9 Ways To Insert Your Own Voice and Style Into Research-Based Nonfiction Writing

Writing my nonfiction book The Empress and the English Doctor was, for me, as much a process of unlearning as of acquiring new writing techniques. By trade, I’m a journalist: After studying English at university, I trained on a local newspaper in the no-nonsense county of Yorkshire, where any fancy ideas about style and voice … Read more

How To Research Topics Like a Journalist

“In much of society, research means to investigate something you do not know or understand.” —Neil Armstrong. I’ve covered everything from grayhound racing to eminent domain, and like many generalists, I’ve learned to become an “expert” quickly in areas I know nothing about. As a result, I’ve earned invaluable research skills. (10 Interviewing Tips for … Read more

Writing Historical Fiction Focused on Wartime Holland

My interest in historical fiction began when I was a child listening to my mother’s vivid accounts of life under German occupation during the terrible Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944-45. Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, her acts of derring-do and desperate measures to forage in the earth for tulip bulbs in order … Read more

6 Practical Tips for Writing Great Historical Fiction

In 2019, the New York Times Style Magazine declared that we are living in a “golden age” of historical fiction. Whatever the reason for this—be it our need to escape a horribly uncertain present or our fear of what the future might bring—as the author of six World War II-influenced novels, I am very happy … Read more

Top 5 Things To Know Before Doing Archival Research on Your Book

I have worked in archives for 20 years and have helped many authors navigate this complex and thrilling world to support their own stories. What’s more, every novel I’ve written has featured an archive in one form or another. I love writing about the archives and the mysteries they contain. (How To Do Writing Research … Read more

Research Gems: When What You Find Becomes Part of the Story

While searching for my novels in Hawaii, I have the pleasure of finding unexpected nuggets of language, geography, or history. I call these discoveries “gems”. In the following paragraphs, I will describe two of these discoveries. The former plays an important role in The second betrayal, the fourth Koa Kāne puzzle (scheduled for publication January … Read more