Friday, December 3, 2010

Study Time with Guest Blogger Dominique Eastwick

Win a copy of Hunting JC and meet author Dominique Eastwick today at the Book Boost.

Here's what she had to say...

Don’t Forget the Research

So I read a book about a year ago and although it was a fun read and well written, but I kept being pulled out of the story by blatant historical errors. Now I am not talking about something small like putting a women in a bustle ten years too soon. That isn’t going to pull me out of story, nor anyone else for that matter. But when an item and its historical relevance is repeatedly referred to, we (the authors) had better get it right.

If my story revolves around a ball point pen I need to make sure my hero isn’t one of the three musketeers who has it (I know that’s far fetched but you get my point).

Keep in mind I might not remember much about the the book I read but I do remember the blatant historical errors. Not the impression the author meant to make.

So here are some questions you need to ask about the items you are using…

1. Had the item been invented yet? Was the item around when the Great great grand relation was supposed to have had it in their position. If Great great granny has willed you her precious wristwatch and Napoleon is still in power you have a problem. The wrist watch wasn’t invented until 1868.

2. Finance and situation. Would they have had the means to have it and hold on to it. If your characters survived the potato famine in Ireland they are unlikely to have held on to a strand of pearls for sentimental reasons if the family is starving to death. And if they did hold on to it the author needs to explain why.

3. Religion of your characters. For religious reason would they have had it at all. Some religions don’t allow the collection of material items.

4. Location. Was it found in the region that its supposed to be in. If not have you thought about how you as a writer got it to where it is now. Did a crusader bring it back from the Holy Land?

5. Substitution Is there an item that would work just as well that fits the time period. A golden quill pen for my musketeer instead of the ballpoint pen.

(Note: For obvious reasons if you are writing Steampunk many of these don’t fit your genre.)

So we as writers must be as diligent in our research as we are in our editing. Many people won’t care, won’t notice or simply don’t give a damn about history. But many of us out there do notice and do care. Far better to double check your items twice then forever be told by readers that you had your facts wrong.

On that same note remember to research your previous novel before writing the sequel, fans always remember when someone had brown eyes that are suddenly blue.

Did I mention I love research, I love to hunt down facts and find out information. Before settling down and having children I was a costume designer in the theatre, and I got my fill of research.

I would love to hear about some of the Historical mistakes you have come across, either in movies or while reading that stand out even now. The person who comes up with the best mistake will win a copy of Hunting JC (see contest details below).

A Note from the Book Boost: This is fascinating stuff, Dominique. I admit to loathing to read a book with a ton of editorial blunders. That being said...this is why I admire quality historical author so much. It is tough to get everything right. Those who do it well make all the difference. Please tell us more about your book.


"What J.C. wants, J.C. gets and what she wants is Hunter, no matter what."

Hunter Brooks came from nothing and now has it all, except for a family. Orphaned at a young age the one thing he has always wanted, family, continues to elude him.

Jacinda Sherman has spent too much of her time letting everyone tell her what she can and cannot have. That includes Hunter. Now she's grown up and what J.C. wants J.C. gets. She wants Hunter anyway she can have him. This time, Hunter won't be leaving without J.C. getting what she desires.

Can Hunter pay J.C.'s price and still come out on top? Or will their love be torn apart by a hidden foe determined to destroy them both.


As Hunter cleared the doorframe, he was attacked, not by a mugger or drunken man, but he was attacked by her, J.C. Her hand twined through his hair and brought his mouth down to hers. Her lips moved under his, begging him to open to her, begging him to give her a try. She took his hand and placed them on her full breast. Her nipples immediately pearled in his hand. His mind screamed to stop this now, but his body didn’t seem to be listening. From the moment her soft, full lips touched his, he was putty in her hand. He knew his only hope of survival was that she had not yet become aware of it.

"J.C..." he moaned into her mouth as he said unconvincingly, "We can’t do this."

"Shh," she hushed, pressing her breasts further into his hands. "Just feel me, let me feel you."

"Jacinda, will you listen to me?"

"Not if your words have anything to do with, this isn’t right. Or Jacinda, this can’t happen between us."

"Exactly, that is..."

