History Hoydens

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Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

13 December 2013

Entering a New Era

In my historical nonfiction, I've spanned the centuries from the Middle Ages through current events and the marriage of Wills and Kate. But in my historical fiction, apart from my first novel, THE MEMOIRS OF HELEN OF TROY (written under the pen name Amanda Elyot), my AE and Juliet Grey novels have their roots in the 18th century, either in England or France. And my contemporary women's fiction was all set in present-day New York City.

My latest historical novel, a work-in-progress, is set in another era entirely. I began my research for it well over a year ago, reading numerous biographies and visiting various faraway locales on the Internet, (both in terms of literal distance as welll as time travel into the past). And I find myself just as immersed in this new time period, for me, as I was in Ancient Greece or Georgian London, or Marie Antoinette's Versailles.

It was daunting at first to sail into, for me, uncharted territory. But once I got into my groove, I remembered that research is research and my process is the same. I am, as always, inspired by visuals. When I see a photograph of a place my characters lived, I imagine them in the rooms. I pore over images of my characters, searching for the thoughts behind their expressions. I study their garments.

So, while this new venture (which I won't discuss in detail at present) represents a departure for me, in many ways, after researching and writing 20 books in 11 years (where did the time go??), I'm finding that, as far as my creative process goes -- as we used to say when we were kids,  "it's the same, only different."

Are your books set in more than one era? Do you find the transition from one period to another easy? Is your creative process different for books set in one time period than for those set in another?

2 Comments:

Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

My books are all set in Regency England and I don't foresee venturing too far out of the era. There is so much to learn about this era - so many little things few people bother to elucidate or even to mention.

If I were to choose another period it would have to be the somewhere in the medieval period. My first love was knights, castles and battles in armor.

While I have quite a few books on the medieval period, I have a huge library of books on the Regency era and all I have to do to immerse myself in the Regency is take one from the shelf and begin to read.

For me there is no drug like history!

9:20 AM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

My books are all set in Regency England and I don't foresee venturing too far out of the era. There is so much to learn about this era - so many little things few people bother to elucidate or even to mention.

If I were to choose another period it would have to be the somewhere in the medieval period. My first love was knights, castles and battles in armor.

While I have quite a few books on the medieval period, I have a huge library of books on the Regency era and all I have to do to immerse myself in the Regency is take one from the shelf and begin to read.

For me there is no drug like history!

9:20 AM  

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