I've been sick the last few days and forgot to write up a post about historical research for today. However,
So, to begin, I needed to create a brand new character. I needed a French aristocrat. Knowing next to nothing about the French aristocracy, I played with Google and Wikipedia. My two favorite web-sites.
First, I needed to know how the French addressed their nobles.
Then I needed to decide which title he would have. I decided on Marquis.
Then which province he would have held under his title. I wanted something near the ocean. So I went here and chose Aunis.
I then realized I needed to know just what exactly they did in Aunis and found a wonderful little place known for farming and salt.
Then it was on to the larger topic of the French Revolution because I needed a reason for my character to escape France.
In reading up on this, I found a man, the Marquis de Condorcet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_de_Condorcet who would be perfect for me to base my character's life on. Learned, with all the right political leanings, he chose to leave France after the Revolution. I believe I hit the jackpot with him.
Mind you, all this flipping back and forth on the computer, not to mention reading all the articles (and getting sidetracked on whether I needed to actually know what the flag looked like -- Fun Fact: Aunis is under the duchy of Aquitaine) took me just under two hours. But now I have the backstory of one of my characters.
And believe it or not, this man in my story is dead and is only mentioned in a paragraph containing five sentences. He is not relevent to the story at all. However, if I did not do this research, the story would have no substance. I could have just written him any old way. But I didn't. I chose to give this man a life, a backstory, a history, if you will because that was what was needed.
In shaping my main character, Dianne, I need to have all the pertinent information, and this above mentioned man is her father. So it would behoove me to get it right. Or at least as right as I can get in fiction.
Now, onto Dianne's mother....
Anne Gallagher (c) 2013