Saturday, May 10, 2014

Blog Tour: Unspeakable by Caroline Pignat - Guest Post

Today I have the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for the recently released Unspeakable by Caroline Pignat. I've been really excited about this book for a while, and after having recently met Caroline and heard her talk about her book, my excitement level only went up. So today, I am happy to have Caroline here on the blog to talk about what it was like to do research for Unspeakable.

I love researching. It feels like a treasure hunt. I usually start with kids’ non-fiction books, for a quick overview of the subject. Then, I review as many novels/movies as I can that are also set in the period to help me get a feel for the time. For UNSPEAKABLE, I watched Titanic (obviously) and also Downton Abbey for a sense of that time period and the relationships between servants and the elite.

Then the real work began.

I read countless survivor accounts, stewardess diaries, and stoker testimonies. I studied ship diagrams, naval terms, and sailing itineraries. I always keeps LOTS of notes because I can’t remember things. Every novel I’ve done has a huge binder of research, countless photos, websites and files on Scrivener and sometimes, like for UNSPEAKABLE, I make a visual board:

I also researched the archives of the Museum of Canadian History. They’d acquired a lot of artifacts from the Empress of Ireland for an exhibit to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking. It’s great to speak to experts who are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the topic. I usually have a ton of very detailed and specific questions from my research and I am thrilled when they have answers for me.

Overall, I usually spend about six months to a year researching before I feel confident enough to create that time and place in my story.

Be sure to be on the lookout for my review of Unspeakable in the coming weeks!

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