Behind Every Good Historical Fiction is Tons of Research

What a crazy few weeks it's been! Each new phase of publication has been both labor intensive and uniquely rewarding. Now that Brokenly is being read by you, my seriously amazing readers, I'm getting all kinds of feedback and I could not be more interested in what everyone is saying.

One of the questions I keep getting is about the era and location of my book - France in the late 1870s. First off - no - I am no expert in French history. I'm an autodidact with obsessive compulsions to learn everything I can about a subject that interests me, and now I want to highlight a few of the online resources I enjoyed the most when writing my book because there are truly passionate people behind these blogs who care for history as much as I do.

There were many areas of my book where I did weeks into months of research - topics such as living without electricity, the history of French military action throughout North Africa, colonialism in India, the Napoleonic Code, and even things that can seem as trivial as how fast and far a horse can ride in a given time period, or the actual time of the sunset in early autumn of 1875. All of these things you won't find in the blogs below. Those were grinding hours of tediously won findings that were essential to make my setting believable, but what I'm going to share with you are my favorite parts of history: the random, the weird, and the little hidden gems that would be all but forgotten had an historian, or someone who cares deeply for history, not documented and shared their findings. In the acknowledgements section of my book I give due thanks to this set, because without them we would be a people without a story, and my favorite story is the one that history tells.

Without further adieu, below you'll find a few links to blogs full of interesting, bizarre, or just really awesome facts. Hope you enjoy!

Messy Nessy Chic - The random, the hidden, and the totally interesting from France & elsewhere can all be found here.
Victorian Paris - Seriously, I love this blog, and have learned some pretty crazy and crazy interesting things from it.
Party like it's 1660 - This one is earlier than my books setting, but is an insanely good blog about French history and culture. I mean, 400 year old guidelines to beauty standards telling you to put deadly nightshade in your eyes? That's just nuts.

writer or author - or neither?

Hey everyone, first post - how nerve wracking! I'm so afraid I'll mispel something.

Good. Now that that's out of the way I figured I'd use this blog to introduce myself since no one really reads those 'about me' pages anyway. My name is Lauren and Brokenly Live On is my debut novel.

It's a funny thing, having authored a book when you've always considered yourself just a writer without any ambition to do much more than use words as an outlet for all those feels you never wanted to share with anyone else. Then you find yourself in a failing relationship and that outlet becomes your obsession. Before long you've created characters, they become meaningful to you, and - eventually - they start talking to you.

It's odd, you hear them when you lay your head down at night, causing scenes that build upon those twenty thousand words you initially abandoned. Soon you start having conversations with them, get to know them better, and realize you need to do them justice with a proper ending. Regardless of what you think you are and what you're capable of, you set out anyway just following those voices.

At some point during the long nights of feverish typing, the hours that stretch into months of slash and burn editing, the endless amount of research necessary to write a period novel, you turn into what you didn't set out to be, an author. Though to be honest, throughout the process that was writing Brokenly Live On, I never felt like less of a writer who knew less about the craft in my life. (Anyone who tells you writing your first novel isn't daunting has amnesia, seek medical help). It's a humbling experience working together various plot lines, cutting the many facets of different personalities to (hopefully) ensure they have depth and an inner glow that shines true, and finally being the one to decide how it all comes to a close. (I suppose that is the key difference between one who writes and those who author books.)

If I had to think about it though, I would consider myself more a storyteller, and that's what drove me on. I wanted to tell this story, no matter how many reincarnations the manuscript needed to take (which was very many), no matter how many years it took because of all the life that kept absorbing all my writing time, and no matter the feeling of - who else will really care about this but me? - because sometimes when you're a closet writer who accidentally turns into an author who is actually just a storyteller, you see it through for yourself and hope others find enjoyment in what you've created.

So that's the story of how this story was written, and I hope you'll enjoy it if you choose to turn through the pages. I'll be back to write more on here as I find things to say (which, for me, isn't hard), and please do leave comments or ask any questions. If you feel so inclined, be sure to join my mailing list where I'll be releasing my short stories and other news about this book.