I'm super excited to introduce Ms. Valentina Cano, who wrote an awesome guest post on historical fiction! :) Check it out below!
Historical Fiction: How Does One Start?
by Valentina Cano
It’s all in the details. This is the one very important thing I learned while writing The Rose Master. Yes, we know people in Victorian England drove around in coaches and carriages, but what kind? Did they have two horses or four?
These were the types of questions I asked myself as I wrote the novel. As someone who has loved England’s Victorian period, I knew that I wanted it as my setting for The Rose Master. I knew the basics, like an outline in chalk, but I needed to fill in all the details that make historical novels so wonderful to read. You want to be immersed in this other era, to wholly place yourself in these drawing rooms and foyers, so the author has the large task of bringing these rooms to glittering life.
In The Rose Master, since the protagonist is a parlor maid, a lot of my research went to maids’ everyday lives. I researched how early they got up, when they had their breakfast, how they treated their masters and mistresses and how they treated one another. There was so much to learn about the way they cleaned silver and wooden floors. Even how they made toast, because it’s not as if they had toasters laying around. All of these elements were vital to bringing the Victorian lifestyle to the page.
I started by gathering everything I knew from all the previous Victorian novels I’d read, especially those that had maids or governesses as protagonists. Then I moved on to actual research, buying books on Victorian cleaning methods and other esoteric topics. If someone had looked at my shopping cart in Ebay, they would have been very confused.
It was a fascinating few weeks of reading. Although it was time-consuming and I was itching to get started on the novel, I knew that the more research I did, the more prepared I would be to write.
A historical novel depends on all of the details that make days complex. Just think of the countless little things we do every day, and then try to imagine how they would be done two centuries ago. This is the kind of work that a historical novel needs, but it is also what makes it such a rewarding adventure to write and to read.
Thank you so much to Ms. Cano for stopping by! :)
Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.
*Thank you so much to the author and Reuts Publications for allowing me to participate in this blog tour! :) *