Friday, December 19, 2014

A HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: History Behind the Story

Image: A glimpse of the Swan Mountain Range in Montana by MK McClintock
I wish I could say that my research comes from first-hand experience, but alas, I am firmly planted in the twenty-first century while my imagination runs wild with the horses, cowboys, orphans, and the Victorian gentry of the nineteenth-century. Writing historical fiction is my way of living the kind of life I can only dream about in our modern world. Then again, my imagination doesn’t have to travel too far because I live in the settings for most of my books.

The process of writing historical fiction is a simple one, but quite time-consuming. For every hour that I write, another hour has been spent on research; whether online or by reading historical tombs and texts written from the time period. There are times when I have to contact an historical society for a little help and guidance; I’ve always found them willing and eager to assist. Lucky for me, I enjoy the research as much as I do the writing.

Did that word exist in 1875? How long did train or sea travel take in 1892? What style of furniture were commonly found in the bedrooms in 1883? What was the name of that town in that region of Scotland in 1882 and what year did it change? A new question arises on every page!

There’s an amazing world filled with adventure, romance, heartache, devastation, hope, progress, and people doing everything they can to survive, and it can all be found in our world’s fascinating history.

I knew that when I wrote the short stories for A Home for Christmas, I wanted Rocky Mountain settings. This was an easy feat since I’ve spent most of my life in the Rocky Mountains. I don’t have to wonder what they look like because I’ve climbed the mountains, swam in the lakes and rivers, and stared up at the star-filled skies on a cold winter’s night. Of course there is still research involved, but once you become familiar with a time period, it’s like visiting an old friend whose secrets, dreams, and fears you already know.

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This post was original written for and posted on the blog of author June McCrary Jacobs

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