"Shh," Jacinda pressed her fingers against his lips. He felt the electrical vibrations that were humming through her fingertips into his lips. "Please let me do this for you. I want to taste you."

Five words were his undoing. I want to taste you

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Contest Time:

Comment with an example of the best mistake you've found in a book and you could win a copy of Hunting JC. Winners posted monthly in the Recent Winners box on the right hand column of the blog. Check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize.


PoCoKat said...

I usually just find spelling mistakes in books or words that they obviously used Spell Check on but didn't check.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Dominique Eastwick said...


I have to admit myself to having fallen into that, I mispelled Slopes as sloops. I can not tell you the amounts of times I read thae passage and still had it wrong.. Thanks for taken the time to comment :)

Maeve Greyson said...

Excellent points about being accurate, Dominique! You are so right about that lovely journey into fantasy land coming to a screeching halt when a blatant "What the?" jumps off the page.

Dominique Eastwick said...

Maeve Thanks for stopping by lady :)

Tami Winbush said...

This mistake was not in a published book thank God, but page 60 was word for word the same as page 1 - WTF

*yadkny* said...

Hi Dominique!
I love the cover to Hunting JC:)
Awesome excerpt!

I've never been very good at history, so I probably wouldn't recognize a historical mistake in a book or at least not right off the bat. I would be the one to probably believe it's true and then tell all my friends:) I appreciate those authors that go the extra miles to make their work accurate.

Faith Bicknell said...

This is something I've taught at Avoid Writers Hell. I gave an example of a zipper in a dress during medieval times. Yes, I did read a book like that many years ago, but I can't recall the author or title now.

The one I recall most recently was a book I was editing and it involved a two-way mirror during the 1700s, I believe it was. From records I found, the first two-way mirror was created and patented in the early 1900s.

Dominique Eastwick said...

@Tami I can only imagine what that would have been like as the author to see a page 1 on page 60 yikers,

@ Yadkny Thank you so much I was thilled when I got my cover :)

@Faith the zipper would have sent me writing a letter to the editor and the author LOL...and thats an easy thing to know about. The two way Mirror, I think I would have done some research too.

Thanks everyone for stopping by I will post who won the copy of Hunting JC this evening.

Margie Church said...

I am scared to death to do this kind of writing. I have my mom's biography to write and most of it takes place from1929 to the early 1950's. I've been stuck on page 40 forever because I'm not sure how many liberties I can take with the story. Suggestions?

Dominique Eastwick said...

Margie I would be more then happy to help you with the research :) And be a beta reader for you. just let me know what I can help with. said...

I couldn't agree more on research. I write historical romance, westerns and scifi. I love to do research and while I do take liberties every once in a while with clothing that wasn't really in fashion yet, but fit better in my story than without it, I always make sure that my main historical facts are accurate. I always research more than just the times things were invented and whether or not it will fit. I research the entire area that I am working with. London England 1850, for example, What businesses were there, what buildings were of note, what did people do for pasttimes. I always like to add in a note or two about things like that. They walked past White's or Tattersall's. I know that alot of my readers won't know what those were or care to take the time to find out, but for the ones who are as interested in the history as they are in the story I want to make it real. I want them lost in the place and time, and that way they can become lost in the story. I have found that writing scifi takes almost as much research. Aliens, planets and how they work and why. I love to do research of all kinds. One of my newest WIP is about a woman who is paralyzed from the hips down from a carriage accident. In researching what was done for those injuries and how someone could get around I found alot of interesting facts. I had no idea that wheelchairs had been around for as long as they had, the first evidence was in the 6th century and the they had progressed to motorized wheelchairs by 1916 when the first one was manufactured in London.

Dominique Eastwick said...

Dawn I think we should sit down and chat sometime about Research I think the two of us have alot in common, and yes I bet SCI fi has even more research involved.

Thanks for stopping and reading the Blog

Dominique Eastwick said...

And Drum roll the winner is.... YADKNY... I will contact you at the email adress provided in the next few days :)

cynfulcharm said...

Good post Dominique. Research can be a pain in the ass but it is prerequisite especially if you're doing a historical.

On a side note, when you're given the ARC of your manuscript back to check over after the editor has made their changes make sure you do a thorough job. You never know what can slip through the cracks.