Creativity with Historical Details

Rice_Christmas200I’m at that stage of a book when I’m playing with characters, plot ideas, and digging into history for the mortar that holds historical romance together. And no, I don’t do wallpaper paste.

I realize readers often complain that historical romance has been reduced to costume dressing and wallpaper setting. I assume there must be some truth to that, but in the books I read, research surfaces in the details that readers might overlook or dismiss as fictional.

Just for one small example—Amanda Quick’s most recent historical Otherwise Engaged in which the heroine uses a Japanese tessen. How many of you had ever heard of a war fan before you read that book (or this blog)? 


This is not material one pulls out of thin air—because truth tends to be even stranger and more interesting that what our creativity can conjure. Material like this requires Jap war fan Gunsen_Asian_Art_Museum_SFresearch and lots of it, and when we stumble across a stroke of genius like a war fan, entire stories whirl in our creative unconscious.

In digging my way into a new Malcolm/Ives series in which the women tend to Magic Man smallparanormal/abnormal pursuits and the men tend to be highly scientific and inventive, I’ve been burying myself in the history of 1820’s-1840’s. Not political history, not to start with,  but the history of science, the history of what we could call magical thinking—Mesmerism, phrenology, and spiritualism—as well as cultural history. I need to know what my characters will be doing, what goals they’re pursuing, what obstacles stand in their way.

I have books and saved articles stacked all around my desk. I’m filling up folders in my computer (bless computers and Wikipedia for making bibliographies so accessible!)—just to plot the place in time where Ada_Lovelace_portraitmy characters will exist. The 1800s were filled with fascinating ideas and devices, some of which didn’t find a foothold in history until much later in time, ie: Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace (Byron’s daughter) and their Analytical Engine, which was an early computer prototype.

So, yes, I will eventually research costume and maybe even the color of wallpaper in my heroine’s house (although at the moment, she’s inclined to inviting painters to cover the walls in murals), and maybe that’s all you’ll see when you read the story. But the underpinning of historical romance is all the research that went into developing a realistic time and place in which we can employ our creativity to combine what was, what could have been, with what if to develop a unique story and characters that stand out from all the others.

I’m very bad at remembering the unique details of the books I’ve read, so will others chime in and mention historical romances you’ve read recently that used history in fun ways to create a story? I would really like readers to be aware of the information we’re conveying, or trying to convey, when we weave our tales!

And just because the holidays are coming… I’ll remind you that Millington House is releasing three of my Christmas novellas in a lovely new package called Christmas Enchantment!

110 thoughts on “Creativity with Historical Details”

  1. I’ve just listened to the audio of MJP’s ‘Sometimes a Rogue’ where the heroine is kidnapped by agents of the ‘Free Eire’ society. I think this must be intended as a precursor of the IRA which caused so much trouble for England and Northern Ireland in more recent times. For me the history is really just a backdrop to a thrilling tale.
    Not a criticism ….. MJP is a brilliant story teller …. but I would welcome an occasional appendix, giving background research info without disrupting the flow of the story.
    Patricia: The 1800s were filled with fascinating ideas and devices, some of which didn’t find a foothold in history until much later in time
    I heartily agree. I would love to see Michael Faraday with some of his discoveries in electro-magnetism, or Humphrey Davy, featuring in a historical!

    Reply
  2. I’ve just listened to the audio of MJP’s ‘Sometimes a Rogue’ where the heroine is kidnapped by agents of the ‘Free Eire’ society. I think this must be intended as a precursor of the IRA which caused so much trouble for England and Northern Ireland in more recent times. For me the history is really just a backdrop to a thrilling tale.
    Not a criticism ….. MJP is a brilliant story teller …. but I would welcome an occasional appendix, giving background research info without disrupting the flow of the story.
    Patricia: The 1800s were filled with fascinating ideas and devices, some of which didn’t find a foothold in history until much later in time
    I heartily agree. I would love to see Michael Faraday with some of his discoveries in electro-magnetism, or Humphrey Davy, featuring in a historical!

    Reply
  3. I’ve just listened to the audio of MJP’s ‘Sometimes a Rogue’ where the heroine is kidnapped by agents of the ‘Free Eire’ society. I think this must be intended as a precursor of the IRA which caused so much trouble for England and Northern Ireland in more recent times. For me the history is really just a backdrop to a thrilling tale.
    Not a criticism ….. MJP is a brilliant story teller …. but I would welcome an occasional appendix, giving background research info without disrupting the flow of the story.
    Patricia: The 1800s were filled with fascinating ideas and devices, some of which didn’t find a foothold in history until much later in time
    I heartily agree. I would love to see Michael Faraday with some of his discoveries in electro-magnetism, or Humphrey Davy, featuring in a historical!

    Reply
  4. I’ve just listened to the audio of MJP’s ‘Sometimes a Rogue’ where the heroine is kidnapped by agents of the ‘Free Eire’ society. I think this must be intended as a precursor of the IRA which caused so much trouble for England and Northern Ireland in more recent times. For me the history is really just a backdrop to a thrilling tale.
    Not a criticism ….. MJP is a brilliant story teller …. but I would welcome an occasional appendix, giving background research info without disrupting the flow of the story.
    Patricia: The 1800s were filled with fascinating ideas and devices, some of which didn’t find a foothold in history until much later in time
    I heartily agree. I would love to see Michael Faraday with some of his discoveries in electro-magnetism, or Humphrey Davy, featuring in a historical!

    Reply
  5. I’ve just listened to the audio of MJP’s ‘Sometimes a Rogue’ where the heroine is kidnapped by agents of the ‘Free Eire’ society. I think this must be intended as a precursor of the IRA which caused so much trouble for England and Northern Ireland in more recent times. For me the history is really just a backdrop to a thrilling tale.
    Not a criticism ….. MJP is a brilliant story teller …. but I would welcome an occasional appendix, giving background research info without disrupting the flow of the story.
    Patricia: The 1800s were filled with fascinating ideas and devices, some of which didn’t find a foothold in history until much later in time
    I heartily agree. I would love to see Michael Faraday with some of his discoveries in electro-magnetism, or Humphrey Davy, featuring in a historical!

    Reply
  6. I love when historical events, both intellectual and political, play into the plot of the story, but I also like the little details—not just clothes—that ground it in a particular time and place
    I’ve just been rereading Jo Beverley’s Countess books, and admiring the way she uses little sensory details to illustrate the differences between poverty and various levels of wealth. Things like the low ceiling in the house of the poor, and keeping both front and read doors open during the day to let in light and air. Her own locked tea box for the lady of the house. And the pleasure of silky-smooth wood on good furniture.
    I just love stuff like that.

    Reply
  7. I love when historical events, both intellectual and political, play into the plot of the story, but I also like the little details—not just clothes—that ground it in a particular time and place
    I’ve just been rereading Jo Beverley’s Countess books, and admiring the way she uses little sensory details to illustrate the differences between poverty and various levels of wealth. Things like the low ceiling in the house of the poor, and keeping both front and read doors open during the day to let in light and air. Her own locked tea box for the lady of the house. And the pleasure of silky-smooth wood on good furniture.
    I just love stuff like that.

    Reply
  8. I love when historical events, both intellectual and political, play into the plot of the story, but I also like the little details—not just clothes—that ground it in a particular time and place
    I’ve just been rereading Jo Beverley’s Countess books, and admiring the way she uses little sensory details to illustrate the differences between poverty and various levels of wealth. Things like the low ceiling in the house of the poor, and keeping both front and read doors open during the day to let in light and air. Her own locked tea box for the lady of the house. And the pleasure of silky-smooth wood on good furniture.
    I just love stuff like that.

    Reply
  9. I love when historical events, both intellectual and political, play into the plot of the story, but I also like the little details—not just clothes—that ground it in a particular time and place
    I’ve just been rereading Jo Beverley’s Countess books, and admiring the way she uses little sensory details to illustrate the differences between poverty and various levels of wealth. Things like the low ceiling in the house of the poor, and keeping both front and read doors open during the day to let in light and air. Her own locked tea box for the lady of the house. And the pleasure of silky-smooth wood on good furniture.
    I just love stuff like that.

    Reply
  10. I love when historical events, both intellectual and political, play into the plot of the story, but I also like the little details—not just clothes—that ground it in a particular time and place
    I’ve just been rereading Jo Beverley’s Countess books, and admiring the way she uses little sensory details to illustrate the differences between poverty and various levels of wealth. Things like the low ceiling in the house of the poor, and keeping both front and read doors open during the day to let in light and air. Her own locked tea box for the lady of the house. And the pleasure of silky-smooth wood on good furniture.
    I just love stuff like that.

    Reply
  11. adding a little “extra” on the history of a book is an excellent idea! Because of the cost of print, it might not work in paperbacks, but in digital, extra material isn’t a problem. We love showing off our research!
    Ooo, can you imagine what we could do with Faraday? Shame on you for giving me ideas.

