My first Chatelaine post!! :-)
Ok, so my biggest challenge with this blog so far has been to figure out how to spell it. Chatalanes? Chatelines? Oh, yeah – Chatelaines!!!!!
Thank God and Microsoft for spell check.
So this is about history. The title "Chatelanei" – (oops! sorry!) – Chatelaines, and the cute banner a the top of the blog, sort of implies medieval history, but we're not limiting ourselves to any one time period. As far as I’m concerned, history can be anything up to…three seconds ago. Prehistoric history, ancient history, medieval, renaissance, American history, family history, the story of my life, what I had for dinner last night—it’s all relevant.
Confession time: History was NOT my favorite subject in school.
In fact, I hated history class. I mean hated, hated, HATED it. To me, history class was one long litany of dates to be memorized, with an emphasis on boring dead presidents and mind-numbing war tactics. Not one teacher I had ever talked about what the regular people were doing.
And then I discovered romance novels.
And I can tell you that I’ve learned WAY more history reading romance novels than I ever learned in school. And some of it was about wars, by the way. Culloden? British Civil War? Peninsular Wars? The Siege of Fort Pitt? Never heard of any of them until I read about them in romance novels. So guess what?
Romance novels are WAY more educational than history books!!!!
Because what’s most interesting about history is not what’s happening on the big world stage, but what’s on the small, intimate stages of people’s lives. And that’s exactly where a romance takes you.
As a historical writer, I research the big stuff—so I can imagine what the little people were dealing with. And then I’m confronted with what the regular history books leave out--the everyday details of people's lives. So I have to dig deeper into the historical record that the school history textbooks often ignore.
What did people wear, eat, brush their teeth with? How did they light their candles before matches were invented? What did their houses look like? How did they cook, mend, make a living? What everyday tools did they use? Weapons? What about entertainment? And let's not forget birth control! And then there's the emotional aspect. How did women and men think and feel at certain times in history? Same as now, or different? What did they believe that we don't? And how does it all affect my particular characters and story?
The questions go on and on and on…and I love them!
When people find out I write historical novels, they often ask - "But...doesn't that mean you have to do a lot of research first?" They often utter this in the same tone as they'd say "But...doesn't that mean you have to get a lot of root canals first?"
But other historical authors and readers understand:
Once you get hooked, history is a *very* interesting place to live.
All the best!