Write what you know. That’s advice sometimes proffered by other writers. Misguided, in my view.
Research, that’s the key to writing what you don’t know, along with a vivid imagination. Otherwise how could you write historicals, murder mysteries, fantasy?
There are lots of authors out there who’ve led interesting, adventurous lives. Equally, there are many of us who haven’t. Without research and imagination, there’d be way too many Aga sagas written for my taste.
Murdered anyone lately? Enjoyed an erotic escapade? Visited the court of a 17th century king, as one of the writers in my critique group is doing at the moment? Well, in his head, he is. As for erotic escapades, I’ve been asked cheeky questions about ‘research’ undertaken in the writing of The Heart Has Its Reasons. It’s called imagination, people! The research involved reading accounts of a court case concerning some of my ancestors, and contemporary letters about the scandal. Then, I had to investigate major events at that time (late 1700s). A big plus was visiting London’s V & A, to examine 18th century costumes.
Historical novels are my favourite reading. If they’re set far enough back in time, I can blissfully enjoy them without being aware of errors of fact. But, give me a setting sometime during the last couple of centuries, if there’s a major error of geography or social custom, the author loses me!
Growing up in the historical NSW town of Windsor (our house was built in the 1830s), I was immersed in the lives of early settlers and convicts. Looking back, there was probably a little too much emphasis on colonial history at school. But nothing’s wasted. Perhaps I should set a story in that era. I’ve a black sheep in the family just begging to be written about!
The Heart Has Its Reasons is available for ORDER by clicking this link https://www.bronwynhouldsworth.com/books