    Reply
  12. adding a little “extra” on the history of a book is an excellent idea! Because of the cost of print, it might not work in paperbacks, but in digital, extra material isn’t a problem. We love showing off our research!
    Ooo, can you imagine what we could do with Faraday? Shame on you for giving me ideas.

    Reply
  13. adding a little “extra” on the history of a book is an excellent idea! Because of the cost of print, it might not work in paperbacks, but in digital, extra material isn’t a problem. We love showing off our research!
    Ooo, can you imagine what we could do with Faraday? Shame on you for giving me ideas.

    Reply
  14. adding a little “extra” on the history of a book is an excellent idea! Because of the cost of print, it might not work in paperbacks, but in digital, extra material isn’t a problem. We love showing off our research!
    Ooo, can you imagine what we could do with Faraday? Shame on you for giving me ideas.

    Reply
  15. adding a little “extra” on the history of a book is an excellent idea! Because of the cost of print, it might not work in paperbacks, but in digital, extra material isn’t a problem. We love showing off our research!
    Ooo, can you imagine what we could do with Faraday? Shame on you for giving me ideas.

    Reply
  16. And those details come out so smoothly, without suffocating the story! Jo does immense research on every detail–like the houses–when she’s working on a book. Glad you see it in the results!

    Reply
  17. And those details come out so smoothly, without suffocating the story! Jo does immense research on every detail–like the houses–when she’s working on a book. Glad you see it in the results!

    Reply
  18. And those details come out so smoothly, without suffocating the story! Jo does immense research on every detail–like the houses–when she’s working on a book. Glad you see it in the results!

    Reply
  19. And those details come out so smoothly, without suffocating the story! Jo does immense research on every detail–like the houses–when she’s working on a book. Glad you see it in the results!

    Reply
  20. And those details come out so smoothly, without suffocating the story! Jo does immense research on every detail–like the houses–when she’s working on a book. Glad you see it in the results!

    Reply
  21. I’ve mentioned Davy a time or two because he gave very popular science lectures during the Regency. The ton often were interested in science and engineering, at least for the whizz-bang and flash, but sometimes with more depth.

    Reply
  22. I’ve mentioned Davy a time or two because he gave very popular science lectures during the Regency. The ton often were interested in science and engineering, at least for the whizz-bang and flash, but sometimes with more depth.

    Reply
  23. I’ve mentioned Davy a time or two because he gave very popular science lectures during the Regency. The ton often were interested in science and engineering, at least for the whizz-bang and flash, but sometimes with more depth.

    Reply
  24. I’ve mentioned Davy a time or two because he gave very popular science lectures during the Regency. The ton often were interested in science and engineering, at least for the whizz-bang and flash, but sometimes with more depth.

    Reply
  25. I’ve mentioned Davy a time or two because he gave very popular science lectures during the Regency. The ton often were interested in science and engineering, at least for the whizz-bang and flash, but sometimes with more depth.

    Reply
  26. I do always put an author’s note in the back of the book to explain anything I think new and interesting. It’s there if readers want it, but not intrusive for those who don’t. And it helps me restrain myself from dumping it all in the storyline!*G*

    Reply
  27. I do always put an author’s note in the back of the book to explain anything I think new and interesting. It’s there if readers want it, but not intrusive for those who don’t. And it helps me restrain myself from dumping it all in the storyline!*G*

    Reply
  28. I do always put an author’s note in the back of the book to explain anything I think new and interesting. It’s there if readers want it, but not intrusive for those who don’t. And it helps me restrain myself from dumping it all in the storyline!*G*

    Reply
  29. I do always put an author’s note in the back of the book to explain anything I think new and interesting. It’s there if readers want it, but not intrusive for those who don’t. And it helps me restrain myself from dumping it all in the storyline!*G*

    Reply
  30. I do always put an author’s note in the back of the book to explain anything I think new and interesting. It’s there if readers want it, but not intrusive for those who don’t. And it helps me restrain myself from dumping it all in the storyline!*G*

    Reply
  31. In my one historical (so far), I moved the story back about 30 years because I couldn’t stand the thought of my heroine being forced to wear what she would have in the original time period. Really; the fashions were ridiculous. By doing that, I later discovered that I avoided having the story take place around the same time as a massacre a few miles from her home. Y’know, that might have made an unwanted impact on the story. Whew!

    Reply
  32. In my one historical (so far), I moved the story back about 30 years because I couldn’t stand the thought of my heroine being forced to wear what she would have in the original time period. Really; the fashions were ridiculous. By doing that, I later discovered that I avoided having the story take place around the same time as a massacre a few miles from her home. Y’know, that might have made an unwanted impact on the story. Whew!

