When I started writing romance novels in my twenties, I shied away from historical romance. I read tons of them, but I mean, really, how much history did I know?
I spent a couple years dabbling in straight sci fi. Turns out that despite years of watching Star Trek, I knew less about science than I did about history. To compensate for that weakness, I tried my hand at paranormal, figuring that in that genre I could sort of make it up as I went. Somehow, I suspect the publishers knew I was faking it.
Still not ready to try my hand at my true love, historical romance, I gave up writing for more than a decade.
Then, a few years ago, I started my own business as a freelance business writer. I thought, what the heck, as long as I’m writing full time, I might as well try my hand at romance novels again.
In the ensuing years, I had also developed an interest in American history. When it came time to write my first novel, I knew it couldn’t be anything other than an American Historical Romance. (I still love a Highlander or a good Duke, but that’s not the world I knew.)
Despite having more than a passing knowledge of American history, I do a ton of research before, during, and sometimes after finishing a manuscript as I try to capture the time period and ensure accuracy. Knowing the history isn’t the same as understanding the society.
I am in awe of other writers who do it so well you’d swear they actually lived during the period.
To get a feel for how they do their research, I’m starting a guest post series for historical novel research. I’ve invited a handful of fellow authors, mostly romance but not exclusively, to submit posts. Several have already eagerly agreed.
Watch for these in the weeks ahead, and I hope you enjoy the series!
P.S. If you are an author of historical novels and would like to participate, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the details.