I’m thrilled today to welcome writing partners Nancy Fraser and Patti Shenberger to my blog today as a stop on their blog tour for their latest release, Gambling on Love.
The Challenges of Writing Historical Language and Period Accuracy
The biggest challenge in writing language for a particular historical time period is obviously accuracy. And, while it would be easy to rely on other novels from same genre, trusting the authorâ€™s expertise is a like copying your homework from the cute boy across the aisle. Are you sure heâ€™s got the right answers? What if he didnâ€™t study any more than you did?
There are a number of ways to double check accuracy when it comes to the last few centuries. While online resources, e.g., Wikipedia, are only as good as the information put in, they can be helpful in a number of other ways, especially if you go directly to the cited reference rather than relying on their interpretation. Never assume, just because it appears in the Oxford dictionary and was deemed a word in 1779, that it was actually used in Regency England in 1805.
Blogs devoted to specific time periods are often well-researched and the information included handed down through generations. One of the best Regency-era blogs is: http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/social-customs-and-the-regency-world/ which includes everything from social customs, to language, to dress, to daily living activities.
Researching language for an historical set in North America can also be a challenge depending on the setting. Language in 1860s Boston is not going to be the same as 1860s Nevada Territory. Fortunately, thereâ€™s been a great influx of archived newspaper articles made available to assist with language questions. And, as with the Regency era, there are a huge number of websites and blogs devoted to historical accuracy and information. One of our favorites is: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-slang-c.html. This site is devoted to mid-western and western slang and phrasing and … in many instances … is downright hilarious! In addition to the language information, there are also clothing styles, art, as well as vintage photos. Itâ€™s treasure-trove of information if youâ€™re working on a western historical.
While doing research for our mid-western historical, Gambling on Love, set in 1867 Mississippi, we wanted to go back to post Civil-War (1858-1864) and one of the best online resources we found was the following site: http://members.wabash.net/~northclay/ncjhs/textbooks/AmericanJourney/PDF/docs/chap13.pdf.
The farther back you go in your setting, the more difficult it will become to find online resources such as those listed above. However, as writers, we definitely know the value of reference book. Are we going to question a phrase from the Viking period? Not likely, and especially not if it doesnâ€™t take away from our enjoyment of the book.
The last obstacle is the perception of the words you do choose. We had a reader recently say, she liked our book but was put off by our use of the word â€œteatâ€ instead of breast or nipple and that teats applied to animals, not people. Back in 1867, the word most often used in both conversation and written word was teat. We were able to verify this when we found a pamphlet of written instructions for the new mother which explained how to attach the newborn to the motherâ€™s … you guessed it … teat! So, we can only apologize if we offend anyone, but as writers, weâ€™ll go for accuracy any day!
Book description:Felicity Beaumont is a rich man’s willful daughter with a heart of gold who wants more than anything to free her father’s illegally indentured workers.
When she devises a plan to move them north with the help of Jake McCade, owner of the gambling boat known as the River Maiden, she finds she’s run afoul of not only her father but of the man she’s duped into helping her.
As her plan begins to unravel, she and Jake are forced into a marriage for the sake of propriety and soon discover the most important thing to them both is the life they’re now building together.
About the Authors:
Nancy Fraser has been writing since she was a child, most often on walls and with crayons or (heaven forbid) permanent marker. Since first becoming published in 1996, Nancy has received numerous five star reviews for her futuristic, time travel romance. She’s also published in short contemporary, historical romance and vintage historical romances set during the Golden Decade of Rock & Roll (1955-1964). When not writing fiction, Nancy likes to spend time with her grandchildren and is excitedly awaiting a new addition to her grand-family in July, 2013. Author Website: http://www.nancyfraser.ca/index.html Twitter: https://twitter.com/nfraserauthor Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/265536.Nancy_Fraser Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NancyFraserAuthor Blog: http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/
Patti Shenberger has been writing since she could put pen to paper. An active member ofÂ the Romance Writers of America, along with her local chapter, the Greater Detroit RWA, she currently serves as the Chapter President and the Booksellers Best Award contest chair. Patti lives in Michigan with her husband of over thirty years. She’s a mom to a grown daughter and son, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and her first grandchild is due in August. Rounding out the family are two fur babies, a cat and dog. When not writing, Patti can be found reading, traveling with her husband, or spending time with friends. Author Website: http://www.pattishenberger.com/
Nancy and Patti, thank you so much for visiting with me today. Since I’m also a historical romance author, I’m always looking for new research resources. I’ve already bookmarked these.
And now for the giveaway:
Name the Hotel!
As part of a tour-wide giveaway the authors are offering one lucky winner the chance to not only name the hotel which will appear in the second McCade Legacy novel, but will also have their name used as a character in the book as well! The winner will also receive a copy of Gambling on Love and a copy of the second book when it becomes available.