    Reply
  33. In my one historical (so far), I moved the story back about 30 years because I couldn’t stand the thought of my heroine being forced to wear what she would have in the original time period. Really; the fashions were ridiculous. By doing that, I later discovered that I avoided having the story take place around the same time as a massacre a few miles from her home. Y’know, that might have made an unwanted impact on the story. Whew!

    Reply
  34. In my one historical (so far), I moved the story back about 30 years because I couldn’t stand the thought of my heroine being forced to wear what she would have in the original time period. Really; the fashions were ridiculous. By doing that, I later discovered that I avoided having the story take place around the same time as a massacre a few miles from her home. Y’know, that might have made an unwanted impact on the story. Whew!

    Reply
  35. In my one historical (so far), I moved the story back about 30 years because I couldn’t stand the thought of my heroine being forced to wear what she would have in the original time period. Really; the fashions were ridiculous. By doing that, I later discovered that I avoided having the story take place around the same time as a massacre a few miles from her home. Y’know, that might have made an unwanted impact on the story. Whew!

    Reply
  36. I find I read with the internet always available, even though I feel I have a good historical knowledge it helps to clarify names and dates

    Reply
  37. I find I read with the internet always available, even though I feel I have a good historical knowledge it helps to clarify names and dates

    Reply
  38. I find I read with the internet always available, even though I feel I have a good historical knowledge it helps to clarify names and dates

    Reply
  39. I find I read with the internet always available, even though I feel I have a good historical knowledge it helps to clarify names and dates

    Reply
  40. I find I read with the internet always available, even though I feel I have a good historical knowledge it helps to clarify names and dates

    Reply
  41. LOL! Good thing you did your research. This is one of the reasons so many of us stick to familiar time periods and settings–we know better than to put our characters into 1850s Georgia unless we want to kill them off.

    Reply
  42. LOL! Good thing you did your research. This is one of the reasons so many of us stick to familiar time periods and settings–we know better than to put our characters into 1850s Georgia unless we want to kill them off.

    Reply
  43. LOL! Good thing you did your research. This is one of the reasons so many of us stick to familiar time periods and settings–we know better than to put our characters into 1850s Georgia unless we want to kill them off.

    Reply
  44. LOL! Good thing you did your research. This is one of the reasons so many of us stick to familiar time periods and settings–we know better than to put our characters into 1850s Georgia unless we want to kill them off.

    Reply
  45. LOL! Good thing you did your research. This is one of the reasons so many of us stick to familiar time periods and settings–we know better than to put our characters into 1850s Georgia unless we want to kill them off.

    Reply
  46. Quantum–
    I’m glad you enjoyed the new audio version of SOMETIMES A ROGUE. I love to read author’s notes on historical backgrounds, and I write them for about half of my books, but judging what, and how much, to say can be difficult. For example, Irish resistance to English rule would fill an encyclopedia! Indeed, here is a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irish_republicanism&printable=yes
    The United Irishman, a group mentioned in SAR and which Rob said he’d join if he lived in Ireland, is a real group that crossed religious and ethnic lines. The city of Cork was indeed a hot bed of radical elements at the time. THe group Free Eire which kidnapped Sarah is fictional, but I consciously gave it elements akin to modern terrorism.
    Whether or not I include an author’s note about the history depends a lot on the history (and how much time I have!) In this year’s book, NOT QUITE A WIFE, there is a note. IT’s easier to explain steam packets than Irish history. *G*

    Reply
  47. Quantum–
    I’m glad you enjoyed the new audio version of SOMETIMES A ROGUE. I love to read author’s notes on historical backgrounds, and I write them for about half of my books, but judging what, and how much, to say can be difficult. For example, Irish resistance to English rule would fill an encyclopedia! Indeed, here is a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irish_republicanism&printable=yes
    The United Irishman, a group mentioned in SAR and which Rob said he’d join if he lived in Ireland, is a real group that crossed religious and ethnic lines. The city of Cork was indeed a hot bed of radical elements at the time. THe group Free Eire which kidnapped Sarah is fictional, but I consciously gave it elements akin to modern terrorism.
    Whether or not I include an author’s note about the history depends a lot on the history (and how much time I have!) In this year’s book, NOT QUITE A WIFE, there is a note. IT’s easier to explain steam packets than Irish history. *G*

