So I’m in Vicksburg this weekend for annual training for work. I’m part of the Research and Development side, so I’m part of the team that actually wrote the training. I have to be here anyway. It’s usually pretty dull, but I had my laptop and a book, so things haven’t been too bad other than yesterday’s car mishap. But after the class we had a 2 hour reception so everybody could mingle. I fully intended to scarf a bit, then hang out upstairs reading Black Hills until my hubby arrives later, but I wound up getting into a conversation with one of our facilitators about burning an 18 wheeler load of cocaine. Well of course that got my attention. Who gets to do that? Well apparently agents of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics do once confiscated drugs are released from evidence. They took them to this huge steel plant near where I live and burn them at 3000 degrees. Which is fascinating in and of itself. But that’s not the cool part.
What happened next just made every single crappy thing I have to deal with at my job absolutely worth it. Because my cocaine detroying friend let slip that before he worked for the MBN, he worked for the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.
Now to understand WHY I find this so absolutely wonderful and awesome, I have to go back and refresh your memory (if you haven’t been following me since the blog began) about my book House of Cards. This is my ten year book, the one that’s been through a zillion drafts and variations, that I’ve never been quite happy with. I finished the last draft of it in September of 2007, a feat of which I was incredibly proud (as it was the first book I’d finished since high school). I knew it needed work and after a settling period I tore into revisions, where I very quickly decided that it needed a major overhaul. I got started on that overhaul and worked steadily on it until April of 2008 when I found out that since 9/11, the FBI no longer deals with serial homicides except in the rare cases that they cross state lines. Their priorities are terrorism and white collar crime and cybercrime. That put a very quick stop to that book, and I set it aside until I could work a way around it.
Well sometime last fall I decided that my heroine is actually ex-FBI, currently a free-lance profiler, and that her former partner now works for the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. My premise was that I had a series of homicides that took place across county lines, and I assumed that the MBI is who would deal with that. But I didn’t know squat about the MBI, and they don’t have what you would call much of an online presence, so I’ve had absolutely no one to ask questions. Getting things right is very important to me, so the book sat, and I’d moved on to other things. But I’ve been thinking about it lately as I’ve been reading Black Hills (the first romantic suspense I’ve read in several months), and today I started sitting down to do some outlining of the re-envisioned version.
So back to the reception. My colleague made this pronouncement, and I about fell out of my chair I was so excited. I just got to spend the last hour and a half asking every question my little heart desired (and could think of after 2 glasses of wine), verifying that the premise of my book is sound, how some of the procedure works, and I even got the name of a local contact who’s still with the MBI and permission to say “Nelson said I should talk to you.” And as it turns out, the local guy works with my department on another project that I’m not personally on, but one of my team is. So I can get an introduction from her.
I’m so excited I’m beside myself. Having a real contact to ask questions of makes so much difference in believability of a premise (at least one based in real world organizations).
This just goes to show that you never ever know who you might run into, so always be prepared to ask questions!