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Monday, January 20, 2014

Researching Time Periods by Ilona Fridl


Please welcome my guest today, Ilona Fridl. Ilona is having computer problems but please feel free to leave a comment and she'll check in as soon as possible

It seems like the further back in time, the harder it is to find facts about the time periods and you can use some fictional license, but you can't do something like having Attila the Hun overrunning Australia. Anything that stretches credibility doesn't belong in historic fiction. You could probably get away with it in fantasy or science fiction, but not if you want to be historically accurate.

Archeology books and information is a good way of getting stories of early time periods. Jean Auel in her “Earth Children” series is a good example. Where there is no written history, the archeologists know where the civilizations were centered, even in the Ice Age.

The Bible is a great source on the Middle East history. You can get an idea of where the centers of trade and government were located. That combined with archeology information can give an picture of what life was like. Couple that with the vast works of the Greek and Roman Empire, that age is rich with history.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire and into the Dark Ages, the information gets sketchy. Here's the time we have a mix of truth and legend. Truth like the Crusades and legends like King Arthur and Robin Hood. It's perfectly acceptable to use the mythic legends if you stay true to the time period. Otherwise, you're getting into fantasy.

From the Renaissance and on we have a wealth of knowledge. Much of the writings and art give us an accurate picture of what was going on, especially in Europe and Asia. With the world exploration, more was being found out by chroniclers and map makers that traveled with the explorers.

About the middle of the nineteenth century, photography came into play. Now you didn't have the stylized paintings of the past, but images that showed the gritty reality. That evolved into motion pictures in the late 1800's and recordings of music and speeches about the same time. Media such as newspapers, magazines, and books are a wealth of information taking us up to World War II.

Each country has their own particular time line. If your story is centered on one country in the past, there are many books and internet sites dealing with the history of one country or region.

For Prime Catch I did a lot of study for 1920's Juneau, Alaska. I enjoy finding out about different parts of the world in different time periods. I guess that's why I love historical fiction.

I want to thank Brenda for inviting me to guest today. I'll try to comment if you have any questions.

Blurb: Someone is killing executives in a string of Alaskan canneries. Is it natives because their food supply is being cut short? Or is there another reason, another culprit? With racial tension running high, Juneau 's Sheriff Amos Darcy, a man of few words, is going to find out who it is, come hell or high water.Deputy Sarah Lakat, a Tlingit woman, knows her job, but she wants to prove her people aren't responsible for these vicious crimes. Her family and childhood friends give her access to clues the white sheriff would never have discovered, though, and she has to realize justice must be served no matter who the murderers are.Amos is married to his work and Sarah was badly hurt by a man in her past, yet as they work together in the investigation they grow close, facing danger and discrimination together. Can they solve the case even as they fight their attraction to each other?

Ilona's Web site


  1. I'm a historical junkie, Ilona! When I started researching my series, I spent days pouring over books, internet, libraries and even talking to experts. If I didn't love writing, I would have been a history professor, or perhaps out on a dig somewhere....Wishing you all the best!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Mary. Ilona is still having computer problems. You two must share love of research!

  3. Hi Ilona,
    Hope things are going well with you.
    Great post. Being a historical author myself, I know how important historical accuracy is. I love doing my research nearly as much as I like writing my stories.