    Reply
  48. Quantum–
    I’m glad you enjoyed the new audio version of SOMETIMES A ROGUE. I love to read author’s notes on historical backgrounds, and I write them for about half of my books, but judging what, and how much, to say can be difficult. For example, Irish resistance to English rule would fill an encyclopedia! Indeed, here is a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irish_republicanism&printable=yes
    The United Irishman, a group mentioned in SAR and which Rob said he’d join if he lived in Ireland, is a real group that crossed religious and ethnic lines. The city of Cork was indeed a hot bed of radical elements at the time. THe group Free Eire which kidnapped Sarah is fictional, but I consciously gave it elements akin to modern terrorism.
    Whether or not I include an author’s note about the history depends a lot on the history (and how much time I have!) In this year’s book, NOT QUITE A WIFE, there is a note. IT’s easier to explain steam packets than Irish history. *G*

    Reply
  49. Quantum–
    I’m glad you enjoyed the new audio version of SOMETIMES A ROGUE. I love to read author’s notes on historical backgrounds, and I write them for about half of my books, but judging what, and how much, to say can be difficult. For example, Irish resistance to English rule would fill an encyclopedia! Indeed, here is a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irish_republicanism&printable=yes
    The United Irishman, a group mentioned in SAR and which Rob said he’d join if he lived in Ireland, is a real group that crossed religious and ethnic lines. The city of Cork was indeed a hot bed of radical elements at the time. THe group Free Eire which kidnapped Sarah is fictional, but I consciously gave it elements akin to modern terrorism.
    Whether or not I include an author’s note about the history depends a lot on the history (and how much time I have!) In this year’s book, NOT QUITE A WIFE, there is a note. IT’s easier to explain steam packets than Irish history. *G*

    Reply
  50. Quantum–
    I’m glad you enjoyed the new audio version of SOMETIMES A ROGUE. I love to read author’s notes on historical backgrounds, and I write them for about half of my books, but judging what, and how much, to say can be difficult. For example, Irish resistance to English rule would fill an encyclopedia! Indeed, here is a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irish_republicanism&printable=yes
    The United Irishman, a group mentioned in SAR and which Rob said he’d join if he lived in Ireland, is a real group that crossed religious and ethnic lines. The city of Cork was indeed a hot bed of radical elements at the time. THe group Free Eire which kidnapped Sarah is fictional, but I consciously gave it elements akin to modern terrorism.
    Whether or not I include an author’s note about the history depends a lot on the history (and how much time I have!) In this year’s book, NOT QUITE A WIFE, there is a note. IT’s easier to explain steam packets than Irish history. *G*

    Reply
  51. In one novella, the h/h were both poor (unusual in historicals), and each had to count their pence. It was fascinating how the author wove money and poverty into every decision. The heroine was saving money for Christmas to be able to afford a goose AND coal for the day. The hero faced a boss who liked to humiliate his employees for minor bookkeeping errors, firing them for mistakes of just a few pounds over a year or two of accounting. The layer on layer of detail about hardship and scrimping created a whole different world.
    Another detail was about a specific type of lace that was very expensive. A secondary character buys just a little to trim her sleeves. After seeing it the heroine who was incredibly wealthy bought the same lace to trim her entire dress. I looked it up on the internet; it was beautiful and still very, very expensive.
    An I love author’s notes.

    Reply
  52. In one novella, the h/h were both poor (unusual in historicals), and each had to count their pence. It was fascinating how the author wove money and poverty into every decision. The heroine was saving money for Christmas to be able to afford a goose AND coal for the day. The hero faced a boss who liked to humiliate his employees for minor bookkeeping errors, firing them for mistakes of just a few pounds over a year or two of accounting. The layer on layer of detail about hardship and scrimping created a whole different world.
    Another detail was about a specific type of lace that was very expensive. A secondary character buys just a little to trim her sleeves. After seeing it the heroine who was incredibly wealthy bought the same lace to trim her entire dress. I looked it up on the internet; it was beautiful and still very, very expensive.
    An I love author’s notes.

    Reply
  53. In one novella, the h/h were both poor (unusual in historicals), and each had to count their pence. It was fascinating how the author wove money and poverty into every decision. The heroine was saving money for Christmas to be able to afford a goose AND coal for the day. The hero faced a boss who liked to humiliate his employees for minor bookkeeping errors, firing them for mistakes of just a few pounds over a year or two of accounting. The layer on layer of detail about hardship and scrimping created a whole different world.
    Another detail was about a specific type of lace that was very expensive. A secondary character buys just a little to trim her sleeves. After seeing it the heroine who was incredibly wealthy bought the same lace to trim her entire dress. I looked it up on the internet; it was beautiful and still very, very expensive.
    An I love author’s notes.

