April 17, 2012

Larry talks about ... researching a historical fiction novel

My new YA book, "The Priest and The Peaches," officially launched January 1st and it has been categorized as "historical fiction" because it takes place in the mid-1960s. Now, one might ask, what was it like doing research for the book? Well, first of all, it was not the 1860s, it was the mid-1960s. So, the answer is, it was quite easy to do. Why? Because I grew up in the 1950s and 60s and the majority of the information I needed was right inside my head. The downside to having so much information readily available was that it made me blurt out, "Oh my God, that makes you a historical figure!" Talk about suddenly feeling your age. Not to worry, since I am resilient it only took me a couple of hours to get over that.

Honestly though, the streets, the stores, the behaviors, and things like that are vivid memories for me even today. Of course, there were things that I did have to research; For example, the Tridentine Mass (the Latin Mass of the catholic church) was replaced by the Novus Ordo (new order) Mass by the Second Vatican Council that took place during the 1960's. The Novus Ordo Mass put things in the "vernacular" meaning, for us here, English. For other areas of the world the local languages were to be used; Spanish, French, German, etc. But that was not implemented until 1969 so I did have to research to make sure the small amount of Latin I used in parts of the book's dialogue was correct. Also, the clothing and hairdos of the period are still quite vivid to me but I could not remember what they were called. That had to be researched and that is how "Bee-hive's" and "Bottom Flips" and "Shaggy Cuts" were found and also the old "Empire " dresses and "Dollie" dresses to name a few.

One thing is for sure. With the world-wide web and its gaggle of Google, information on most any topic known to humankind is available with the click of a mouse. I guess I am lucky. Since I am a historical person I have over 60 years of "stuff" inside my own true PC, my brain. The problem is, sometimes I have trouble downloading the information I need and have to use my mouse to fetch it.