I’ve got my work cut out for me. Who was it again that told me to write a historical fiction novel? Oh yeah, me. I guess I can’t shoot the messenger. *several deep sighs later* …Okay, don’t get me wrong—historical fiction has become one of my favorite genres to read, and deep down, I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to move on with my other novel ideas until I wrote a historical fiction story—but whoever forgot to mention the research that would go into getting it done (that would be me again) has seriously done me an injustice.
Now with all the dramatics out of the way…
Ya’ll, it’s actually been kinda fun. It’s still more research than i’m used to, but with all the research that I’ve been doing, I actually feel like I’ve been living in another time period.
Let me back up a bit…
My next novel is a coming of age love story set in the early 1960s—well, it starts in 1962 and covers several years after that. i’m not sure how far i’ll go yet, but so far, covering the sixties has been a sorrowful blast! Weird, I know. Sorrowful, because this particular time period puts me right in the middle of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. That needs no further explanation, but it’s also been a blast because in spite of this traumatic and challenging time when America was divided and on the brink of change, people still managed to create some of the most fascinating music and fashion in this country’s history. Not to mention the unity that the African American population displayed fighting for equal rights. It’s actually extremely intimidating to try and cover all of these important details. I had to make a decision to literally focus on the characters and their stories instead of the times. Otherwise, I’d be stopping and rewriting over and over again, trying to fit everything in, without accomplishing a single thing.
Like Spirit Lake, I usually make a character Inso board (that I won’t be sharing. I like for the readers to use their imaginations) and a playlist before I even begin writing the story. This story’s playlist looks a little like this:
Earth Angel - The Penguins
You Send Me - Sam Cooke
At Last - Etta James
In the Still of the Night - The Five Satins
Stand by Me - Ben E. King (also the novel’s theme song)
Angel Baby - Rosie & The Originals
Sleep Walk - Santo & Johnny
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long - Arthur Conley
Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight & The Pips
You are Everything - The Stylistics
Will You Love Me Tomorrow - The Shirelles
Nothing Can Change This Love - Sam Cooke
A Change is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke
Please Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes
Oh What A Night - The Dells
Be My Baby - The Ronettes
Don’t these just take you back? I wasn’t born until much, much, much, MUCH later (lol), but listening to these songs, I can almost feel what it would have been like to live through that time. Music is such a powerful tool!
Pinterest has also been a wonderful and fun source for gathering inspiration. Check out some of the pictures I’ve found! Not all of them are from the 60s, but just seeing them is enough to inspire me!
There are so many more, not to mention the interviews with family members that lived through that time and are helping to shed a brilliant light on what I’m too young to know. Reading about it is one thing, but hearing of the accounts first hand puts me there, experiencing it with them. I really am having a good time writing this book and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all!