My debut novel, Gypsy Spirits, was set in 1967. The slang, language, trends, popular vs. unpopular items such as cars and clothing used during that time wasn’t difficult to describe since I graduated from high school that year.
The sequel novel, Annamarie and Magdalena, also took place in the next few years. Fortunately, my youngest child was approximately the same age as my main character’s child. I was also able to utilize memory to write.
The third book in the trilogy will be titled, “Lena,” which is Magdalena’s nick-name. There will be a time jump of approximately fourteen years which is also helpful because my daughter was the same age at that time. Piece of cake, right? So far so good, but there will also be sections when Lena travels back in time to stop her father’s spirit from wreaking havoc on her ancestors. Now things become harder.
Research. I have to admit internet research beats spending hours in the library, after school, on a Friday night with a half-dozen books scattered on the table. It is faster and easier although no cute boys to flirt with.
Which brings me to the real topic of this post: realism. Since I haven’t decided how far back Lena must travel I have all of history to choose from, but the details have to be right. I have read books and perhaps you have, too which didn’t sound real. Maybe you know enough about that period in time to know there are errors. Don’t assume that since it was hundreds of years ago someone doesn’t know that period of time in detail. Although we call it fiction, we can only go so far.
If you are going to make up wild details to sell a book or jazz up a scene you should write a fantasy book. I might try one at some point to see how wild my mind can be when I let it go. My granddaughter made a very good point when we were discussing the third book. She told me to do detailed research and be absolutely sure my details are accurate. “Just because it is fiction, grandma, don’t assume everyone will believe it.” She’s right. Someone could call us on it and we could see the dreaded 1 star review for inaccuracy. No one wants that. Do the research. I am beginning mine and find it interesting. I hope you do, too.