Historical Research Series Guest Post - Nancy Fraser

Today's guest is historical romance novelist, Nancy Fraser.

Wake Up Little Susie

Nancy began writing at an early age, usually on the wall with crayon or, heaven forbid, permanent marker. Her love of writing often made her the English teachers pet which resulted in a lot of teasing. Still it was worth it because it fostered her love for all writing, but especially romantic stories where her hero and heroine get their HEA. When not writing a mixture of contemporary, vintage historical and historical romantic fiction, Nancy likes to spend time with her beautiful grandchildren, two of which aspire to be writers themselves.

Nancy, what is the time period/setting for your novels?

I write what is termed Vintage historical which runs from the 1940s through the 1970s. Settings can be anywhere, but I find the time period is more easily accepted in a North American setting.

Do you have any special connection to the period?

As much as I hate to admit, I’ve lived through a lot of the vintage period. I was fortunate to come from a family of storytellers, who gave me more than enough ideas for great stories.

What appeals to you about this period?

I think what appeals most is that the reader can relate to it more so than say a time period where there was no indoor plumbing, or where marriage was condoned at an early age, as was childbirth. Many of the ‘modern’ conveniences are still items we use today, only in their beginning stages.

Love Me Tender
If you had the opportunity to visit this time period, what do you think you’d like best? 

The music, which plays a huge part in my current series and the clothes. I have a huge metal can from the early 1950 that was made to hold potato chips. It now contains a wonderful treasure trove of items, including a ‘card’ of six cluster pearl buttons that—back then—cost ten cents and a book of ration stamps from WW2 and a receipt for a 1952 Chevy that cost a whopping $1,200. There is so much we can learn just from just holding these pieces of history in our hands and imagining how and when they were used.

Do you use real figures from history as main or secondary characters, or are all of your characters fiction?

I’d estimate 85% of my characters are figments of my very vivid imagination. I love to use real settings, like university campuses and relate real events (e.g., the sorrow of a visit from a military officer delivering bad news to a woman and her family). When I use a real person, it’s usually to relate an event (e.g., the end of the Korean war), or a technological advance (e.g., the discovery of penicillin).

Is there a real character from this time period that you admire?

A number of them come to mind. Rosa Parks, for her courage. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy for their leadership.
Love is a Many Splendored Thing
How much time do you spend researching each book?

The time period itself is pretty clear to me. I usually choose my month and year and then research the news events, songs, radio (and later television) shows that affected the time period. Depending on the length, usually 10-20 hours of research goes into each story.

Do you tend to research before you write or more as you write?

Once I’ve chosen my year and month or season, I create myself a timeline of political, social, and current events that occurred around the date. Once the story gets rolling, I will often go back and look for additional events to enhance the secondary plot.

Do you tend to use secondary or primary research sources?

While I do a lot from memory (either my own or my family’s), I also rely on written formats and internet research (although I do tend to find a number of inaccuracies on places like Wikipedia).

Any favorite sources?

I have a set of World Book Encyclopedias my mother bought me when I was in first grade. Fortunately, they cover just about the entire first half of the Vintage time period. I also collect both fiction and non-fiction books from the time period. So, while I obviously can’t use their wording, I can glean a feeling for the time period based on the stories/writing.

Do you read other authors who write in this time period? if so, who?

There aren’t a vast number of authors who write specifically in the vintage era, so I don’t have a single favorite. Because my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, is one of the few publishers who has a line devoted to the time period, I do my best to read and support the other TWRP authors.

Do you read other times periods/genres?

I love the 1860s through 1900 as well and enjoy reading and writing about the beginnings of the industrial revolution. It’s always fun to have my affluent characters be the first family in town to have indoor plumbing.

What are some of the books you've written?

Gambling On Love, written with Patti Shenberger will be a May 6th release from Entangled Publishing.

April Love is the fourth novella in my Golden Decade of Rock and Roll Series from The Wild Rose Press and will be out later this summer.

The first three books, LoveIs A Many Splendored Thing, Love Me Tender and Wake Up Little Susie, can be found on the TWRP website under my page.

How can readers reach out to you of they want to learn more? 

I love to hear from readers and fellow authors and can be reached at:  romwriter96@gmail.com. My website addy is: www.nancyfraser.com. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter @nfraserauthor

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