If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

How Not To Do Your Historical Research--Or Marry The Historian First by Anne Louise Bannon


Way back, when I first started my historical research for my novel Fascinating Rhythm, the project seemed fairly straightforward. The novel is set in 1924, so lots of pictures, movies, books, all from that period, all still fairly accessible, never mind that when I started the project, the Internet as we know it wasn’t up and running yet. Also, I’d just gotten a Master of Arts degree in theatre, with a minor in theatre history, so I knew how to do research.
But as I’ve since discovered, I could have done better. Researching an era for a novel is different that researching a historical period for an academic paper. But what I thought I could blow off turned out to be more important than I thought.
Being relatively fresh from my degree was great, in that I was able to take advantage of our university library and also called a history professor for some added pointers. I made lots of photocopies of newspapers – ads from the era gave me a very clear idea of what things cost and classifieds helped me figure out how much my heroine probably made a week. Magazines gave me a sense of the clothes of the era, but not much of the colors. Biographies and near histories, such as Frederick Lewis Allen’s Only Yesterday and Stanley Walker’s The Nightclub Era, helped give me a feel for the attitudes and issues.
I was so excited. I was getting the fun of the research without having to do footnotes or bibliographies.
And that was the first thing I did really wrong. I kept lousy notes and didn’t track my sources very well. I never wrote down the name of that professor who tipped me off to Only Yesterday. A trip to New York City, where the novel is set, led me to a book of floorplans of various buildings, but I didn’t copy the bibliographic info. Not only was I not able to give that nice professor due credit in my acknowledgements, I can’t go back to many of the sources I used to continue my research for the sequels.
And mostly, I wish I’d built a better relationship with reference librarians, historians and archivists. Fascinating Rhythm was written, I went on to marry Michael Holland, who now works as the archivist for the City of Los Angeles. He’s got mundane documents that open a window into a time or remind us just how little things have changed. For example, he’s got letters from Keystone Studios to the Board of Park Commissioners in which the studio complains that they’ve been banned from using Echo Park for filming because the studio had trashed it too many times while shooting some of the silent movies we know and love. And better yet, I called him just now to find out that was exactly what he had. Thanks to him, I have even more sources that will make it even easier to research orange growing in Southern California and other things for my third novel in this series, stuff that Google can’t find because it’s not on the Internet.
You have no idea how much easier these folks make research, even with the Internet. Having a historian in house is even better. You see, long after

Will it make a better novel? I don’t know yet. I do know that I’ve now got some bits of information that will help beef up the plot of Bring Into Bondage, the sequel to Fascinating Rhythm. And I’ve learned something else about doing research – you’re never done. But that’s fine with me. Even with taking notes and keeping better track of my sources, research for a novel is still a heck of a lot of fun.
Anne Louise Bannon is the author of Fascinating Rhythm. A journalist and blogger, her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Ladies’ Home Journal and in newspapers across the country. In addition to her novels, she writes the romantic fiction serial WhiteHouseRhapsody.com, and wine education blog OddBallGrape.com, with her husband, Michael Holland.

2 comments:

Shari Randall said...

Thank you for stopping by WWK. Your series sounds wonderful and I think you're right - the internet can't match the excitement of making discoveries in real, physical books, maps, and papers.

Gloria Alden said...


Welcome to WWK, Anne. I enjoy visiting historical homes and reading historical history, but I'll admit I don't want to go to all the work that's involved to write historical fiction. I think I'll enjoy your series.