Today, I’m excited to have Amy Carol Reeves, author of the Ripper trilogy, visit to give advice on navigating the waters of writing historical fiction. Take it away Amy!
While working on the Ripper series, a young adult paranormal mystery series about the Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian London, I learned so much about writing historical fiction. I thought after my many years as a graduate student that the research would be a breeze. After all, I was used to spending much of my time in the dusty bowels of libraries, rare book collections, interlibrary loan departments.
But researching for a novel is much broader and more extensive than researching for a scholarly paper where the scope is always smaller. For instance, rather than researching something very specific, like gender roles in Wuthering Heights, suddenly, I had to find in one sitting, information about carriages, food, pistols, poisons, and hospitals in Victorian London.