    Reply
  54. In one novella, the h/h were both poor (unusual in historicals), and each had to count their pence. It was fascinating how the author wove money and poverty into every decision. The heroine was saving money for Christmas to be able to afford a goose AND coal for the day. The hero faced a boss who liked to humiliate his employees for minor bookkeeping errors, firing them for mistakes of just a few pounds over a year or two of accounting. The layer on layer of detail about hardship and scrimping created a whole different world.
    Another detail was about a specific type of lace that was very expensive. A secondary character buys just a little to trim her sleeves. After seeing it the heroine who was incredibly wealthy bought the same lace to trim her entire dress. I looked it up on the internet; it was beautiful and still very, very expensive.
    An I love author’s notes.

    Reply
  55. In one novella, the h/h were both poor (unusual in historicals), and each had to count their pence. It was fascinating how the author wove money and poverty into every decision. The heroine was saving money for Christmas to be able to afford a goose AND coal for the day. The hero faced a boss who liked to humiliate his employees for minor bookkeeping errors, firing them for mistakes of just a few pounds over a year or two of accounting. The layer on layer of detail about hardship and scrimping created a whole different world.
    Another detail was about a specific type of lace that was very expensive. A secondary character buys just a little to trim her sleeves. After seeing it the heroine who was incredibly wealthy bought the same lace to trim her entire dress. I looked it up on the internet; it was beautiful and still very, very expensive.
    An I love author’s notes.

    Reply
  56. I always worry about including too much info about money. Scraping by and surviving fascinates me, but I’m an accountant. It’s good to know some readers enjoy those details! And yes, lace could be hideously expensive(I’m writing a novella right now that mentions this obliquely) because so few people could make it.

    Reply
  57. I always worry about including too much info about money. Scraping by and surviving fascinates me, but I’m an accountant. It’s good to know some readers enjoy those details! And yes, lace could be hideously expensive(I’m writing a novella right now that mentions this obliquely) because so few people could make it.

    Reply
  58. I always worry about including too much info about money. Scraping by and surviving fascinates me, but I’m an accountant. It’s good to know some readers enjoy those details! And yes, lace could be hideously expensive(I’m writing a novella right now that mentions this obliquely) because so few people could make it.

    Reply
  59. I always worry about including too much info about money. Scraping by and surviving fascinates me, but I’m an accountant. It’s good to know some readers enjoy those details! And yes, lace could be hideously expensive(I’m writing a novella right now that mentions this obliquely) because so few people could make it.

    Reply
  60. I always worry about including too much info about money. Scraping by and surviving fascinates me, but I’m an accountant. It’s good to know some readers enjoy those details! And yes, lace could be hideously expensive(I’m writing a novella right now that mentions this obliquely) because so few people could make it.

    Reply
  61. As a reader, I can tell when an author has really done her research and knows her stuff, even if in the end little of it makes it to the book in terms of specific events or unique details. The whole ambience and mindset will be accurate and there will be none of those moments which pull you out of a story, when you wonder: “would she really have done that?” or “that concept sounds rather modern”.
    I love it when an author includes a note giving some details of her research, especially if the book does cover something unusual (such as ballooning, or early research into electricity). But if an author manipulates historical events or characters (something which I don’t like) then I consider it essential that she says so.

    Reply
  62. As a reader, I can tell when an author has really done her research and knows her stuff, even if in the end little of it makes it to the book in terms of specific events or unique details. The whole ambience and mindset will be accurate and there will be none of those moments which pull you out of a story, when you wonder: “would she really have done that?” or “that concept sounds rather modern”.
    I love it when an author includes a note giving some details of her research, especially if the book does cover something unusual (such as ballooning, or early research into electricity). But if an author manipulates historical events or characters (something which I don’t like) then I consider it essential that she says so.

    Reply
  63. As a reader, I can tell when an author has really done her research and knows her stuff, even if in the end little of it makes it to the book in terms of specific events or unique details. The whole ambience and mindset will be accurate and there will be none of those moments which pull you out of a story, when you wonder: “would she really have done that?” or “that concept sounds rather modern”.
    I love it when an author includes a note giving some details of her research, especially if the book does cover something unusual (such as ballooning, or early research into electricity). But if an author manipulates historical events or characters (something which I don’t like) then I consider it essential that she says so.

