Today we welcome author Kiki Hamiltom.
Kiki Hamilton is the author of the YA historical fantasy series: THE FAERIE RING, and a YA contemporary story entitled THE LAST DANCE. Visit her at http://www.kikihamilton.com
Just the Facts, M’am….Blending Historical Fiction and Fantasy
by Kiki Hamilton
When writing my YA historical fantasy, THE FAERIE RING, my goal was to try to immerse the reader in Victorian London, make it as real as possible, but then add a slightly fantastical twist. To that end, I worked hard to make all of the historical facts accurate and true to London 1871.
My research was multi-pronged as I had to research both Victorian London and the history of faeries in the British Isles. Luckily, I found both to be fascinating topics! While I wrote the first draft of The Faerie Ring in a fairly short amount of time, I spent quite a bit of time in revision enriching the historical details and checking for accuracy.
I’d never been to London when I started writing, and actually didn’t know much about the City. It was really quite fortuitous that I had set my main character living in Charing Cross railway station, which is the true heart of London and the point from which all distances are measured to this day.
The Faerie Ring is set in 1871 because that’s the year one of my characters, Prince Leopold, (Queen Victoria’s youngest son, was 18.) My research was conducted through a variety of sources – several books were a wonderful resource: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool (Simon & Schuster 1993) and Victorian London, The Tale of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard (St. Martin’s Griffin 2005). Additionally, I used online resources including Google Earth.
After I’d sold the book, but before I’d worked on any editorial revisions, I had the opportunity to visit London for the first time. It was a wonderful experience and so helpful in writing this book. As everyone knows, London is an ancient city with so much history oozing out of the buildings and sidewalks, it can’t help but to inspire a writer! I got to walk in my main character’s footsteps from Charing Cross to St. James Park to Buckingham Palace and more. The trip was surreal and fantastic (!!!) and very beneficial in filling in some of the more oblique, but very important concrete details.
For faeries, I did a ton of research into the wide and varied history within the British Isles through a combination of online research and books. Additionally, part of the world is completely imagined – one that I’ve envisioned and created – based on folklore and the lives of my characters.
Of course, some of the challenges in writing historical fantasy is that the author is faced with writing about an era that they can never actually visit and in the case of THE FAERIE RING, a race (faeries) that are imagined. But for a fantasy writer – that’s the fun part!