Introducing Kellyn Roth and her newest book,
First, let me just say … thank you so much to Esther for sharing about my book on your blog! It’s a huge help, and I’m so excited to get to talk to your followers.
Second, hello to Esther’s readers! I’m Kellyn Roth, author of the Victorian historical series, The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy … and the series I’m publishing this summer, Kees & Colliers. The first book in this series is Souls Astray (which came out Saturday the 4th of this month), and I’m so excited that I get to share it with you!
Today I’m going to talk about the research I did to write Souls Astray, the novel this blog tour is spotlighting, as well as the research I did for the rest of the books in the Kees & Colliers series.
Now, when you’re a historical fiction author, obviously the things you’re writing about aren’t something you’re familiar with. Because, well, I’m not a hundred years old … I didn’t live during the 1920s, 1930s, or 1940s, where these books are primarily set.
So I spent a lot of time researching! The main things I had to research for Souls Astray were about WWI. I’d never really done research into World War One before, so it was definitely exciting. I read several books written and set during the era, and that helped a lot. I also read up on the military and where people were when!
But there were also minor things. Spanish flu? I can tell you everything about it—from epidemics to contagion to symptoms. How did property laws work? What about wills? What was the school system like for middle class Londoners? What about in the south of France?
And of course … what did people wear? How did they talk? Would they have used that word?
Then I had to research things that apply to all eras, like PTSD (as well as the historical thoughts and beliefs on that) and stages of grief and signs of domestic abuse.
It got complicated.
Since Souls Astray covers 1917-1932, I had to know about the 1920s and the early 1930s, too. How laws shift, how people change, and all the little details.
It sounds more overwhelming than it is, though! I knew a lot about the 1920s and ‘30s from earlier projects—and I was able to find a lot of it through the internet (multiple sources, of course) and books I read. I really enjoyed it!
I wasn’t all perfectly researched before I started writing, either. Halfway through November, when I was writing this novel, I realized … what do I know about the Spanish flu? Pretty much nothing!
So I dived into research. It was a grim day. I’m glad I did, even though it was kind of depressing (and some of it rather disgusting!). Reality is important—and I didn’t want to just say, “She doesn’t feel well.” I wanted to know exactly what was going on.
Reality is important in historical fiction stories. You don’t want to have a character pull out their iPhone and text their bestie before hopping into their subaru to drive to McDonald’s. That just wouldn’t fly.
Well, that’s about all I have to say for now! Thanks so much for reading this post, and have an amazing day!