A blogger friend not long ago published a post about writing notes for historical novels. It’s a good idea, and got me thinking about making some for my books, the time travel saga set in ancient Greece and Persia. On the other hand, I don’t want to pretend that my books are scholarly or academic – they are fiction, and even if I did research for years before and during writing, I can’t say they are strictly historical. I took too many liberties. So, if I did include historical notes, they would be more to explain where and why I changed things around and not to tell what really happened.
I always thought that a historical fiction writer has to walk a fine line between facts and fiction. I used several sources for my tales, including Arrian’s Anabasis of Alexander, which one can now find online in its entirety. Arrian lived approximately 500 years after Alexander’s death and he mostly used writings from Aristobulus, a historian who accompanied Alexander on his journey; Nearchus, Alexander’s admiral, and Ptolemy Lagos. Unfortunately, those writings have largely disappeared and there is hardly anything left that is contemporary of Alexander. While I was writing, I contacted a professor in Italy, who very kindly advised me on some questions I had, including names and where to look for recipes for toothpaste. A surgeon was very helpful in explaining some of the operations and medical skills of the times, and told me that there weren’t any sutures in ancient times – these appeared late in the 18th century. And finally, Michael Wood’s book, In the Footsteps of Alexander was my constant companion to trace Alexander’s voyage. [more]
From History in fiction – http://wp.me/p6bgv3-1XZ