Digging up Bones - Research Fun

By Ciara Gold 

So, what prompts an author to write historicals?  Is it their love of research? Is it a secret desire to live vicariously in the past? Perhaps it’s as simple as wanting to connect to their roots.  Regardless, research is one of the key elements in a finely crafted historical romance.

For me, it issn’t so much the research that provides a “turn on” but the unearthing of “bones,” those little known facts that provide food for thought. Research isn’t my favorite cup of tea. I like it, don’t mind doing it, but good research is time-consuming and takes away from writing time. My reward for digging up facts is finding tidbits of information that I can work into a scene with effortless prose. I hate reading a story and having the action stop so the author can “enlighten” me with endless facts that while pertinent, really had no bearing on the success of the story. The truly remarkable authors are able to sprinkle these facts into the storyline without interrupting the flow.

I have a new romance coming out in August. I loved working on this book because the possibilities were endless.  On the Silver Edge of Time isn’t just a time travel. The book also includes fantasy.  Coming in AugustFor the premise to work, I had to research a lot about Vikings. Along the way, I discovered fun facts.  For example, I found a reference to toothpaste and how these ancient travelers kept their teeth clean with a mixture of finely ground cuddle fish bones and mint leaves. I leaned that the term “corn” referred to grain in general and did not pertain to the corn we eat in America. Contrary to popular belief, not all funerals involved setting a ship afloat and lighting it afire. In some cases, the Viking was buried in a hole big enough to house his yacht and precious possessions. In my bid to make this the best book I could possibly craft, I read several Viking romances written by others. While doing so helped me get into the right frame of mind, I knew that I couldn’t rely on others to provide the world-building facts I desired. Many beginning authors make the mistake of basing their story on the research provided in similar genre books. Bad move. What if that author’s research is inaccurate? Or even worse, the use of these facts limits your story to only these facts.

Ciara Gold, author of best selling Celestial Dragon, writes science fiction futuristic and historical western romances for Champagne Books.

12 Responses to Digging up Bones – Research Fun

  1. Carol L.

    I just now saw this post and have to say it was very interesting. I enjoyed reading about them. I love reading about Vikings, time travel and fantasy. In August I’ll look forard to reading your book.
    Carol L.

  2. Guestauthor

    Thanks big time Pam! It was a fun book to write and Erik is a hero that has stayed with me even after writing – the end.

    Rayka, you’re the second to suggest writing a book of fun historical facts. Hmm, it does make one ponder a bit.

  3. Rayka Mennen

    Hi Ciara,
    Do you keep a record of these fun facts you discover? Might make a great book one day. Fish bones? ugh!
    Yes, but I too love the research part…when I get the information I want.

  4. Pam S

    What a wonderful post Ciara!

    Your book looks so awesome. It is definitely going on my to get list.

    It sounds like you really put a lot into your works and did your homework. I like historicals, fantasy, time travel etc. I think it really shows when you research the time periods during your writing process. The book usually seems to come together so much better.

  5. Guestauthor

    Oh no, I go off on tangents too. I wish I didn’t. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the research for me or my story. I think any writer will understand what I mean by that comment. Too often, I start researching something that leads me to something entirely different and a great new idea for another story. This is both good and bad. When writing one story, it’s so hard to become distracted by these wonderful new ideas.

  6. Angelica Hart and Zi

    First, I must comment on that book cover. Anything with a castle has my immediate attention. Of course, the hero is a draw but as weird as this may sound, it’s the eyes that are just so hypnotic. As for research, I’m one of those weird ones that love it. However, my problem is I don’t know when to stop. I go off on one rabbit trail after another and then suddenly the day is gone and no a bit of writing has been accomplished. I think, Ciara, that you have found just the right combo. Good for you.

  7. Guestauthor

    Too fun and so glad to see so many of us on the same page. I love research to a point, but I get so frustrated when the research I find doesn’t fit with the storyline I want to write. Or when, like Allison says, it takes away from writing. Some research is a lot easier to wade through than other research. And don’t you hate it when you discover contradictory information? Which book do you believe? Which facts are more valid? Or – since it is fiction, can we use creative license and juggle things a bit?

    Phyllis, this hunky man looks just like my brother. That took me aback when I first saw it, but then hey, it’s kinda fun thinking of your brother as hero material.

    Martha, I love time travels too. I don’t know why it took so long to write one. I’m always hunting for time travels to read.

    Thanks bunches Kimber for the comments. They mean a lot coming from such a talented author.

    Allison, wow, I just learned something new from you too. I knew about the glass but not about the white washed walls. Too fun!

    Too funny, Candace. Not sure his wife would approve. A Viking History book, eh? I’ll squeeze that in between my next sci-fi futuristic and teaching summer school. Yep, it could work.

  8. Candace Morehouse

    Hmm, Ciara, if that cover hunk looks like your brother I need an invitation to your family reunion!
    Personally, I love doing research. It helps me get involved in the time and place and let’s me pretend I am there.
    Love your little historical tidbits. If nothing else, you can always write a book about the era, as some other historical authors do. Why let all that great research go to waste?

  9. Allison Knight

    I love the research I have to do to write a book. Unfortunately, Ciara is so right. I get so involved in the research, I don’t have the time to write. Oh, but you find out the most amazing things. I love the idea that castles in the middle ages had glass in the windows. and the inside walls were whitewashed and decorated to the hilt. Not the austere buildings some authors would have you believe. And, I Love your cover. Wow! He’s gorious.

  10. Kimber Chin

    Love, love, love viking romances and love, love, love Ciara Gold books so On The Silver Edge Of Time looks right down my alley! Can’t wait!

  11. MarthaE

    Sounds like you definitely did your homework! I love historicals and time travel. It is always a pllus to learn real facts with a good story! I’ll check out your book!! Thanks. MarthaE

  12. Phyllis Campbell

    Hey, Ciara! Those are some interesting facts you discovered in your research. I enjoy research because it’s extremely fun to learn new stuff. lol Your cover looks great. You know how I am about HUNKY men. (grins)


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