Historical Fiction How-To by One of the Genre's Experts

Historical Fiction How-To by One of the Genre's Experts

The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction by James Alexander Thom

I can remember reading Follow the River in high school -- a novel by James Alexander Thom about a woman who was kidnapped by Indians, and memorized the path they took her on so that she could escape and find her way home again.  It was one of the first serious historical fiction novels that I had read, and I devoured it.

Writing historical fiction has been an interest of mine ever since, so when I was browsing books by Thom on my Nook the other day, I was quite interested to come across this book: The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction.

Doing research -- good research -- for historical fiction requires more than just Googling your subject, or (heaven forbid) checking Wikipedia.  But if you haven't done the research before, it can pretty overwhelming trying to figure out how to get the information you need.  This book has a lot of information on how to use the various resources available to us.

Ultimately, don't forget that we have a fantastic resource available to us now that wasn't around in the early days of Thom's career: the Internet, of course.  For example, the other day I was looking for information about 1920s Chicago for a novel I am working on, and found an extremely helpful archive of scanned historical maps of the city.  With the Internet, virtually anyone can research these things, and from just about anywhere, too.

What about you?  Have you ever taken an interest in a subject, and set out to learn more about it?  What resources, either online or offline, did you find to be useful?