Last night I wrapped up the second book of my trilogy and began on book three. While book two definitely posed some challenges and obstacles (hell, I stopped in the middle and wrote book one when I realized the story didn’t really start there), this last one is going to be the most involved in some ways.
For starters, my primary POV protagonist (though it will switch between Sarah and Anna as well) is a 400-year-old vampire. Her back story is fascinating to me as well as being integral to the progression of the series, so last night I wrote upwards of 3,000 words of historical fiction.
I already know some stuff about 17th century Poland — or more correctly, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that existed at the time. I know in 1655 the Swedes invaded (that’s when her home was burned to the ground and she ended up becoming a vampire), but other things I had to look up, like this dude:
Regardless of the fashion of the times, I want to create little forays into the past that pluck the reader out of the 21st century and punt them backwards, so they feel the grit, the reality of a life back then.
For my dear little Ewunia, she has a rough go of things. So there are a good number of things I need to look up and figure out. For instance:
What would have been the role of a widowed merchant’s only daughter? Would she have been educated at all? What sort of practical skills might she have, if any?
How exactly were women of the day treated? Would she have been on the cusp of being married to someone twice her age? Probably.
What would an invading army do with stray women? (I think I already know the answer to that — it hasn’t changed
in five thousand years since the dawn of time.)
Muskets or arrows or bolts?
What would Ewunia have worn given her sex and social class? What did 17th century Poles eat?
In spite of the relatively short amount of time my book will spend in the 17th century, I need to go back there to hunt myself. I need to learn more about this world Ewunia is at the mercy of once her father is dead and her home burned to the ground. Because ultimately, I want readers to understand why she makes the choices she does, and her background will determine a lot of that. Not to mention the vampire who makes her one — he is very important to the story, and his development gives me some chills to think about. He’s a little bit like Anakin Skywalker, but with fangs and an old Swedish name instead.
Speaking of him, his name is the one I had to change, as was Ewunia’s, to protect the validity of their characters. They’re supposed to be centuries old, so his name wouldn’t be Damon. Plus, Ewunia begins to go by Elaine later, and I realized the Polish version of that is Elena (and not common)…Elena and Damon? Dammit, Vampire Diaries.
So yeah, they’re now Ewunia and Einarr, circa 1655. I like “Einarr.” It means one warrior, which suits him. And his chosen replacement name later will be nice and ironic.
I’ll probably have a wee bit more to say on this as I continue to write, gentle viewers. Until then, love your characters, love your story, and be true to it however you know best.
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