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Information Brings Inspiration — 38 Comments

  1. Having read your chess scene you never would have known that you knew nothing about chess. Now I look forward to seeing what you have learned about pirates and the islands. I personally like when history is weaved into a story so that the two flow together rather than it becoming a history lesson.

    • I’m so glad I was able to fool people in that chess scene. Actually, I do know a little about chess – the pieces all move in different directions! I hope you get a chance to read Pirates and Prejudice.

      • Reminds me of a chess scene I had to write. I play enough to say I know how, but that’s it. Learned a lot researching that scene. not that I can ply any better for it, mind you…. LOL

  2. I love historic detail and have never found there to be too much…it makes the story richer so long as it doesn’t become the story. I love it when the story snd historic detail seamlessly flow together as yours do as well as many of the others. As for writing with historic details… well…I unfortunately do not seem yo have that talent.

    • I’ll make another confession here. I never enjoyed history in school, until in college I had a professor who made it come alive! Now I find it exciting to do historical research, but as you say, it can’t become the story.

      • Glad to hear I”m not the only one! Actually, I had a terrible professor in college for it too. It was in sociology that it came alive to me.

  3. I love historical detail in novels, although as you say, you can have too much, it must be a hard balance to strike. I think reading historical novels is an entertaining way to learn history. It must take so much time to research things, but to a reader it makes all the difference, a poorly-researched novel is so frustrating to read, and if it’s well-researched then I don’t always even notice unless I learn new facts, I just enjoy! So let me take this opportunity to thank all of you writers who research, it enriches the reading experience so much.

  4. Thanks so much for this. I am writing a novel (my first) in which the protagonists will be sailing from England (circa 1750) to America, and was so happy to discover your Darcy’s Voyage. I will visit the site you mentioned about the ship. I don’t remember now precisely, but I am pretty sure that it was after reading your book that I decided that my protagonists will adopt a young child whose parents both die from illness during the voyage. Since adoption is one of the themes already in the book, this fit in perfectly. That of course led to research about adoption (or not) in colonial America. I agree that serendipity is everything, both in research and in writing. How lucky that we live in the age of search engines and google books, which makes everything so much easier.

  5. Kara, I have read all three of your books that you mentioned.
    Your research for such wonderful historical detail enriches your writing thus our experience.

    Please keep researching and writing!!

  6. I do love reading historic details in novels especially when they are correct and lend to the story. Thank you for writing this post. You are one of my favorite authors so it is nice to be able to see your process. Please never stop writing.

  7. Like Carol Hoyt above, I have read all of those books along with several others you wrote. AND am just now re-reading “Pemberley’s Promise”. (I want to post reviews on Amazon now that I am retired and have time.) I do like to read history in novels. Can’t say that I have come across one who has too much. One of my favorite college courses was 20th Century History, which was not covered in high school. I read Nicholas and Alexandra as part of the term paper assignment and it remains high on the list of books I read and enjoyed.

    So did you make changes I need to know about in Pemberley’s Promise re-written as Mr. Darcy’s Voyage?

    Many times while reading a book or watching a movie/TV series, i.e., DaVinci’s Demons, I will go on the Internet and look up the facts connected with what I am reading/watching.

  8. Thanks, Sheila! And I noticed you had posted a review on Pemberley’s Promise on amazon (I think it was you), but would love it if you put the same on Darcy’s Voyage, as that is the book that is available now. Darcy’s Voyage is pretty much the same in the storyline, but because a professional editor looked at it, it is much better and some was actually taken out to tighten it up. So I would say you don’t need DV if you have PP. 🙂 Thanks again for your kind words!

    • Yes, I did post a review (remembering the story so well I didn’t have to re-read it first). However, in posting the review I wanted to read the story again so picked it up. Did post that review on Darcy’s Voyage since you related that the 2 stories are basically the same. Haven’t read the one with the dog – can’t seem to get past the fact that it is a dog. I like being in the minds of the lovers so much. That is where the angst, the tension plays out for me.

  9. Kara,
    You’re tempting me with talk of those isles!! I’m fascinated by maps and travel as a whole, so it doesn’t take much description like that to intrigue me 😉 . And, yes, to your question about whether finding a piece of information like that influenced my own writing. For my novel The Road to You, a fair bit of it takes place along Historic Route 66, so the more bits and pieces I uncovered about that classic American highway, the more it influenced the details included in the story. Plus, I made my husband drive me through about 1,500 miles of the 2,500 mile long route because I really did want to see as much as possible myself, LOL. So many beautiful places to visit in the world, aren’t there?!

    • Travelling is wonderful, and NY driving instead of flying you see such changes. I have driven parts of Route 66. I stayed at a campground right on route 66 in elk city, Oklahoma and drove it between King man, Arizona and where it reintersected with route 40 in Williams. It is a fsconsting road. My favorite town was Seligman, snd the food at the Roadkill Cafe was hoof. I love it when I find a place that was used in a story or when I read s story and find I’ve been there. I just began reading The Road to You and am looking forward to seeing which places I’ve been to.

