’m not sure what I’d do if I actually saw one. Come to think of it, It’s kind of like that with killer viruses too.

  8. Gwen Cease says:

    You and my sister would have a fantastic time talking. She loooooves to read about different viruses and plagues. We started with the Hot Zone a million years ago and she just never stopped. I’m so glad you can harness your geekness for your writing. 🙂

  9. L. Palmer says:

    Part of the glory of writing is collecting random facts which can later become a key plot point or novel idea.
    The most interesting flu outbreak I find is the 1918 flu pandemic, which shut down large portions of commerce and society in attempts to survive. It’s not talked about much, but it is a large influence on how modern society and medicine has developed.

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