by Maxine Davis
I love historical romances. I do want to write one set in the Old West, but I don’t know much more than I’ve seenin reruns of old Westerns. Would I call it a petticoat or a crinoline? Is a corset hooked or laced? I do know you mount a horse from the left side—thank you very much, Bonanza. They had canned peaches at the store—this, from Rawhide, but starting when? Were most guns a 45? I don’t think so.
I have been to fabulous historical-information workshops. M&M had some of the very best! I still want to attend some more of them. Of course, I realize I still have to do research. Lots of research. I have some great writer-friends that I plan to ask about where and how to start.
It’s not as if I have not done research. I have. I have a book primarily set in Italy. The hero is Italy’s “Olive Oil King” and has hills and
hills of olive trees. I researched olive trees and olive oil. Geez, I now know more about olive trees than I ever thought I wanted to know. But it all came in handy. When writing, I could see the trees in my mind, I knew where the nets were placed and how. I knew you wanted the first press of oil and could almost taste it. I think of these things every time I look at a bottle of olive oil.
But there is nothing like going there to see things first hand, and my trip to Italy helped. I came back and had to edit
my book. It felt good having more authentic information. Now for a trip back to the Old West…
How do you feel about research? Do you have the plot set in your mind and fill in the gaps with research? Or does the research suggest the plot?