    Reply
  64. As a reader, I can tell when an author has really done her research and knows her stuff, even if in the end little of it makes it to the book in terms of specific events or unique details. The whole ambience and mindset will be accurate and there will be none of those moments which pull you out of a story, when you wonder: “would she really have done that?” or “that concept sounds rather modern”.
    I love it when an author includes a note giving some details of her research, especially if the book does cover something unusual (such as ballooning, or early research into electricity). But if an author manipulates historical events or characters (something which I don’t like) then I consider it essential that she says so.

    Reply
  65. As a reader, I can tell when an author has really done her research and knows her stuff, even if in the end little of it makes it to the book in terms of specific events or unique details. The whole ambience and mindset will be accurate and there will be none of those moments which pull you out of a story, when you wonder: “would she really have done that?” or “that concept sounds rather modern”.
    I love it when an author includes a note giving some details of her research, especially if the book does cover something unusual (such as ballooning, or early research into electricity). But if an author manipulates historical events or characters (something which I don’t like) then I consider it essential that she says so.

    Reply
  66. Oh yes, I totally, unequivocally agree that if we’re tampering with history, it should be mentioned. I’m guilty of doing that with my Magic series because my scientific characters were rather advanced and unusual and I needed words that didn’t exist in the 1750s. But I love it when authors explain what they’ve done and why. This is all excellent food for thought as I ponder the next series…

    Reply
  67. Oh yes, I totally, unequivocally agree that if we’re tampering with history, it should be mentioned. I’m guilty of doing that with my Magic series because my scientific characters were rather advanced and unusual and I needed words that didn’t exist in the 1750s. But I love it when authors explain what they’ve done and why. This is all excellent food for thought as I ponder the next series…

    Reply
  68. Oh yes, I totally, unequivocally agree that if we’re tampering with history, it should be mentioned. I’m guilty of doing that with my Magic series because my scientific characters were rather advanced and unusual and I needed words that didn’t exist in the 1750s. But I love it when authors explain what they’ve done and why. This is all excellent food for thought as I ponder the next series…

    Reply
  69. Oh yes, I totally, unequivocally agree that if we’re tampering with history, it should be mentioned. I’m guilty of doing that with my Magic series because my scientific characters were rather advanced and unusual and I needed words that didn’t exist in the 1750s. But I love it when authors explain what they’ve done and why. This is all excellent food for thought as I ponder the next series…

    Reply
  70. Oh yes, I totally, unequivocally agree that if we’re tampering with history, it should be mentioned. I’m guilty of doing that with my Magic series because my scientific characters were rather advanced and unusual and I needed words that didn’t exist in the 1750s. But I love it when authors explain what they’ve done and why. This is all excellent food for thought as I ponder the next series…

    Reply
  71. I,on the other hand, adore all of the historical data – in the story or out. It fascinates me, as history always has. I am not exactly sure if I understood your comment, which I found very interesting, it’s just that I spent years reading and re-reading books by (for instance) Jean Plaidy who used history with fiction to write amazing books. I have so enjoyed PR’s books BECAUSE of the historical value. And she makes it such fun. All in all, you and I both enjoy her books which is the main thing.
    Thanks Patricia for all the enjoyment you have given me over the years.
    As a side note, I sincerely enjoyed the Recorded Books narrated by Simon Prebble, because he brings the books to life.

    Reply
  72. I,on the other hand, adore all of the historical data – in the story or out. It fascinates me, as history always has. I am not exactly sure if I understood your comment, which I found very interesting, it’s just that I spent years reading and re-reading books by (for instance) Jean Plaidy who used history with fiction to write amazing books. I have so enjoyed PR’s books BECAUSE of the historical value. And she makes it such fun. All in all, you and I both enjoy her books which is the main thing.
    Thanks Patricia for all the enjoyment you have given me over the years.
    As a side note, I sincerely enjoyed the Recorded Books narrated by Simon Prebble, because he brings the books to life.

    Reply
  73. I,on the other hand, adore all of the historical data – in the story or out. It fascinates me, as history always has. I am not exactly sure if I understood your comment, which I found very interesting, it’s just that I spent years reading and re-reading books by (for instance) Jean Plaidy who used history with fiction to write amazing books. I have so enjoyed PR’s books BECAUSE of the historical value. And she makes it such fun. All in all, you and I both enjoy her books which is the main thing.
    Thanks Patricia for all the enjoyment you have given me over the years.
    As a side note, I sincerely enjoyed the Recorded Books narrated by Simon Prebble, because he brings the books to life.

