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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Spotlight: Kiki Howell


When Historical Writing Sneaks into Present Day and Other Research Mishaps

I don’t know about you, but when I immerse myself in something for months on end, it sort of sticks with me, takes up most of my thoughts. But when I am researching a historical period, or writing a book set in one, well, this can pose some issues when the time period sticks in your mind.

While writing, Torn Asunder, my Regency set novel, I found myself correcting myself when I spoke and deleting parts in emails when Regency cant would slip through. I mean no body refers to anyone as dicked in the nob anymore, uhm, we simply call them crazy! LOL That is what my family and friends were probably about to call me when certain dated phrases kept slipping into my speech!

I also became enamored with the beauty of the clothing of the period and tended to wear more dresses and lace than usual. Good thing I am not big into shopping, or I might have been in trouble with the Victorian Trading Co. catalog.

I used my research as an excuse to watch Pride & Prejudice again and again. Yes, feel sorry for my husband. Good thing we have more than one TV. I love the version with Keira Knightley. Not to mention the hours I invested into watching the PBS series, Regency House Party.

Of course, when writing history, especially fiction where the heroine gets the guy, a great guy who is a duke or earl nonetheless, it is easy to become disillusioned with the current times, thinking they had it better way back when. Truly I think each time has its good and bad points. I had to remind myself of this a few times though, especially when the news came on. And, Regency England was only potentially good for most of the Upper Ten Thousand. I am sure I would have been a maid or something, the hardest worked of all the servants! LOL

Yet, one of the best and the worst parts of being engrossed in the novel you are writing are those 3AM wake-up calls from your brain, the ones when you wake to find it writing a chapter for you or changing a scene. You have no choice but to stumble out of bed, through the chilled house to your computer. The mishaps here would be tripping over the dog who now thinks she has to go outside and be fed breakfast as well!

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