This time, my library haul is kind of focused on one thing: research!
I’m looking at Gothic Romance/Horror and trying to put my own spin on it. The story I’m working on is focused on a young biracial woman (daughter to a West Indian mother and a white American lawyer who doesn’t acknowledge her paternity) whose new husband isn’t anything like she expects.
I wanted to look at subverting genre tropes and adding some much-needed diversity to the genre and I felt like setting the story in New Orleans in that narrow period where “marriage across the color lines” was legal before 1900 would be a great idea. (I also wanted to write about vampires but I’m not sure I’m doing that in the first place because I just remembered that werewolves are my secret loves.)
But I know nothing about New Orleans so it was time for RESEARCH!
I left the library with five books (and with about ten more on request for this specific project) so here’s what my haul looks like this time:
- Sustaining New Orleans by Barbara Eckstein
- The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans 1865 – 1920 by Alecia P. Long
- The Story The Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell: Sex in the Civil War by Thomas P. Lowry, M.D.
- Love in the time of Victoria by Francoise Barret-Ducrocq
- The Worm in the Bud: the world of Victorian Sexuality by Ronald Pearsall
I looked at (and then put down) “The Other Victorians” because I felt that some of the material wasn’t necessary enough and I did have two other books on that era’s sexuality. My only issue is that I’ve had trouble finding books about that time period’s race issues written by Black or Chinese Americans in my local library and that makes me sad.
If you’re wondering why I went with Victorian Era stuff instead of something more US-centric, have no fear. It’s because I’m a terrible historian. I was never able to remember the proper term for the post-Civil War, pre-WW1 era in the United States.
Thanks to my tweeps Justen and Minerva, I now have options for that and I’m more educated. But at the time I was researching, I only had the card catalog for the library and it’s not formatted to answer questions like mine.
So I’m sunk deep into the Gilded Age and eagerly awaiting the rest of my requests so I can go through them and collect even more information. Sure, my idea of historical fiction tends to be on the less accurate side (I’m too big a fan of women in pants/trousers to do otherwise and anachronism might as well be my middle name), but I want to get like 90% of the detail right so fellow historians/history buffs will get jarringly thrown out of the story by a small detail.
It’s been my life’s goal since I was wee.
All in all, I’m making headway on this project of mine and I hope that I’ll be able to get some character profiles written and the first few pages done in the next week or so just so I can get the feeling like this research is going somewhere.
But yes — research day went well! Hopefully, the next Library Haul sees me return with even more useful books!