AMERICAN HISTORICAL NOVELS discussion

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Research

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message 1: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Skenandore (amandaskenandore) | 72 comments **Reminder: Tonight I’ll be live on Facebook from 6-6:30 pm PST to chat and answer questions. Drop in and say hi. ☺**


One of my favorite parts of the writing process is research. Before I begin a project I’ll spend weeks, sometimes months researching. Much of that takes place between the pages of books. Of course, there’s a trove of historical documents online too. But my favorite type of research happens when my feet hit the ground—at a museum, a historical landmark, or the streets whatever location I’m writing about.

In researching Between Earth & Sky, I couldn’t visit all the places in the story, but I did spend a few days in St. Paul, Minnesota where Harry’s trial takes place. Modern-day St. Paul bears little resemblance to it’s 1906-self. Metal skyscrapers glint in the sunlight, casting shadows on the scattered red and beige brick buildings from a century before. Asphalt and light-rail tracks cover the old stone pavers and iron streetcar grooves. Gone is the horse and buggy. Gone are newsboys hawking the Daily Pioneer. Gone are the gas streetlamps.

What remains are flashes—an old building here and there; a park, redesigned but still fitted within its original boundaries; and the mighty Mississippi, its blue-gray waters sauntering toward the distant Gulf of Mexico. It’s enough for me to slip into my characters’ shoes and live for a few hours—with a hefty dose of imagination—as they did 112 years ago.

If you could travel back in time and visit a particular city or location, when and where would you go? Comment for a chance to win the audiobook version of Between Earth and Sky.


message 2: by Stella (new)

Stella McKissack (stellamckissack) | 38 comments I would love to visit the antebellum era in the south. Aside from the issues of slavery, it seems like such a golden age.


message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Skenandore (amandaskenandore) | 72 comments Stella wrote: "I would love to visit the antebellum era in the south. Aside from the issues of slavery, it seems like such a golden age."

I love the clothing of that era! I'm not sure I could breathe with so tight a corset, but those hoop-skirted dresses were so lovely.


message 4: by Beverly (new)

Beverly I don't know that I would choose to go back to a prior time. Life was hard and challenging. If I could just visit briefly, perhaps. Reading historical fiction gives us a chance to visit a period without having to live in an earlier time.


message 5: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Skenandore (amandaskenandore) | 72 comments Beverly wrote: "I don't know that I would choose to go back to a prior time. Life was hard and challenging. If I could just visit briefly, perhaps. Reading historical fiction gives us a chance to visit a period wi..."

That's a great a point. The nurse in me says I'd go back only if I'd gotten all my vaccinations and could carry a bottle of antibiotics with me. And you're right, that's the beauty of fiction. We can visit a long past era without sacrificing clean water and flush toilets. :-)


message 6: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Heigelmann (cjheigelmann) Thanks for the reminder, I try and drop in with questions ready!


message 7: by Mary (new)

Mary | 33 comments I think I’d visit the past as a bird on a branch, or fly on the wall (a long-lived fly:). I’m not sure I’d want to live as a woman in the conditions I write and read about.


message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Skenandore (amandaskenandore) | 72 comments Mary wrote: "I think I’d visit the past as a bird on a branch, or fly on the wall (a long-lived fly:). I’m not sure I’d want to live as a woman in the conditions I write and read about."

It's true. That'd be a far better way to see the past. Women and so many other groups had so little power and were often mistreated. Makes me appreciate how far we've come.


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