“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” -Mark Twain
I’ve started in on the research for the next Ravenwood Mystery. Do I have a clue what Bel and Riot are up to? Yes. Are they ever doing what I think they are doing? No. But research always gives me a good shove down the right path, and while I’m strolling along a path that quote always comes swimming to the forefront of my mind.
Truth is so strange that if I put half the things I come across into a book, then readers would roll their eyes at improbability. And readers have… usually at the very things I plucked from history.
Whenever possible I try to find material from the era where my story is situated. It helps me absorb the speech patterns and phrases of the time period, so when I start writing all those wonderful little sayings like ‘dressed to death’ and ‘raised cain generally’ will (hopefully) seep out of my mind and right onto paper.
At the moment I’m reading Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi, published in 1887. I’m sure discerning readers can guess why I chose that particular book. And to my surprise, the very first words summed Atticus Riot up in one:
“I’ll serve his youth, for youth must have his course, For being restrained it makes him ten times worse; His pride, his riot, all that may be named, Time may recall, and all his madness tamed.”