Amanda Mariel on medieval research

Hello everyone. I am Amanda Mariel and I write historical romance in the Regency, Victorian, and most recently medieval time periods. Before I dive into my post I want to say how thrilled I am to have been invited to join the fabulously talented authors of Embracing Romance. It is such an honor to be here among these authors!

I took great pains deciding what to write this post about. For weeks my mind has conjured then rejected idea after idea. Now the final moment has arrived and I am still not sure what I want to write. LOL. However, as I am out of time, I will go with the topic that is currently at the front of my mind: research.

I do piles of research for every book I write. Everything from clothing and homes to courtship and topography must be researched. My recent endeavor has been to immerse myself in the medieval time period, more specifically in the year 1134 along the English Scottish boarder.

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When I started working on my medieval romance I knew only that I wanted it to be set near the border and it had to be during a time of strife between England and Scotland. I started off by looking at maps and then once I had a location (Berwick) I went on to narrow down my date.

Berwick seemed the perfect location for my story as it has great topography for my purposes. The area of England where Berwick is situated boarders the North Sea as well as Scotland. The tweed river cuts across the lush landscape of complex hills, forests, and valleys.

Hadrians wall one

I discovered that the official boarder between England and Scotland was established by the Treaty of York in 1237. However it was the acknowledged boarder long before the treaty came into being. The area has a long history of conflict and was indeed a dangerous place from the days of Roman rule (if not earlier) through the medieval period.

With my location and year locked down as well as a few pages of notes I moved on to research castles, food, clothing, rituals, etc. scribbling notes as I learned more and more about this fascinating area and period of history. After hours of research spread across several days I typed the first line with confidence: β€œLady Isabel stood gazing up at castle Almerry, barely visible on the hill.” I am now 2/3 of the way done with Charmed by the Knight and anxious to share it with the world.

Knight and medieval lady at outdoor

I love the medieval period equally as much as I love the Victorian and Regency periods which brings me to my question: What is your favorite time period?

 

 

 

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Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. When she is not writing she can be found reading, crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending time with her family. Amanda lives along the Lake Huron shoreline in northern Michigan with her husband and two kids. She holds a Master of Liberal Arts Degree with a concentration in literature and has a long-standing love affair with sugary junk food.

19 Responses

  1. Barbara Monajem

    Welcome, Amanda. I don’t have a favorite period… I write Regency because I know it best, but I absolutely love reading about Anglo-Saxon and early Norman England, and even started a story once that takes place in 1167. (Not sure I will ever finish it, alas.) I agree, the border area is lovely to write about. I walked along Hadrian’s Wall a few years ago, and it was so inspiring!!

    • Amanda Mariel

      That would be amazing!! It is absolutely on my to do some day list. I do hope you finish your medieval story someday. I should like to read it πŸ™‚

  2. Thank you, Amanda! I’m a reader and love all the things that happened before 1900 πŸ˜‰

    • Amanda Mariel

      It is a pleasure to meet you virtually, Hanny! I am not a history buff, but I am most certainly a history lover πŸ™‚

  3. Thank you, Amanda. Congratulations on joining the Embracing Romance team!

    I too think research and period detail enhance a work of fiction. And I appreciate authors who take the time and trouble to bring their settings to life. I don’t read historical romances for that reason. But it certainly helps me immerse myself in the story and make it more gripping.

    My fave period? To live in, right now. Okay, I know that’s not what you’re getting at. And since I select my leisure reading material by theme and premise rather than era, in a sense I have no fave period.

    But I certainly have a fave setting to write about, England and thereabouts in the late Middle Ages. Lots of fun stuff going on, like the Black Death, the Peasants’ Revolt, the Little Ice Age, and the Hundred Years’ War. An author has plenty of raw material.

    Are there any settings that don’t get enough attention in this subgenre? Yes, too many to list. But instead of griping about how few romances take place during the twentieth century, or how hard it is to find Wild West romances that don’t involve mail-order brides, I should keep quiet and write my own.

    Good luck!

    • Amanda Mariel

      Thank you for taking the time to stop in and comment, Mary Anne! Your remark about the wild west made me think of my dad. He is forever asking me when I will write a western. I grew up watching cowboy movies with him-everything from Tombstone and purgatory to John Wayne movies I cannot name πŸ™‚ I do love that period in history as well and have always had a thing for Doc Holliday! LOL That said I do not think I could do the period justice. You absolutely should write one!

  4. I love just about any historical period!

    • Amanda Mariel

      They do each hold their own charm, Collette πŸ™‚

  5. Cathy Hammerschmidt

    Hi Amanda and congratulations to you! As I love all periods of a historical romance I guess the medieval period is my favorite. I find it fascinating how people’s lives were and how things were done. It is amazing how much they knew. The healers, the technology they had to work with. Very interesting! I am anxious for your new book. I know it will be just as amazing as your others.

    • Amanda Mariel

      Hugs, Cathy! Thank you so much for your vote of confidence and if all goes according to plan you will not be waiting much longer πŸ˜‰

  6. allybroadfield

    Welcome, Amanda! We’re thrilled to have you. I love history, it doesn’t matter what period, I just want a great story. I write Regencies because they fit my voice.

    • Amanda Mariel

      Thank you, Ally! It truly is an honor to be a part of this team πŸ™‚ My favorite book I wrote to date is Love’s Legacy because it is a Regency with medieval blended in. I wrote it for Kathryn Le Veque’s De Wolfe world on Amazon and had a great time doing so.

  7. Violetta Rand

    So happy you’ve joined the family, Amanda.

  8. Regency is generally my favorite, but I’ll read most any

    Denise

    • Amanda Mariel

      Thank you for taking the time to comment! I will read anything historical but when it comes to other genre’s I am very selective.

  9. Hi Amanda! I’m looking forward to many more great posts! As far as favorite historical period? I really don’t have one. I love reading about all of them. πŸ™‚

  10. Hello and Welcome! I write Regency, but I’m a lover of all things Civil War and also appreciate Victorian anything. Now, I went through a pretty intense Joanna Lindsey phase so that covers most historical periods, right?
    I love that you’re doing so much research. I didn’t realize when I started in historical romance how easy it was to fall into an obsessive research pattern, and still question the validity of all your choices.

  11. Liette Bougie

    Bonsoir Amanda,
    I particularly like the medieval era, not only in Europe but also elsewhere in the world. I’m very fond of the history of China, Mongolia, the Silk Road and the surrounding countries between 1200-1300. Plus I love Templars-related history.

  12. Maggi Andersen

    Welcome Amanda! My love of historical romance covers a wide range of eras. I write in Georgian, Regency and Victorian, but I’m gradually moving toward the Edwardian era.