Do You Wanna Speak Forensics?

I Wrote Forensic Speak For All of Us!

When I first drafted Forensic Speak as part of an assignment at the Forensic Science Academy, I had no idea it would later be used in criminology classrooms, CSI departments, and network TV writer’s rooms. I’m blown away when I hear from people (all around the world) who are using this resource to fight crime – for real or for reel.  

Here’s how it happened….

Q: Why did you write Forensic Speak? 

A: FS started out as a project I designed to earn my certificate at the Forensic Science Academy. To pass the academy, I needed a prerequisite course and when that course was cancelled after the first week of class, I was given the opportunity to tailor a new course specific to my educational goals. I convinced the director of the program to allow me to write a handbook for crime writers as my prerequisite. She loved the idea, so off I went. Later, my writing group encouraged me to publish it. But I was so busy at the time that I dismissed it. I didn’t think anyone else would really care about it. 


Q: What was your process for writing it? Getting it published?

A: After I finished the project for the Forensic Science Academy a writer friend of mine sent me a YouTube video from Michael Wiese Publishing. In the video Ken Lee, the acquisitions editor announced that MWP was seeking material. My friend encouraged me to send in a query. The book was far from ready, but I thought, why not? On a lunch break one day, I wrote a query and sent it off. In less than an hour later Ken contacted me to say MWP was interested.

However… it took us a year from to get the pitch right and figure out what the book would be. So I didn’t actually sign the book contract until a year after I sent the query. From there it took me another year to write the book. They took a chance on me. This was my first book.


Q: Having such an intense upbringing around forensics science, how did you decide what to include and what to discard?

A: Because my upbringing dealt primarily with death investigation, not so much criminology, DNA, ballistics, and fingerprinting, etc. I attended the Forensic Science Academy in Los Angeles to round out my knowledge of crime investigation as a way to round out my crime writing. I loved every single minute of that academy. I couldn’t get enough. I would tell my writer friends about my experiences in the academy and they said that they wished they could go through it. I thought, well, why not put the academy in book form for those who aren’t able to take the academy?  


Forensic science is vast and growing! Forensic Speak is a smorgasboard. You get a meaty sample of everything and you get a good foundation of forensics. It’s also arranged in a way in which you can easily pick and choose what you need. And if you want more of one thing, I provided resources that will bring you to a larger meal.


Q: What was your favorite part of writing Forensics Speak? The greatest challenge?

A: Favorite part: Research and interviewing experts. Greatest challenge: Deciding what details to keep in or leave out. I’m an academic at heart so I tend to want more and more information. But I realize that can bog down the message. 



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