Saturday, July 30, 2011

Odd Research

Book two has taken me down a very odd path in the way of research thanks to Philippe's character. I'll give you a slight spoiler over where I've taken him on a short trip--Antigua in the British West Indies.

As usual, if you're going to write about a subject in historical fiction, you need to research the background to make it authentic. I hate making things up, so I dive into the Internet or purchase books, as I did for my first volume. When I was in grade school, I hated history. Now that I am a writer, I enjoy taking the deep dive into period times.

Why Antigua you ask? Well, the picture to the left is that of a sugar plantation in Antigua in the West Indies in 1823 by William Clark, which he made while a resident on the island. I will confess that I had to get Philippe out of the picture for a while to move the story in the direction of Robert and Suzette. Since Philippe was in the shipping business, I've played off the fact that due to a business deal, he needed to travel to the West Indies to procure an important account that would save his sinking company.

How he gets there and who sent him, I'll leave for you to read. However, I also tied into the story the sad fact that slave trading was a practice by the British in the 1700's. Great Britain abolished the slave trade in 1808, and all existing slaves were emancipated in 1834. Prior to that time, however, the treatment of slaves on sugar plantations was appalling to say the least. There is no romance in the ill treatment of humans by fellow beings.

Also, book two has really caused me to dig into the character of Philippe and flesh out who this man truly is. Though he married Suzette and unconditionally accepted Robert's son as his own, I'm finding that he's pretty much an empty shell in my mind. I've been diligently working on his character, as well as Jacquelyn, who is Robert's wife. How they move through book two in their relationships with Suzette and Robert will be a huge focus. Remember, I have marriages to split, conflict to create, hearts to break, and hearts to weave back together. I'm finding this book to be a huge challenge and not as easy as I first thought, but I am thoroughly enjoying the adventure of writing it.

So much for my odd research as I continue to write book two. I'm 60 percent toward my goal of 80,000 words, but I have a sneaking suspicion the book may go a bit longer. That's it for now! I am off to write Chapter 17.

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