Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Writing and Research - Guest Post from Elizabeth Ludwig

So excited to have our guest, Elizabeth Ludwig posting on Coffee Cups and Camisoles today! Check out the bottom of our blog post for ways to win a copy of her latest novel!

I never realized when I started out writing historical romance that I would need to develop an archeologist’s skill when combing the internet. On top of crafting a good story, writing anything with historical significance requires a general knowledge and level of accuracy that readers of the genre have grown to expect.

My latest novel, Dark Road Home, for example, definitely required more research than anything I’ve published so far. Set in and around New York City with key scenes taking place on Ellis Island, I knew early on that I would need to conduct careful study on the more than twelve million immigrants who entered the United States through Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954. It wasn’t enough to know how they came, however. I wanted to figure out why, so beginning at the Ellis Island Foundation’s website, I began looking for letters, pictures, anything I could find that would give insight into the motivation behind so many peoples’ journey. This in turn led me to other sites, like Ancestory.com and the National Park Service website, which were full of information regarding not only the history of the island, but of the people who passed through on their way to a new life in America.

Along with filling the story with facts about our nation’s history, Dark Road Home is about an Irish girl running from her past and a man with dangerous political affiliations, so on top of all of the historical facts I could dig up about New York in 1897, I had to research Ireland and everything that was occurring during the same time period there. That meant learning what I could about the conflict in Ireland—its origins and history. Once again, I tackled the internet, beginning with a simple Google search on “why Ireland is divided”. This led me to a number of sites, including ibiblio.org and encyclopedia.com. Remember those research papers your English teacher made you do in high school and college? Researching my book was a lot like that!
While it would have been easy to pack all kinds of historical facts into my novel, I had to keep in mind that this was a work of fiction, and that it needed a strong romantic thread. That meant finding a careful balance between what was true, and what was meant to entertain. Too much of one, and the reader would get board. Too little of another, and the work became less of a historical. In the end, I discovered that sorting out tidbits of information and dropping them into a fictional tale is a lot like digging treasures from the earth—it requires patience and a good deal of dedication. Hopefully, the end result is something the reader not only enjoys, but learns from as well.


BOOK BLURB: Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she'd thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother's warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara's desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke's true intentions come to light.
Also, be sure to check out Book Two in the Edge of Freedom Series, Dark Road Home:
Ana Kavanagh's only memories of home are of fire and pain. As a girl she was the only survivor of a terrible blaze, and years later she still struggles with her anger at God for letting it happen.

At a nearby parish she meets and finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who is struggling with his own anger--his sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with one of his enemies. Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan longs to rejoin the Fenians, a shadowy organization pushing for change back in Ireland. But gaining their trust requires doing some favors--all of which seem to lead back to Ana. Who is she and who is searching for her? As dark secrets from Ana's past begin to come to light, Eoghan must choose which road to follow--and where to finally place his trust.

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BIO: Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of No Safe Harbor and Dark Road Home, Books  series. Her work has also been featured on Novel Rocket, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Elizabeth’s debut novel, Where the Truth Lies (coauthored with Janelle Mowery), earned her the IWA Writer of the Year Award. Her first historical novel, Love Finds You in Calico, California, was given four stars from Romantic Times. And her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and two grown children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com.



Leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Elizabeth's latest book, "Dark Road Home"! Check back for our book report on Friday and get a chance for a second entry!






24 comments:

  1. I already have my copy Elizabeth! No need to enter me. :)
    Thanks so much for visiting our blog this week. Personally, I love the research side of my writing. I've researched family history for most of my life and it inspires me to understand who we are better, and tempts me to think about fictional stories!

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  2. Anne, have you seen that new television show called "Who Do You Think You Are?" They take celebrities and research their family history. It's so neat, and I've gotten some great ideas for tackling research.

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  3. I love historical fiction, and these books look so interesting! We visited Ellis Island several years ago and wondered about the personal stories of the many immigrants who came through there.

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  4. Hi, Kym! Thank goodness for the Internet! My husband and I planned to visit Ellis Island this spring, but I ended up traveling to 2 nephew's weddings instead. Still, I got lots of good pictures from the National Park Service. Maybe next year! :-)

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    1. Fantastic realism in your book for not having visited Ellis Island! GREAT job!

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    2. Thank you, Jaime!! I admit, my computer had pictures taped all over it for months while I was writing that series. It helped visual all the people and places I was writing about.

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  5. My great great Grandparents came through Ellis Island so I would love to win a copy of this book - thanks so much!

    Stimmer@familylife.com

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    1. I bet you have some rich family heritage there! Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Really, Sharon?? You don't by chance have pictures of them you'd like to share? I've been toying with adding real life stories of people who experienced Ellis Island first hand to my facebook page.

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  6. Sounds like an exciting book - would love win a copy, thanks for the opportunity!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. No problem! Check back Friday for a chance to get entered a second time!

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    2. Good luck, Bonnie! Thanks for playing. :-)

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  7. I'm mixing my own genealogy research and fiction into my current WIP. A completely (almost) fictional story based on real people who lived in Kentucky during the last half of the 19th Century. Yes, the American Civil War is prominently featured in the first book of this three-book series. :-)

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    1. Oh, Mishael, what a rich story you will have! I love books that contain personal history. How much research have you done? Did you find any really good websites that you'd like to share?

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  8. I haven't read any of Elizabeth Ludwig before. Looking forward to it.

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    1. oooo you'll love her stuff!! Good reading! :)

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  9. I made a visit to Ellis Island on my Senior class trip many years ago. Very interesting. I have a copy of No Safe Harbor and would love a copy of this new release!

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  10. would love to win. Angela fromKY

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  11. Thanks for stopping by, Angela from KY!

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