    Reply
  74. I,on the other hand, adore all of the historical data – in the story or out. It fascinates me, as history always has. I am not exactly sure if I understood your comment, which I found very interesting, it’s just that I spent years reading and re-reading books by (for instance) Jean Plaidy who used history with fiction to write amazing books. I have so enjoyed PR’s books BECAUSE of the historical value. And she makes it such fun. All in all, you and I both enjoy her books which is the main thing.
    Thanks Patricia for all the enjoyment you have given me over the years.
    As a side note, I sincerely enjoyed the Recorded Books narrated by Simon Prebble, because he brings the books to life.

    Reply
  75. I,on the other hand, adore all of the historical data – in the story or out. It fascinates me, as history always has. I am not exactly sure if I understood your comment, which I found very interesting, it’s just that I spent years reading and re-reading books by (for instance) Jean Plaidy who used history with fiction to write amazing books. I have so enjoyed PR’s books BECAUSE of the historical value. And she makes it such fun. All in all, you and I both enjoy her books which is the main thing.
    Thanks Patricia for all the enjoyment you have given me over the years.
    As a side note, I sincerely enjoyed the Recorded Books narrated by Simon Prebble, because he brings the books to life.

    Reply
  76. I totally agree, Lillian. All that makes the book more interesting, and also gives me facts about the times. Then, I can “live” in that era for a short time. How much fun is that????

    Reply
  77. I totally agree, Lillian. All that makes the book more interesting, and also gives me facts about the times. Then, I can “live” in that era for a short time. How much fun is that????

    Reply
  78. I totally agree, Lillian. All that makes the book more interesting, and also gives me facts about the times. Then, I can “live” in that era for a short time. How much fun is that????

    Reply
  79. I totally agree, Lillian. All that makes the book more interesting, and also gives me facts about the times. Then, I can “live” in that era for a short time. How much fun is that????

    Reply
  80. I totally agree, Lillian. All that makes the book more interesting, and also gives me facts about the times. Then, I can “live” in that era for a short time. How much fun is that????

    Reply
  81. I have always loved the fact that you “note’ the actual facts as well as the fictional ones. It makes the times come to life for me.
    I found you through Simon Prebble’s narration on Recorded Books and have gone on the print and then Kindle enjoying each one. I re-read because I read so fast that I am done too soon, so I take the books over and over to live the times, people and places.
    You have been a joy since I first learned of you and I continue to enjoy all of your books whatever the form. And you are delightful in person as well. Thanks for all the pleasure you have given me over the years. You are a dear person.

    Reply
  82. I have always loved the fact that you “note’ the actual facts as well as the fictional ones. It makes the times come to life for me.
    I found you through Simon Prebble’s narration on Recorded Books and have gone on the print and then Kindle enjoying each one. I re-read because I read so fast that I am done too soon, so I take the books over and over to live the times, people and places.
    You have been a joy since I first learned of you and I continue to enjoy all of your books whatever the form. And you are delightful in person as well. Thanks for all the pleasure you have given me over the years. You are a dear person.

    Reply
  83. I have always loved the fact that you “note’ the actual facts as well as the fictional ones. It makes the times come to life for me.
    I found you through Simon Prebble’s narration on Recorded Books and have gone on the print and then Kindle enjoying each one. I re-read because I read so fast that I am done too soon, so I take the books over and over to live the times, people and places.
    You have been a joy since I first learned of you and I continue to enjoy all of your books whatever the form. And you are delightful in person as well. Thanks for all the pleasure you have given me over the years. You are a dear person.

    Reply
  84. I have always loved the fact that you “note’ the actual facts as well as the fictional ones. It makes the times come to life for me.
    I found you through Simon Prebble’s narration on Recorded Books and have gone on the print and then Kindle enjoying each one. I re-read because I read so fast that I am done too soon, so I take the books over and over to live the times, people and places.
    You have been a joy since I first learned of you and I continue to enjoy all of your books whatever the form. And you are delightful in person as well. Thanks for all the pleasure you have given me over the years. You are a dear person.

    Reply
  85. I have always loved the fact that you “note’ the actual facts as well as the fictional ones. It makes the times come to life for me.
    I found you through Simon Prebble’s narration on Recorded Books and have gone on the print and then Kindle enjoying each one. I re-read because I read so fast that I am done too soon, so I take the books over and over to live the times, people and places.
    You have been a joy since I first learned of you and I continue to enjoy all of your books whatever the form. And you are delightful in person as well. Thanks for all the pleasure you have given me over the years. You are a dear person.

    Reply

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