What's the most interesting thing you discovered while writing a novel?
Great question! I suppose I could go different directions with this answer: what I’ve discovered in research or what I’ve learned about the craft of fiction while doing my actual writing. Why not, I’ll take a quick stab at them both.
Research-wise, when I was working on my techno-thriller The Rook, I found out that sharks have a scientifically-proven sixth sense. They can sense magnetic signatures in the water to locate prey—even when it’s paralyzed and in murky water that you can’t see through. It’s a pretty amazing skill and ended up being the genesis for the entire plot.
On the writing front I’ve discovered that the more I outline a novel the more off-track I get. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I end up trying to follow the outline rather than respond to the story. Instead, I try to listen to where it’s going and let that lead me rather than my preconceptions about what the story should contain.