Whenever I put together a history-related blog post, it’s not something I’m writing off the top of my head even if the material springs from research I’ve been doing for the past nine years. I need to double-check everything to make sure that I have my facts straight. Sometimes I’m writing about something that is only tangential to the novel I’m working on, so I have to research it in as much depth for the blog post as I would if I were going to include it in my book. It usually takes several days, so I do not commit to such a blog post lightly. I am absolutely certain that I am not alone in this. If you’ve read history-related posts on any of the historical sites on the internet, you are probably seeing the results of a great deal of hard work. The website English Historical Fiction Authors a website to which many wonderful historical novelists contribute, is an excellent example.
Sometimes, as in the piece I posted on this site last December about Anglo-Saxon Art, the research material is right on my bookshelf.
Other times I have to go further afield for information. The essay titled Mapping England that appeared on the EHFA website in January, for example, demanded a couple of trips to UC Berkeley to pore over their map collection using books I couldn’t possibly afford to have on my shelf.
Once I’ve gathered all the necessary information it has to be distilled and combined into a thoughtful (I hope) essay that is not so terribly long that readers will give up half-way through. I try to keep my posts under 1000 words, preferably closer to 600. (This one is almost 400 words.)
And that brings me to a 4-part series of historical posts that I’ve written for the EHFA website that will appear there on Sept. 7, 8, 9, & 10. The series is about medieval Britain’s 4 royal roads. If I’d combined their fascinating histories into a single blog post it would have been so long that a reader’s eyes would cross. Therefore, at my request, author and web-mistress Debra Brown has given me permission to spread my posts over those 4 days. So, starting this Sunday and continuing through Wednesday, I will be, essentially, hijacking the EHFA website. I will post a link on this page, and I hope that you will come along for the 4-day ride.