blog historical fiction research

Nerd Alert! Hi, my name is Janis and I’m a sucker for researching interesting tidbits to add to my historical fiction work in progress (WIP). In fact, I enjoy it so much, I can get lost for hours if I allow myself into the rabbit hole of research.

This past week I revisited Part I of my second draft to develop and plug in a new chapter I felt was needed based on feedback from my first beta readers. As I searched through my folder of reference materials, I pulled out the 1897 covers from Harper’s Bazar which I reference in my first chapter. They felt like old friends whom I first met nearly two years ago when I set out on this journey of Eliza’s story. The June issue on the right is a vast improvement over the May issue on the left. I wonder if there were reader outcries from the May issue demanding a more pleasing cover design – Dear Sir, can you please find us a delightful, pleasing woman in a fashionable dress for your June issue?. Your May issue was dreadfully uninspiring. Who would put cats on the cover of our favorite periodical?

Another admission of my nerd status – while others have monthly box subscriptions for snacks or razors or cosmetics or magazine subscriptions, I value my subscription to Seriously, when you find a headline which reads, Love-Crazed Italian Used Pistol, Stiletto, Torch and Blazing Oil, how can you not get drawn in and want to use the story of Antonio Tucci and Teresa Timboni from Philadelphia’s tenements in your story? All the news you need for a penny.

If you’re looking for some kicks, comment below on a date from the turn of the century era – late 1890s / early 1900s and a favorite city, and I’ll post the headline from the local paper. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find the inspiration for my next book from those headlines.

#amwriting     #amediting     #writinglife     #historicalfiction      #amresearching

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2 thoughts on “Research Fun

  1. This reminds me of the NYTimes book I got my dad of the newspaper on his birth date. It was very cool to read through.

    December 31, 1899 in Salem, MA. Wonder if there was any hysteria about the turn of the century like y2k, haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a cool gift! No Salem newspapers in my archive service, but The Boston Sunday Globe (12/31/99 was a Sunday) had this headline on the front page – driven by the predominance of a Catholic population in Boston: ” Midnight Mass Marks the Approaching End of Century. Tonight Crowds Will Fill the Catholic Churches.” Given Catholics tend toward rituals and superstitions, it’s not surprising special midnight masses were planned. I explore the influence of the Catholic church in Boston within Eliza’s story, too.


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