  10. Definitely, Marilyn! There are so many places I want to go that I’ve heard of, and I wonder how many more there are that I’ve never heard of! Having just moved to St. Louis (nearby Route 66), we drove across the river to Illinois on Saturday, where eagles migrate for the winter. We saw so many, but only one close up. It was pretty awesome. The amazing thing was, so many people who have lived here all their life said they had never done that before. And it was only a half hour drive away!

  11. I didn’t know about the chess fact either. I do play the game but give up because I don’t have the patience to think ahead and anticipate my opponent’s next move.

    I love history lessons as long as it goes with the flow of the story. If I don’t see the point of being introduced in the first place and it deters my enjoyment of the plot, then I feel there is too much details which should be removed.

    • I think that’s why I wanted Lizzy and Darcy to play chess, because I think it requires a sharp mind! Now you know I don’t have one! 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts, Luthien!

  12. I love historic details weaved into a story whether it be fashion, architecture, history, etc. For me it helps give the story depth and life. I too enjoyed your chess scenes and would never have known you didn’t know alot about chess! I really enjoyed those scenes!

    • Thanks, Carole! Sometimes we get lucky and fool our readers into thinking we know a lot about something! 🙂 I like your comment that the historical details should be woven into the story. Thanks for your thoughts!

  13. I have read other books about ship voyages in the distant past, and it often sounds simply miserable! It is probably bad enough to have rough seas, but the unhealthy conditions would just make things worse. I always think early settlers who traveled by ship were truly brave, or desperate, to travel so far by sea.

    I also enjoy historical detail in novels, and am always pleased to learn about another era. I really appreciate it when authors work those details in the story and don’t overwhelm the story with the details of the period. In the end, I’m interested in the characters and how they interact, and so I imagine it’s a tough balance not to stray into lecturing about a certain era and still keep the feel of the time period in which a story is set!

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Kathy! I, too, am one who gets drawn in more by the characters than setting, and so I like it to add to the story, not intrude.

  14. The Isles of Scilly have been on my travel bucket list for a while, mainly because they seem to have such a distinctive personality.

  15. I did a little online research for my ebook,Fanny Price:Slayer of Vampires in that I planned to have the vampire versions of Henry and Mary Crawford wear magical pieces of jewelry(did have to give a reason why they could be out and about in the daytime!) and wound up with mourning bracelets.

    Saw several great pictures of that type of jewelry and it seems to make sense,due to the death of their aunt(her hair is used for the bracelets) being the cause for Mary to move to the Grants,plus matching bracelets felt right for a brother and sister. Hope my readers agree!

  16. It’s always fun to find something that seems to work perfectly! Yes, I hope your readers will agree! Thanks for stopping by.

  17. I’m a history NUT so I truly enjoy when history is woven into a piece. It makes it “real” in a sense. I read a (non-Austen) book not too long ago that had woven the story so tight to actual history, I got confused and had to look up to see if those people were actually involved. I used to play chess with my uncle when I was young but I know just enough now to lose beautifully. LOL I’m working on my Bachelor’s now and the research is my very favorite part.

  18. I think it’s a great benefit to writing to love the research. And I love finding those interesting pieces that don’t fit into anything I’m working on at the time, but ‘file’ it away for another story. Thanks for your comments, Stephanie!

  19. Research has definitely slowed my current WIP. Every time I think I have enough to proceed to the next chapter, another facet appears.
    Research is a necessary evil, but I agree with your statement above. “Evil” it may be, but the process is still exquisite fulfilling.

  20. Sometimes those ‘facets’ turn into gems in the story, other times they steer it in other directions! It’s good that you find it fulfilling!

  21. As a reader I believe historical details can make a difference between an average book and an amazing book. Historic details allow us to visualize what the author wrote and create the images in our head. This always makes the reading more intense and enjoyable. Apart from that, historical details teach us new things about the era the book takes place (I didn’t know the isles of Sicily existed before reading P&P) and that’s also interesting. I think these details should not be bluntly mentioned in the book just because they need to be there, but should instead be present and integrated in the story. This is what you do in your books, so I think you are pretty good at it. Please continue doing it 🙂

  22. Speaking of research: do any of the authors have any particularly helpful medical resources for 18th and early-19th-century health issues. Are the authors going to primary sources or making do with secondary sources? I’m mostly just using google books at this point. I’m interested in issues relating to pregnancy, childbirth, and childhood illness. I’ve noticed that many of the “variations” deal with pregnancy and sometimes injuries and other illness, mostly in adults (fevers and such).

  23. Pingback: Experience Brings Inspiration |

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