I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Sara R. Turnquist, who shares...
RESEARCH FOR WRITERS: THE JOYS AND THE FRUSTRATIONS
by Sara R. Turnquist
I am currently working on the sequel to my debut novel, The Lady Bornekova. In fact, I am away on a long weekend to get some serious work done on the manuscript. A place where I am free from my normal distractions of life. And I am LOVING it. But this book is requiring a LOT of research. I may be the odd ball, or maybe I'm like every other Historical Fiction writer, I have a love-hate relationship with research. Here's why:
The Learning. You learn so many cool things when you research. Plot lines, story lines, and interesting characters come to light when you do your research. Believe me, truth is stranger than fiction sometimes (and can be far more interesting). ESPECIALLY when these interesting tidbits are woven into fiction. Then you've got the potential for something amazing!
The Depth of Knowledge. One of the things that most Historical Fiction writers who really know how to research well (I do not count myself among them - I'm still new at this, I'm just sharing my knowledge), will encourage you to look for books on your subject. (As opposed to simply research for that one tidbit of information that you need.) Why? Because you don't know what you don't know. What do I mean by that? Well, there are those interesting twists, plots, and characters that you may not know about that happened/existed during that time period that would be pure gold in your story that you wouldn't think to look up. And you'll never know about them unless you read up about that time period or subject.
The Bunny Trails. Piggybacking on my previous point, bunny trails can lead you to a gold mine of information if you are prudent with your time and focus. Otherwise, they can be a time drain.
The Time Drain. Right now I would just love to sit down and crank out this book, but that's not possible. There is a lot of research between me and the end of this manuscript: research I did beforehand and research I’m doing as I'm writing. This is not a negative thing. Research sparks your storyline, but as you write, it can spark a direction to your research as well. But, no matter how you slice it, research takes time and effort. And it's time and effort I would rather put into writing most of the time.
The Bunny Trails. I know what you're thinking. "Hey, that's not right! You put this in both categories!" That's because it belongs in both categories. Remember how I said bunny trails could be a time drain? They can be. And they can lead you nowhere. That's the down side.
Sometimes...and I'm just going to say it...it can be boring. Can't believe I said it, can you? Don't get me wrong. I LOVE history. And I love learning new things. But I am not one for learning more about the nuances of battles and war. Well, this sequel takes place during the first part of the Hussite WARS. So, guess what I'm doing a ton of research on? You got it - battles, war, and the like. Not the most interesting thing I've ever researched. But there are gems to be found. The fact that this misfit army made up of farmers and working class laborers overcame such odds against well-trained armies. Amazing. And it really happened.
The General's Wife
by Sara R. Turnquist
GENRE: Historical Romance
“Go home!” Ismene is speechless as she reads those words written in blood on the walls of her new home. The young, raven-haired Grecian beauty had traveled all the way from her homeland to marry the Pharaoh’s top general. But she never expected this. The hatred of the Alexandrian mob for their Greek rulers is right in front of her. It is the first of many threats she will receive.
Things are escalating out of control. Damaged crops and horses turned loose at night are one thing. But when Ismene receives a death threat, it becomes clear that there is a spy within her own household. She would turn to her husband to deal with this issue, except he left for battle by order of the Pharaoh. Not knowing whom to trust, she fears for her safety as well as the entire ruling class of Egypt.
Once they were alone, he gathered Ismene into his arms. “Love, are you truly all right?”
“I am.” She sighed, closing her eyes and just breathing in the scent of him. “Now.”
He kissed the top of her head and rubbed her back. When he closed his eyes he could still see the scene that he had come upon when he had found her on the balcony, and his blood ran hot. He forced his mind back to the present.
“I have a surprise for you.”
“I thought I might read to you.”
“Oh?” She pulled back to look into his face. “That is a pleasant surprise. I think, sir, that you have found my weakness.”
“I think you know mine too, milady.” He said, drawing her in for an intimate kiss.
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