I stand here with hands up, white flag poked into my author’s cap. There has been lots of news coverage lately of the way you look into private email accounts and websites, and I’m quite sure I’m on your radar this week.

But the thing is, I’m just a lowly young-adult fiction writer. When I Googled “Yemen” dozens of times this week, it’s because I’m researching the Yemenese-Canadian boy who may be in my next adventure novel.  Like, I need to know where he comes from, you know?

And when I Googled “terrorists” and “ISIS,” it’s because, who knows, they may or may not figure in somewhere. (Can’t say for sure; the novel is still in its preliminary stages, sorry.) As for PTSD, hey, it ramps up a character’s interest if he has got that, right? And might inform readers about the condition.

I know, I know, the real reason I grabbed your attention is ’cause I Googled “radicalization.” But fiction writers kind-of wander all over Google while researching a novel. It’s fun. It’s part of our job. It’s fiction. Research is how we brainstorm all potential corners of an in-progress creative work.

Of course, you’re particularly puzzled by the search for “Middle East and parkour,” but I’m known for writing sports and adventure stuff, and parkour is my next featured sport. Get over it already, hey? (In fact, here’s a way-cool photo I found and printed out to pin above my desk for the duration of writing this work.

I also plead guilty to spending lots of time yesterday at the Acro Academy in Istanbul, Turkey. Well, on its website, anyway.

It was a fun “virtual” afternoon. What a great parkour training centre it is, and it just might sneak into my story. (I also hope to spend time at Vancouver, Canada’s Origins Parkour.)

As for all those parkour YouTubes, not a waste of time at all. It’s serious research! Better to watch hours of parkour tricks all over the world than put my back out actually trying them. I just turned 60, after all, so I’m no threat to any parkour club — or to you —  okay?

I salute all the crime you’re solving, the budding terrorists you’re catching.  Catch my fictional characters if you can. I’ll let you know when the novel is out.

P.S. If you need to lighten up over your lunch hour, check out this cute video from arat.gym. I found it when I Googled “parkour and Middle East.” Not threatening at all, I say.