I love research. It is one of my favorite aspects of being an author. Learning about foreign lands, historical events and various cultural traditions always excites me. Recently, my research has taken me to diverse places and some of it was exotic while others were a bit creepy. Today I want to share a few of these research jaunts with you so you can have a glimpse into some of the things I am working on currently.
If you haven’t heard our exciting news, Vivien Jackson and I have contracted another sweet Regency for Ellora Cave’s Cotillion Christmas series. This story was a challenge to write mainly because our hero was not your typical British aristocrat. No, indeed not. He hails from India. So, you can imagine my excitement at hunting down information to include in the story. Some of those aspects were extremely intriguing and sometimes I found myself lost in the early 1800’s far away in Bengal. One of the distracting research jaunts I took while gathering details for A Christmas Scheme took me to Regency era India.
Fort William Kolkata:
There are many interesting locations in Fort William. Also, the history of the British colonization there is extensive. Here is a glimpse of places, events and people that I researched for A Christmas Scheme:
- Richard Wellesley
- William Carey
- Fort William College
- Saint Peter’s Church
- Fourth Anglo-Mysore war
On top of our Hero’s native land we found ourselves knee deep in snow during a cold winter at an English country estate. Vivien and I mused many different aspects of this Christmas setting and that came with a Google image search so that we could imagine the way the estate looked, the various entry points and an important building that plays a role in our romantic couple’s interactions. There were fascinating links about architecture including gables and eaves, gates and latches, corridors and libraries that enthralled me.
What to wear in winter!
And, don’t get me started on fashion for men or women, British or Bengali…I’ll spend way too much time finding every last detail from stitches to cloth because I want our story to be accurate to the Regency period. I will say that I really enjoyed learning the cultural words for Bengali clothing. I think I spent an entire day on Google Books trying to find the correct word for trousers in Bengali. If you want to know, check out A Christmas Scheme when it comes out in November 2014!
(Thank you Stefan Salvatore for that fangtastic segue.)
It is always fun to switch from the Regency to my vampires. The Kan Asma Vampires series has a race of people who have extensive histories. This allows me the opportunity to research a plethora of things. In my current WIP, Gunnar is not of the typical Turkish decent that the majority of Kan Asma people come from. He is half-Viking and I had fun looking up the history of trade and shipping routes, language and customs as well as names from Scandanavia. But, the aspects of the Kan Asma culture that I really enjoy researching are always those from the Abkhazian rites and traditions. Though I don’t hold to these rites completely, my Kan Asma vampires have roots with this culture and they’ve adapted many of the ceremonies to fit their own rituals. Recently I looked up a few things that will be included in Gunnar’s story.
- Birth traditions, wedding ceremonies, death rituals all tied into the Kan Asma mating rites and the Goblet Ceremony
- Metal work and weaponry
- Food glorious food…
Oh, and after a very long time trying to figure out an integral scene I finally found what I was looking for and it turned out to be something I never expected.
(Yes, I did spare you the icky disgusting real photos because they make me cringe!)
Well, there you have it. Can you imagine living inside my brain on research? It is full of random things like Bengali pants and creepy worm-type creatures that suck blood.
Now, I am sure there is something else I am supposed to be researching today.
Oh yeah, The Viper Room! Google here I come.
Have a great week everyone.