Please welcome Sara Dahmen, author of Doctor Kinney’s Housekeeper, who’s virtually visiting Luxury Reading to talk about the research behind her books.
Sara has a special giveaway for Luxury Reading visitors–enter below for a chance to win a copy of her book as well as some American-made, pure and organic cookware inspired by the book itself!
by Sara Dahmen
I absolutely completely dislike (hate?) talking about my books. Isn’t that the strangest thing for an author to say? We’re supposed to be proud and, perhaps, a bit egotistical about our work, right? But I’d rather sit down and hear about your books than mine.
Please, don’t read mine in my line of sight, or aloud, or ask me about the story. It’s one of the few times I’ll blush, stutter and sound completely inarticulate. All my loquaciousness flees.
Now the upside to that is that I get to meet a ton of people. I get to learn what their story is, and what makes them tick. What is their passion, what is their expertise? What drives them to write? Who are they?
This is research in its most minute and everyday. We write about people we meet, or an overblown or combined notion of them. We get ideas from a turn of phrase, a particular outfit, or a manner of speaking. We’re writers. We observe. We consider. And then we write it.
Research is the building blocks of our books. No matter the world or the time period of your work, fiction or non-fiction, there’s always a bit of research to make the book viable, proper, and believable. A good writer will glean bits of research in its myriad forms and use it to twist a tale about anything, fantasy, romance or reference.
I’m a historical writer, and I work in fiction and non-fiction both, and to me, the research is far more interesting and rewarding than any trumpeting of the finished piece. The books should stand on their own. The books are the end product of a fantastic journey into a different era, or new information I didn’t yet know. The books are just entertainment for you, my readers…I already had my entertainment when I was elbow deep in twelve reference books.
The research is also there on the back end. We research our audience, we research marketing and author platforms, we delve into social media and local events to try to tell others about our piece of soul that we’re peddling. But really, what we’re also selling is our slice of gleaned observations. Stories, yes. But also a bit of knowledge that we are eager to share!
To me, this comes in many forms. I do, of course, want people to know about and read my book, Doctor Kinney’s Housekeeper. When talking about it, though, I like to brush over the star-crossed romance, and my protagonists’ health issues. Instead, I want to gush about Blackfoot Sioux culture, the intolerance against the Native Americans in newly settled Dakota Territory, the medical practices available in the 1880’s, and the options available in society for women. I want to shake the book about learning the Lakota language above every book club and say – “Look! Isn’t this awesome? We should all learn this!” Or when I’m hands deep in the vintage tin shop where I apprentice, I look at all the tools from the 1700’s and go…”wow…a smith used these hundreds of years ago…and they still work!
When I’m writing the non-fiction, it’s the same thing. Eventually, An Education in Cookware will come out. I am sure it will be a nice book for some, but mainly it’s for me. For my research, my passion, my love affair with metallurgy and history. Everyone should write for that and let it grow larger than life.
So, to emphasize passion, and larger-than-life research, I’m not only giving away a copy of Doctor Kinney’s Housekeeper, but also some American-made, pure and organic cookware inspired by the book itself called Housekeeper Crockery. These items were hand-forged, hand seasoned and handmade, and are what you’d have found in a pioneer kitchen back in the 1880s.
Use the Rafflecopter widget below to be entered to win a copy of Doctor’s Kinney’s Housekeeper, and either a pure American maple spoon or a hand-seasoned cast iron skillet with matching organic flaxseed oil (2 winners total).