Getting It Right

          The joys of research? Are you serious? Who would pore over old documents, cruise the Internet (to Wikipedia and beyond!) and buy historical accounts and diaries? Me.

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          Writing an historical novel makes you acutely aware that you could make a terrible blunder or give the wrong impression of real events. In my novels about Columbus' voyages of discovery, I studied various rosters of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and picked out two actual names: Luis de Torres, translator, and Juan Sanchez, physician. Around these two people I built the Torres family and constructed their history. This was the basis of my first novel, "Far From a Pleasant Land.”  It included the scene when Columbus convinced Ferdinand and Isabella to fund his voyage.  That meeting ocurred in the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, most likely in the Hall of the Ambassadors which is inside the tower pictured on the right. Our travels in Spain have helped me visualize the historical events into which I have placed my fictional heroine, Sara Elena de Torres.

           It wasn't until later while I did more research for the second book, I discovered Luis de Torres was well-known down through the centuries. He was the first Jewish person to step foot in the New World and also the first Jewish person to - - - (well I can’t tell you that yet… you have to find out what happened in the book.) Sorry. There are plaques in actual places declaring this, and even a synagogue, I think. I learned this as I was putting the finishing touches on my second book, "Toward a Dark Horizon." Wow! That was close. I double-checked the scenes I had written.

           But what if you want to flesh out the drama of your story? Make it more suspenseful? That's where the fun come in. And I have enjoyed the writing more this time around. Imagining things that might have happened in between the lines of those dusty old documents. And I might even bend the truth sometime. I'm tempted.

          Stay tuned.

© Beryl Carpenter 2013 - 2020