Writing Tip

Research, Research, Research

To the relief of my friends, I am not a poison master.

I was not alive during the early 1500’s.

And yet those two topics drive my upcoming novel Apricots and Wolfsbane. How did I write it? Endless hours of research.

I recently received a question via Facebook regarding what inspired me to write Apricots and Wolfsbane and how I researched it. I tackled the first part of that question in this blog post and will answer the second below:

How did I research my novel? The internet. I have profound respect for novel writers who conduct their research via first person visits and countless hours in the library. Of course, I would have preferred to travel, but lacking funds to visit to England and a time machine, the Internet fulfilled my need. I can go anywhere with imagination but research grounds the story in reality and helps take the reader along for the ride.

I am grateful to have a world of information available to me from the comfort of my pajamas. Via the Internet, I viewed period paintings for inspiration of clothing and architecture. I studied Old English. I virtually visited the English countryside. I toured an English poison garden. I learned the basics for extracting poisons (here is my favorite poison reference) and connected with fellow authors to aid my writing.

However, the Internet is full of misinformation as well. Of course, common sense must be applied to evaluate the source. I spent hours cross checking references and verifying facts. Thankfully, the Internet also provides access to experts. I found aid through English Historical Fiction author groups, of which there are many online, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Along with poisons, Catholic faith is a prominent subject within my novel. That knowledge I did acquire first hand by surviving years of CCE classes. But the modern Bible is very different than it was in 1500’s England. This website provides many historic translations: Historic Bible Translations.

The countless hours of research truly paid off but I admit, it did mess up my Google search history.  My best advice: consider researching your novel in incognito mode 🙂




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