One of the most time consuming aspects of writing any book, fiction or non-fiction, is the research. But fiction doesn’t require less research than non-fiction, as many think, it just requires a different kind of research.
I write Romance fiction that always has an historical element. I guess this comes from being a Historian. I love to imagine how people lived in other times. So I get to take imaginary journeys back in time with my characters, whether in my straight Historical Romances like Lionslayer’s Woman or in my time travel books where my Retrievers are in and out of different times and places, Retrieving people for their sterile, future world.
I guess I make work for myself by covering so many different periods. Most Historical Fiction writers focus on one time period so they get to use and reuse the same research. I did a bit of this with my Roman books, as Liquid Fire and Barbarian’s Mistress both have the destruction of Pompeii as pivotal events in their story lines, and all three (including Lionslayer’s Woman) have at least some time allocated to Rome itself.
The last two set in the Roman Empire required a lot of travelling, and I was very lucky that between the writing of Liquid Fire and Barbarian’s Mistress Stanford University had launched its on-line Orbis Project, which has an interactive map of the Roman Empire and allows you to plot journeys around the empire by different means and at different times of the year. It is a mammoth piece of work and it’s pure genius. And it made my research so much easier.
I did research for those books a little like I’d research a holiday. I knew vaguely where I want to go, geographically, but wasn’t sure what sites were the best to see. So I Googled interesting places and found out what they were like in the first century CE (that’s Common Era for those who still think of it as AD). When I found somewhere interesting, just like when planning a holiday, I’d collect as much info about it as possible and then work out my itinerary from there. How am I going to get there? How long will I stay? All the nitty gritties that make travelling a logistic nightmare at times.
So Orbis makes a lot of that planning easier. I can work out how long it’s going to take my people to get from one end of the empire to the other. I can work out how one group might get waylaid while another moved more quickly ahead. And when I’m plotting a journey, I might take side-trips to explore the territory, as Cyra and Leonis do when they’re chasing after the bad guy who has kidnapped little Gali. They get to explore the first mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and visit a wonderful temple on the sanctuary of Delos.
Even though my books use the historical period largely as setting or ‘wall paper’ to the main action, that setting has to be as historically accurate as I can make it. I like to consider the setting as every bit as important as character, and helping my reader truly feel as if they have time travelled to the past is my aim. Even people who aren’t particularly into Romance have told me that I do this well.
So, if you write, make sure you do your research so your reader benefits. Misinformation is dangerous, so try to avoid giving it, even accidently.
A mother and child kidnapped at Imperial command!
Only they can save them…
An Imperial Purge leaves a stoic philosopher dead and his wife and youngest child kidnapped. Galeria, the teacher’s elder daughter and Cyra , her Parthian slave girl, are the only ones who can save them. But their task seems impossible until two men arrive to aid their search.
Nexus once saved his mistress from Vesuvius. But since the death of his lover, he is only half the man he was. Sent to save the family from the emperor’s wrath, he never expected to find love and a reason to live again. But, from the first moment he meets Galeria and agrees to help her, his life has meaning again. And he will do anything to find her mother and keep his new love safe from the fiend who wants her for himself.
Decaneus the Dacian warrior, renamed Leonis after he slew a lion in the Colosseum, has no goal but regaining his freedom. That is, until he meets Cyra. Then her goals become his, as they set out to rescue the child that she loves most in all the world.
Across the Aegean, from Rhodes to Ephesus and Antioch, the couples pit themselves against the might of an emperor, a devious fiend and treacherous slavers, as they race to rescue a mother and daughter from their terrible fate.
What readers say about Nhys Glover’s Roman Historical Romances:
“This is a very good romantic adventure with well-developed characters that held my interest until early into the morning” Lorijay
“I LOVED this book (note the shouty caps). This is a beautifully written novel with strong engaging lead and secondary characters and a gripping story line that kept me in suspense right until the end.” Ereviewer
“Interesting story line full of adventure and romance. Can’t wait for more books by this author. I never thought that the Roman empire was so depraved.” Eda