This is only the second time that I have used a specialist to help me in my research. In both cases I just knew that without the experience of someone who had been there I would screw something up. My first expert was a man who researches grizzly bears. He helped me tremendously in getting my facts straight for my Nocturne series, THE TRACKERS, and answering the questions that you can’t find anywhere else.
Now I have a Marine, a Leatherneck, a Jar Head, a Devil Dog. Because the story I am currently writing for Harlequin Nocturne features a Marine Werewolf. This retired Marine has made sure that my hero has chosen the correct personal side arm (a Magnum .45) and been patient with questions such as, “Do Sergeant’s ever lead a Fire Team? And “Does ‘Rear Echelon” mean the commanders who are not in the fight?” I also now know that a Sergeant is not a ‘junior officer’. It is tough when your ignorance is showing but better for him to clean that up than for my readers to slap their head while reading my story and then throw my book across the room. I’ve also picked up some very colorful slang.
My Marine even sent me a YouTube video on how to enter a room. Very scary stuff. But he wasn’t afraid of the really scary questions like “what color is a Marine’s underwear?
Answer: It depends on where you are and what you are doing. They could be tan, olive or white.
As I said, you want to get this research right!