My idea of heaven

MotW Print copyToday I was reminded again why I love being a writer.

First off, in the last couple of days, Mistress of the Wind has climbed from #6 on the iTunes Sci-fi / Fantasy Breakout Books list to #2, as of the last time I checked. I get a little nervous each time I check, will it or won’t it be higher or lower. It’s been higher each time, and if I reach #1 (hey, I’m only one away! :)) there’ll definitely be a woohoo coming from my house.

Then, this afternoon I got two parcels in the post. The first, a box of books – in fact, my author copies of Mistress of the Wind. I can’t tell you how excited I was, because they just look so beautiful.

INLHG amex tour guideI also got a parcel containing two pieces of what we in the historical research business call primary sources – two travel catalogues for tours of Europe in the summer of 1927, printed in 1927. Yes, that would make them nearly 90 years old.

I’m writing a book set in 1927, and in it, my hero and heroine go from New York to Switzerland, by ocean liner and then by car through Europe. I wanted to know how long it took to get from place to place by car, where they would be likely to stay, what the sights were in those days that people were interested in seeing and how much things cost.

These two slim volumes have that information for me. I’ve peeked inside both and I am really so glad I ordered these books. And so grateful that I found them online. Thank goodness for the internet and online purchasing. I just can’t imagine how I’d have had access to these catalogues before the internet came along. Or it would have taken me months and a lot of time I could have better spent writing the actual book to track them down from secondhand bookstores.

INLHG ocean linerI love the pictures in these books as much as the information. The styles of dress, the tourist shots without any modern buildings in them, of a Europe still recovering from the First World War. Literally priceless for a historical fiction author like me who is a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to getting the facts right.

And this kind of thing just boosts my enthusiasm for what I’m writing and sends me back to my computer all fired up and eager to get on with the story.

As readers, do you care if an author goes to a lot of trouble to get all the little facts right? I have to say here, as a reader myself, I’m less concerned about factual accuracy in other people’s books than I am in my own. I just have a deep-seated need to be accurate, but I’m much more forgiving of other people’s books, as long as I’m enjoying the story.

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction for Gallery Books. Her debut novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, released in August, 2011, is set in the court of Henry VIII. It features the real historical figures of illuminator and painter, Susanna Horenbout, and Henry's Keeper of the Palace of Westminster and Yeoman of the King's Robes, John Parker. A second book, also featuring Susanna and Parker, THE KEEPER OF THE KING'S SECRETS, was published on April 3rd, 2012. THE EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY, a historical novel set in London during the Napoleonic Wars, is set for a November 27th, 2012 release.
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8 Responses to My idea of heaven

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    Michelle, congrats on the success of MOTW! The print book looks awesome, too!

    The books look so much fun. And I do love it when little details make me feel that it’s authentic. If the details feel wrong then I’m pulled out of the book. But like you, I don’t let it ruin the story. Plus, I think we’ve gotten so immune to errors by watching TV shows where we know so much of the details are wrong – especially on the police shows.

  2. Amy R. says:

    Hi Michelle – That is a tough question. I am not one to fiddle over facts myself, but there is something about learning that an author went to the trouble to make things as accurate as possible. However, if I never know if the author has told me something that is fact or fiction, it doesn’t bother me either. As long as it isn’t obvious and does not disrupt the flow of the story. Congrats on the success of Mistress of the Wind!

  3. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Michelle,
    I’d have bought the books just because! They look gorgeous and what fun reading! So excited for you on your book. That’s great news!

  4. marilynbrant says:

    Michelle,
    The print copy of Mistress of the Wind looks gorgeous, and I *love* that 1927 European tour book — wow!! It’s something I know I’d really enjoy paging through as well… What fun research!! Can’t wait to read the story that results from it :).
    marilynbrant`s last blog was …All I Ever Wanted ~ Out Now for 99 Cents!!

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