Real Life Research
All the Hoydens share a love of research. In dusty archives (as dramatized so well in the Eloise portions of Lauren's books), on the internet, on trips to museums and historic locations. One place we don't think of historical novelists doing research is our own lives. And yet I find real life experience serves as research fodder more often than one might think.
Isobel's experience with reenactments means she has hands-on knowledge 0f how a corset laces and how one goes through a doorway wearing panniers. A modern-day nonprofit benefit may be different from a Mayfair ball, but certain things - the press of the crowd, the buzz of conversation, the clink of glasses, the rustle and sweep of wearing a long gown - translate into the experience of my characters. Doing a seating arrangement for a family dinner, I have sudden sympathy for the challenges faced by my diplomatic hostess heroine. My characters' cat Berowne is taken directly from my cat Lescaut. Before I had my own child, the children in my books were inspired by my friends' children. Not modeled on them exactly, but they definitely served as models for different ages and stages of development. Now I confess as I delight in watching my daughter Mélanie (who is observing me with great interest as I write this blog post) a part of me is taking notes for the next time I write about a newborn baby.
Writers, which of your real life experiences serve as historical writing research? Readers, is the reverse true? Which scenes in historical novels resonate with your present-day experiences?