Researching the Civil Wars

A lovely view of the Connemara in Ireland. Some days, I feel that researching historical times is just as beautiful, and just as remote. I gaze upon the mountains of work that I need to do, and realize that I enjoy researching, but I also realize that the work to surmount it is daunting.

While my book, Azure Maris, due out around Christmas, is a YA speculative novel, I enjoy historical fiction just as much as science fiction and fantasy. Throw in a good mystery, and I'm hooked. Yet, researching for fantasy is fairly easy, and involves more imagination and less research. Science fiction requires more research, but not as much as historical fiction since history took place, and there are certain facts that need to be included.

Currently, I have started researching for two other series. Both of these series, which focus on the English Civil War and the Irish Civil War, have their difficulties. One of the primary problems that I am currently facing concerns information. I have a general idea as to the beligerents involved; why they fought; and I know the outcome of the battles, but I have discovered that like all civil wars, there is a great deal more.

How do I address my lack of knowledge - by first attacking the overall history. I realized rather quickly that I needed to learn more about the current events in each time period. While it often seems to be a small war, there are often larger aspects that play into the situation. For example, during the English Civil War, I also have to have a general understanding of the Thirty Years' War; likewise, with the Irish Civil War, I need to have an understanding of World War One. There are cultural aspects that I need to take into account: Irish and English history for both, as well as Catholic and Protestant relations.

In some cases, research for the English Civil War plays a role in the Irish Civil War since some of the items that happened in the first fosters wounds in the second. I am just beginning my research into these two fascinating time periods. I seek to show what life was like for the people in the time periods, and while not try to explain what happened, to give the audience a good overview as to understanding why things happened. As I continue with this line of research, I'll add more information that I find. One benefit of beginning this in 2012 is that several 100-year and 400-year anniversaries are quickly approaching, so I will be able to find more information.

Do you find that research for one book often dovetails into another book?

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