on New Shelves:
One of the questions I’m most often asked, as a writer of historical fiction is, “How do you do the research?” I was recently reading an interview with a non-fiction history writer who said he spends about three years on the research per book! Thankfully, the burden of research is not nearly as intense for fiction writers—his years are more like months for my work. As I like to tell people, us historical fiction writers are saved by the “F” word—no, not THAT “F” word—“F” as in Fiction! Our work doesn’t have to be exact and the perfect truth, it just has to be plausible and believable, and not violate the “rules” of reality in the time and location where the story takes place.
That being said, I thoroughly enjoy including as much actual historical fact in my novels as possible—real people (especially little-known individuals), places, and events—and then weave my fictional characters and plots in with those historical facts and settings. Here are some useful tips for successfully creating that seemingly complex tapestry: