Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
On her first voyage as a stewardess aboard the Empress of Ireland, Ellie is drawn to the solitary fire stoker who stands by the ship’s rail late at night, often writing in a journal.
Jim. Ellie finds it hard to think of his name now. After their wonderful time in Quebec City, that awful night happened. The screams, the bodies, the frigid waters … she tries hard to tell herself that he survived, but it’s hard to believe when so many didn’t. So when Wyatt Steele, journalist at The New York Times asks her for her story, Ellie refuses. But when he shows her Jim’s journal, she jumps at the chance to be able to read it herself, to find some trace of the man she had fallen in love with, or perhaps a clue to what happened to him. There’s only one catch: she will have to tell her story to Steele and he’ll “pay” her by giving her the journal, one page at a time.
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I'll have a review of Unspeakable coming up on the blog, but for today I'm thrilled to present a guest post from Caroline. I asked Caroline about her historical research, and here's what she had to say...
What are some of the challenges and rewards of writing historical fiction? Do you have a preferred research strategy?
The reward of writing historical is the sense of digging up a time long forgotten and polishing it so others can enjoy it, too. It’s kind of like archaeology and a bit like detective work. I find it so fascinating and exciting. Sometimes the facts are hard to unearth and I have to keep at it until I feel I know enough to infer or imagine the rest. The challenge for me is knowing when enough is enough. I can get a bit obsessed with the details. :)
I usually start with kids’ non-fiction books, actually. They give me a quick overview of the subject area before I start really getting in it. I review as many novels/movies as I can that are also set in the period to help me get a feel for the time. Then the real work begins. I usually spend about six months to a year researching before I feel confident enough to create that time and place in my story. I keep LOTS of notes because I can’t remember things. Every novel I’ve done has a huge binder of research and sometimes, like with UNSPEAKABLE, I make a visual board: http://www.carolinepignat.com/unspeakable-research.html
Everyone, be sure to check out these tour stops which have already been posted: