Write what you know – Is a common phase that you hear when writers give advice. It’s a great place to start and it is definitely easier to write about subjects and places that are familiar to you.
For my first historical series, I had a lot to learn. The Gangster’s Woman is the second in a trilogy called Love is a Dangerous Thing. The stories cover three decades, the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1950. They can be read alone but are all connected by a gangster named Killian.
Little did I know when I started this series that I would have to do so much research to get everything historically correct. Usually people stick to one era, I had to do three. It was fun as the first two stories happened near where I live. I was able to actually walk through these historical places. The sound of one’s footsteps on the wood floors, the smell of the nearby trees, and of course, seeing the area first hand is especially helpful when getting a feel for your setting.
Then I had to decide what my characters would look like and wear. Pinterest is great for getting ideas and starting boards for clothing, shoes, and even undergarments for different time periods. If your 1920’s character takes off her clothes and is wearing a thong, your readers will know you did not do your homework. People were more modest as well. If your hero is hard at work out in a field, he would never be shirtless.
Even deciding what your character will eat can be a chore. It’s not like the people in your story can just thaw out a pizza when they get hungry either. I remember wanting to have my heroine bake an apple pie for the hero. Again, I had to research want type of apples had been native to the area and then take into consideration what time of year it was. Chances were if you were making a fruit pie in the early summer it had to be something that came from the garden, such as strawberries or rhubarb, or was canned the previous year.
My gangster stories have a criminal aspect to them as well. What may have been legal in one decade could been illegal in another. Prohibition anyone? I almost made the mistake of having one of my characters being read their Miranda rights after being arrested back in 1934. That wasn’t used until 1966.
Transportation, politics, and music are just a few more examples of things you really need to know when writing historical novels. The more details from the era the better to take your readers back in time.
So in short, writing a historical is a learning experience. You may not know much when you start but you will be very familiar with it when you end.
Ginger Ring is an eclectic, hat-loving Midwestern girl with a weakness for cheese, dark chocolate, and the Green Bay Packers. She loves reading, playing with her cats, watching great movies, and has a quirky sense of humor. Publishing a book has been a lifelong dream of hers and she is excited to share her romantic stories with you. Her heroines are classy, sassy and in search of love and adventure. When Ginger isn’t tracking down old gangster haunts or stopping at historical landmarks, you can find her on the backwaters of the Mississippi River fishing with her husband.
Now that prohibition was over, FBI agent Michael Flynn hoped to enjoy the quiet life and a chance to finally concentrate on finding his best friend’s sister. He’d been in love with her since he first laid eyes on her picture. Unfortunately, the more he searched the more he realized she wasn’t just missing. Eryn was hiding from one of the most notorious gangsters around. One who wouldn’t rest until he knew she was dead.
Eryn O’Malley had been moving around for years, doing whatever legal, or illegal job she could find to survive. No time for romance or a normal life. A one night stand with a handsome man at the county fair seemed like just the ticket to escape for a moment from her troubled life. However, finding out he was a G-man wasn’t part of the plan. Now he was on her trail. Whether to arrest or rescue her, she wasn’t sure, and she couldn’t wait around to find out. If he caught her, would he forgive her checkered past or would he always think of her as the gangster’s woman?
Buy a copy of ‘The Gangsters Woman’ at Amazon.