A writer’s relationship to research is very personal. Some people try to avoid it at all costs. Some spend too much time falling down interesting rabbit holes.
I’m on the rabbit-hole end of the spectrum, but I do have some restraint! My biggest problem is using a deft hand when incorporating said research into my books. Sometimes I like to wax poetic about the really cool things I learned.
But, rather than shove everything into my books, I’m going to start blogging about some of those Really Cool Things instead. This blog post will be frequently updated as I add book titles and web resources that I encounter in my research process for writing the Fay of Skye series. If you’re interested in learning more about the real history behind my made-up world, here’s where you can go.
I’m including links to Amazon when applicable. If any of these links end up breaking, send me an email and let me know!
- Bull, Stephen. British Infantryman vs German Infantryman: Somme 1916 (Combat).
- Carr-Gomm, Philip and Richard Heygate. The Book of English Magic.
- This book was useful in determining some actual magical practices that I could adapt for my fictional story. I’ve put in the use of leylines, despite that term not actually being coined until the early 20th century.
- Clark, Christopher. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.
- Clarke, Dale et al. World War I Battlefield Artillery Tactics.
- Englund, Peter. The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War.
- Kelly, C. Brian with Ingrid Smyer. Best Little Stories from World War I.
- Lewis, Brenda Ralph. Dark History of the Kings & Queens of England: 1066 To the Present Day.
- Has a lot of great information about Victoria and Edward VII, as well as earlier and later monarchs which influence the backstory and things that are still to come.
- Lewis, Brenda Ralph. A Dark History: The Kings and Queens of Europe from Medieval Tyrants to Mad Monarchs.
- Very interesting book, but the parts relevant to me came from the chapters 4, 5, 6, and 13.
- Lewis, Jon E., ed. A Brief History of World War I: Eyewitness Accounts of the Great War.
- MacColl, Gail and Carol McD. Wallace. To Marry an English Lord: Tales of Wealth and Marriage, Sex and Snobbery.
- Great resource for anyone writing about courtship and marriage in the late nineteenth century, particularly a cross-oceanic pair.
- MacMillan, Margaret. The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914.
- Tracks the threads that lead to the Great War. Important to me, because my series is going to do the same thing, except with more magic.
- Owen, Alex. The Darkened Room: Women, Power, and Spiritualism in Late Victorian England.
- My stories don’t deal with spiritualism as it existed in real history, since in my world magic is real and so are ghosts, and everyone knows it. But the study of gender relations and power dynamics in this book is enlightening.
- Ocean Passenger Travel – The Speed of the 1890 Steamships
- The Peerage
- A fantastically thorough resource. Good for making sure that I’m not accidentally using a real person’s name! Although if I’ve made any mistakes on that front, I promise they were not intended.
- North Carolina Museum of History – Time Lines
- Links to the various time lines available. I used several for different reasons.
- DeBrett’s Forms of Address
- Invaluable resource for anyone who wants to avoid the “my lording” that goes on (incorrectly!!) in most fiction about the noble classes.
- “Coming Out” During the Early Victorian Era
- I’m set in the late Victorian Era, but all of this information is still relevant!
- Courtship in the Victorian Era – Online Guide
- A link list to a host of Victorian-related websites.
- 1895 in the United Kingdom
- Yes, it’s Wikipedia, but these yearly articles are a great jumping-off point to research specific things that happened during the year my story is set.
I’ll keep updating and adding to this post as I have time. I’ll also link to some good articles about writing alternate history:
- i09’s 10 Worst Mistakes That Authors Make in Alternate History
- Harry Turtledove’s Research Tips for Writing Alternate History
- Alternate History Fiction: 3 Useful Rules You Should Know
And here’s an excellent book on story beats for romance writers: