Round Robin — Time Periods
This month for Round Robin we are discussing what time periods our muses prefer. Do they prefer past, present, or future? Are there problems and/or advantages of that choice? And whether we’d like to change?
My muse isn’t picky with time periods. She likes them all–although I haven’t written any in the future yet. (Shhh… don’t tell her.) I do write contemporary romance, but she loves historical pieces. (I have an idea for 12th century France as well as one for Viking…) But not just any historical period. No. She’s fascinated with ones that have very little information available, that require a lot of digging and creative research to get that kind of information. Matter of fact, the harder time periods are to research, the more excited she is.
No, I’m not kidding.
Although I’m currently writing a contemporary romance, so the research is less intense, it’s still set in Tahiti. My honeymoon inspired this location (that and, someday, I want to stay in one of those over the water bungalows). My muse glommed onto the location and said, “Perfect for a hot romance.”
Of course, she’s right, but the research… If only I could travel there because, really, I need more firsthand experience. (grin) That being said, my most recent release is set in the early 60s. Not in the States or Britain or even Europe. Noooo…. that would be too easy. Instead, it’s–(fanfare here)
Argentina in the early 60s
On October 6th, I released a short story (wolf shifter) I wrote for a charity anthology titled Some Place to Belong: Book 1 of Children of the Wild. As you may have guessed from the header of this section, it’s set in Argentina in the early 60s. At the time of writing (some 8 plus years ago), finding information about Argentina during that time wasn’t particularly easy. As luck would have it, my neighbors hail from there. As my muse set much of the story in the jungle, the fact that he’s a horticulturalist who studied there helped a great deal. He read it and let me know what to fix, etc. In that case, I lucked out.
The story began in Nazi Germany with medical experimentation. This required a bit of research as well, but not as much. When did in vitro fertilization become something we could do? (Yes, combining species like this probably wouldn’t work without splicing genes, but I’m writing fiction, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nazi tried this.) Where was I most likely to find Hitler and Mengele?
Two different time periods in the same book. Neither truly related.
Why Argentina? Well, the Nazis fled Europe after WWII to South America. Many of them ended up in Argentina. At one point, Mengele also lived in Argentina. These were facts I knew before my muse latched onto this story, pulled all of this together, and said, “Now you must research because you’re going to write this.” Mwahahaha! (Muses can be very demanding.)
(If you would like to read this story, you can buy it at the following distributors for 99 cents: Amazon, iTunes, or Kobo.)
You would think that contemporary would be easier, but it only sometimes. It depends on multiple things. How well you know the setting, how well you know their job, etc. With Tahitian Nights, my current WIP, I was familiar with Tahiti because I’d visited it. So, describing the water and Bora Bora isn’t that difficult. Describing the culture, how the law works, etc. that’s where it becomes tricky.
And research of any kind, for all of the time periods, sucks time. Truly. All authors know the giant blackhole that calls itself Google. If Google doesn’t satisfy (it does happen), then another blackhole beckons: the library. All those lovely books… Many of them not necessarily what I’m looking for either but just as enticing.
For me, whether it’s contemporary or historical, I have yet to write a book that doesn’t require some research. I imagine most of my fellow authors will say the same.
Well, wolves are very interesting people, aren’t they?
Yes, I think research is at the heart of all good writing. Of course, few of us have the luxury of an expert next door!
They are very interesting, Bob. They have their own “society” that work differently from wolf species to wolf species. I didn’t know that fact until I started researching for another WIP that has Tibetan wolf shifters in it.
Yeah, that was sheer luck. Most of the time, my muse picks hard to research places. LOL She likes the challenge, I guess.
My historical was set in 751-754 in France, so I know what you mean about finding resources and information! It seemed like I would write two paragraphs and then have to go research something. Hopefully, the sequels will be easier.
How lucky to find your resource in a neighbor!
Enjoyed your post.
That would be tricky, Rhobin. I have an idea for one set in France c. 1150. As it has to do with jewelry making as well, it will be very research intensive. Hence, why it’s still not written. LOL
Yes, that was very lucky.
I love your muse (don’t tell her about the future!) They will take you on adventures for sure!
She takes me on a lot of adventures, Heidi. Some of them kicking and screaming. LOL
Argentina! How interesting. I love foreign settings. Apparently some readers do not. You are very gutsy to write about periods where information is scarce. Your breadth of periods is amazing. Thanks for sharing.
I don’t know about gutsy so much as given no choice, Judy. LOL I don’t know why readers wouldn’t want to read about faraway lands. How exciting it is to travel and explore new places, if only in your mind.
You are so right, but for sure you cannot set a kids book in a foreign setting. Apparently kids don’t like to read about foreign lands as much as we do. My friend who writes children’s book told me this. For picture books, it’s a different story. Oh well, the rules change everyday.
That’s interesting. Wild Child Publishing published a few children’s books that were set in different countries. The kids really seemed to enjoy them. One was in Italy, another in Greece. Both were through a dog’s POV.
I love books written in animals’ points of view. There’s a mystery series about Chet the Dog and his master Bernie that I love. Written by Peter Abrahams under a pen name. Lots of good mysteries with cats’ POVs, too.
Sometimes, agents and editors say one thing, like “no one is buying road trip books,” and the next thing you know, road trip books are the latest thing. Futile to chase the market.
Even if I wanted to chase the market, my muse would let me. She’s totally opinionated and stubborn. LOL
Wow! Your muse is an exacting task master! I have to agree those bungalows over the water would be a great setting for a hot romance ( or steamy hot.) I lived for two years in the South Pacific and it was definitely a romantic setting in spite of the pigs and dogs and chickens that ran free everywhere.
She is, Skye. And how wonderful to live in the South Pacific. I’m jealous. I think I’d be quite happy some place like that.
Hi Marci, I spent 3 days in Argentina two years ago. So much of it is very beautiful indeed. I agree about the Muses – they can be very demanding and insistent. anne
Thanks for stopping by, Anne.
I’ve never been there. From what I understand from my neighbors, it is pretty dangerous, but I would imagine it’s beautiful.
I agree with you, Marci, all writing involves some research. Most of the time I find it easier to do contemporary research.
And your muse sounds like a lot of fun – and it sounds like she likes research.
She loves research. Some of the stuff I research is mind boggling. LOL I’m currently trying to describe the inside of a Mongolian yurt. It’s a challenge to say the least.