I've always loved history. I'm not quite sure when my fascination began, but the stories I read as a young adult were more often than not set in England, France, and early America. I loved reading about the French Revolution, the American Civil War and the American Revolution, and Georgian and Regency England.
It wasn't until the last five years or so that I've really started to focus on World War II and the 1940s. I've written one novel set in that time period and my current WIP is also set in the 1940s. But my trip to England in October reawakened my love of that earlier history - the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian Eras. Maybe it was the gorgeous country homes of Chatsworth and Blenheim, or the quaint old churches, or the cobblestone streets. Whatever it was, that passion is now back with a vengeance.
I've recently re-discovered The Victorian Trading Company. Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about treasures! If I had the money, I'd buy all their reproduction antique furniture and turn my home into a stylish and romantic house. Instead, I bought a few Christmas gifts from them as well as one or two little gifts for myself. :-)
But of course, all this reawakening has had an effect on my writer's brain, and I've got niggling little ideas of novels set in the American Revolution or in Georgian England or even Victorian London. Yet I am still in love with the 1940s time period and have so, so many ideas for books set during World War II.
The problem? Research. I am a stickler for it. I feel like I really need to fully understand the time period I'm writing about in order to accurately portray it - as should all writers. But when the eras are so vastly different, I wonder if I'll be able to downshift from one to the other. And all of that research takes time. Lots and lots of it.
One of my very favorite authors is Rosalind Laker. Reading her historical novels began my love affair with history, and her books were always set in different time periods: Napoleonic France, Norway in World War II, Elizabethan England, and even 18th century Venice. I've just got to wonder, though, how did she do it? How did she keep all those facts straight in her head? How did she decide when she had enough research? How did she have time to do the research and the writing? (And since she's still writing, how does she continue to do it?)
Part of me is incredibly frustrated when I think about it all. There are so many stories and time periods that I want to dive into. But there is only so much time in the day - and it's not nearly enough to accomplish all that I want! That's a major reason why I booted the t.v. to the curb. I do not miss it at all. (Ok, ok, I missed it a little Tuesday when I was at home sick, but I read and finished Anita Shreve's Resistance instead.)
So! The solution? I'm not sure. And don't even get me started on the whole "branding" issue...if I write a World War II novel first, then an American Revolution novel second, will that completely destroy my fan base? Sigh. Too many things to think about.
Wise bloggers, what advice do ye have for my troubled mind?