Historical Fiction Takes Research
I would not dream of publishing a single word that has not been extensively researched for accuracy and authenticity. All of my books are taken as recreations of firsthand accounts of specific situations. I want to clarify this point because I had a reader question the milk application in Maggie and the Stubborn Swede. Maggie’s husband, Will, was bitten by a rattlesnake and treated the snakebite with milk. My reader said she had never heard of such a thing and implied not only that I made it up, but that it was a questionable thought. I found this remedy in the Wichita Eagle, 1876, with an account of a Swedish immigrant that used this remedy successfully on a snakebite with several witnesses around.
I am currently working on the next 3 novels: Mary and the Marauding Indians, an account of the last Indian War in Kansas, Suzannah and the Exodusters, a recounting of the migration of African Americans from the Deep South to Nicodemus, Kansas, a town still in existence today, and Katie, of unknown circumstances at this time.
All three of these books I hope to publish before the end of 2015. When all of these ideas compete in my head I turn to two programs on my computer to sort them out. The first one is mindmapmaker.org, which I consider a necessity. I wish I had discovered this program 5 years ago, because it helps me so much in gathering my ideas into a usable place. Mindmapmaker appears as a grid, with the opportunity to place ideas around the central theme with offshoots in all directions. It helps me to keep place in my research with links to current research, and a timeline of events to the story plot. I love this programs because just looking at the grid sparks my creativity.
The second program that is my foundation for writing historical novels is Google Spreadsheets. I use my spreadsheet to keep up with characters, locations, dates, and the other details that someday you will ask me, like, where was Amanda born or whose sister is whom’s? I keep genealogy, descriptions of places, and all the myriad details that I need to reference in the upcoming series.
If you are an aspiring writer I hope this helps you get motivated or creating. Both of these helpful programs are free online.
When in doubt, just write. It will all come out and you will be freed to create.