I love writing about New York City at the turn of the century. Love the research--I have shelves of books on New York City, files and photos from the late 1890's on my computer. I've loved learning so much about the city at that time and the photos I've found take me back to a time and place far removed from today. I hope I am able bring this city to life at a time when women were joining the workforce in huge numbers, living in boarding houses similar to Heaton House, the boarding house in my first LIH, Somewhere to Call Home.
(Photo taken by Stacy Cashman at ramblingtraveler.com)
And although some of the places my characters visit are still there, many are not. Central Park is still there of course, and taking a walk in it now is probably much the same now as would have been at the turn of the century. But the skyline around it, from then to now, keeps changing.
Of course many of the changes through the years have been for the better and yet it saddens me that so many landmarks are gone. In writing about history we must try to preserve the settings and events that take place in our stories so that our readers can get a real feel for the time and the place, so they can relate to the history of the time. We never know when storms or events will take those things away as Hurricane Sandy did, especially along the east coast.
Just as my heart went out to the people of the City after 9/11, it goes out to them now as they deal with the aftermath of Sandy. As the Crafie Ladies, our editors live and work in the city and our thoughts and prayers are with them and all who were in the path of the storm.
Do you like real history weaved into the historical stories you read? Do you like real settings or ficitonal places best?