Historical Fictionistas discussion

Goodreads Author Zone > Do you own antiques or artifacts that appear in your books?

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message 1: by Mark (last edited May 08, 2015 01:20AM) (new)

Mark | 17 comments Hi, I thought it would be interesting if any other authors refer to an artifact in their book which they actually own. Perhaps even an item they have seen in a museum.

I have a Sultan Salim rebellion silver rupee from around 1600 which actually makes an appearance in by book.

message 2: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 298 comments You've written on Mughal India? I'm in.
Unfortunately I don't own any items from 13th century Mongolia. Nor am likely to. Glad to have found your book, though; I've been reading nonfic on Mughal India lately.

message 3: by Mark (new)

Mark | 17 comments Hi, yes it is fiction but set around real historical events in Mughal North India mainly from 1594 - 1602. (Though there is quite a bit of wild speculation to fill in what I see as gaps and inconsistencies in official histories of the times.)

message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom Williams | 113 comments I own several of the kris featured in The White Rajah: The Williamson Papers The White Rajah The Williamson Papers by Tom Williams , including an example of the swords carried by the sea dyaks. http://thewhiterajah.blogspot.co.uk/2...

message 5: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 298 comments I'll be interested to see what you do with Akbar and Jahangir.
Don't worry, I do the same with a 13th century history.

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | -18 comments No artifacts from Bronze Age Greece, as I think that would cause problems as these antiquities are mostly restricted. But I bought a cookbook (The Philosopher's Kitchen) so that I could approximate the food.

message 7: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Hart (pamelahart) | 34 comments The telegrams my main character gets in The Soldier's Wife are the same as the ones my grandfather's family was sent in WWI and I have those.

message 8: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 165 comments Sure. Of course, it was a fully functioning replica of a black powder Colt, but I used it to model a scene. Several ancestor's photos my dad collected factor and are used to base character descriptions. Though I cut them, posing for these photos were in the book. And I've gotten the original pension request for the widow of my Confederate veteran great-great-grandaddy which will go into the sequel. I didn't know until researching that the US gov't honored Confederate pensions after the war.

message 9: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Gardiner (kellygardiner) | -4 comments What a good question. I find artefacts to be important aids to imagination - or at least, that's my excuse for buying stuff.
I'm writing about the First World War at present, and my desk is dotted with items such as my great-grandfather's medal ribbon strip, some small trench art pieces, and a 1914 Christmas tin. I do have a bayonet found on the Somme but it's safely behind glass.
It's not usually so easy to come by contemporary items, though. I *wish* I owned a 17th century small sword like those used in the duels in Goddess but they are a bit beyond my range.
I do, however have a French artillery sword of the kind used in the battles that raged over Malta during the Napoleonic invasion and resistance. I wrote about that time in my first kids' books, Ocean Without End, and then decided I had to find myself at least some kind of sword from that era.
When I'm writing swordfighting scenes, I always get up, grab a sword (usually my old foil) and act it all out step-by-step, so I know it's right. And possible.
Also it's fun.
Coins and medals, like that beautiful rupee posted by Mark, are so evocative.
Thanks for starting this thread. It's really interesting to read about the family telegrams and the other items people have.

message 10: by Mark (new)

Mark | 17 comments Yes, items that have been carried by people through wars are very evocative. I remember seeing a collection of old swords and weapons in a palace museum in India. All sort of horrible looking things like knives that seemed to open up like scissors and the infamous Bagh Naka (tiger claw). I asked the guide whether or not they had actually been used and he assured me that they had been.

message 11: by Steelwhisper (last edited May 10, 2015 10:37PM) (new)

Steelwhisper | 135 comments Yes. I own antique items of daily use for all my protagonists.

message 12: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Gabridge | 29 comments I don't have any Civil War artifacts (I have a novel about Robert Smalls coming out next month), but last year I wrote a musical about Boston publisher and philanthropist, Daniel Sharp Ford, and was able to get some original copies of Youth's Companion (an influential newspaper that he published in the 19th Century). Those were extremely helpful to get a chance to live with them a bit. And it was fun to be able to bring them to rehearsal and show the cast.

message 13: by Maggie (last edited May 12, 2015 09:39AM) (new)

Maggie Anton | 219 comments I own two of the Babylonian Incantation Bowls of the type that play such an important role in my two historical novels set in 4th-century Babylonia, Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery and Enchantress: A Novel of Rav Hisda's Daughter. I bought them at an antiquities shop in Old Jaffa in Israel and am inspired to know that they were created by actual Jewish sorceresses 1500 years ago - women who were respected professionals.
Apprentice A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery (Rav Hisda's Daughter, #1) by Maggie Anton Enchantress A Novel of Rav Hisda's Daughter by Maggie Anton

Maggie Anton

message 14: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Anton | 219 comments Mark wrote: "Hi, I thought it would be interesting if any other authors refer to an artifact in their book which they actually own. Perhaps even an item they have seen in a museum. I have a Sultan Salim rebell..."

Mark, how did you get the picture into your Goodreads post?

message 15: by Mark (last edited May 12, 2015 05:28PM) (new)

Mark | 17 comments Hi Maggie. I would love to see those bowls. There is an instruction in the help somewhere. I will post send a link when I get back to a computer. I'm using my phone now. You basically need to put them on another web site then include an html link in your post.

The Help article is here:


message 16: by Naomi (new)

Naomi Williams (naomijwilliams) What a cool question! My first book, Landfalls: A Novel, was inspired by an 18th-century map I own that's from the expedition that's the subject of the book. But that's not like an actual *relic* or something. I'm now working on my second book, about an early 20th-century Japanese poet who traveled from Japan to Europe in 1912, and a friend of mine found, bought, and gave me an actual souvenir postcard from an ocean liner that comes out in the story. I look at it every day while I work. I wonder if writers of historical fiction have more of these sorts of objects, or if all writers, regardless of genre, end up with meaningful items of this sort.

message 17: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (surfcrashrepeat) SO many! I wrote about 1870s Paris and in that is the Art Nouveau movement. I collect antiques, clothing, and especially art from that period.

message 18: by Elinor (last edited Aug 22, 2017 06:17AM) (new)

Elinor Yes! My new novel Wildwood is about a young woman who inherits an abandoned farmhouse filled with the original furnishings. I own plenty of the items she found inside including a treadle sewing machine, a coal oil lamp, a Hudson Bay blanket . . . it was great fun to describe them.

message 19: by K.M. (new)

K.M. Pohlkamp | 28 comments Yes! I based the attire my poison assassin wears to meet her first peer client on my favorite renn faire garb :) A red embroidered over skirt and a black velvet bodice.

message 20: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 17 comments Great thread! I wish I had thought of it for my books, ha.

message 21: by Nicky (new)

Nicky Moxey | 9 comments An entire Priory :D I found it whilst doing some archaeology, then had to research what I'd found; the guy who built it looked really interesting...

message 22: by J.P. (last edited Nov 01, 2017 07:31AM) (new)

J.P. Robinson | 4 comments TwicebornNo! I'd love to but I don't really have anything in my house that fits my genre so far. This is a great question though and one that inspires me to scrounge around my house as I draft my 3rd novel, BloodTies.

I can say that I incorporate elements of my family into my stories. Does that count? :)

message 23: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 11 comments What a fun thread! None that I own, but I use many paintings and artifacts I've seen in museums in my books. It gives me a great reason to take art-related research trips ;)

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