A fact that shocked me: the English washed their clothing in urine. They used urine for its acidic properties. I learned that on a visit to Shakespeare's parents' farm in Stratford-upon-Avon.
I still find many famous authors who put bars in their stories long before they appeared in history (the Victorian age).
I love the challenge of getting my details right. Of putting my heroines in a situation where they can't whip out a Smartphone to call for help. They must use their wits. Nothing is simple without modern conveniences.
In the days before the Internet (Yes, young people, there were those days) I utilized the library system for my research. I lived near Washington DC and traveled there to the Library of Congress Reading Room, an excellent resource. I was fortunate to be able to use their comprehensive library.
In one novel, Rose's Precarious Quest, I had a character who was a doctor in 1796. I had to request rare books by a Dr. Hunter to gain knowledge from that era. I also came across a fantastic website put out by Colonial Williamsburg on eighteenth century medicine. Domestic Medicine. I learned about the humors of the body (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood) and how they must be regulated to keep one well. The strange, often deadly remedies (as in mercury and white lead) used to heal the sick. However, the poisonous Foxglove plant was turned into Digitalis to successfully treat heart disease.
For my Canadian Historical Brides story, On a Stormy Primeval Shore, I had to research the province of New Brunswick. I must applaud my wonderful research assistant, Nancy Bell, who found me reproductions of historical documents on the internet.
I learned so much about who settled this territory, who the native tribes were, the Acadians, Germans, Scots, English and the Loyalist Americans who fled the American Revolution. The struggles these people went through in a harsh climate.
It's a good thing I love all these details, the thrill of research. However, it makes me a picky reader when I catch the historical mistakes made by other authors.
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Diane Scott Lewis grew up in California, traveled the world with the navy, edited for magazines and an on-line publisher. She lives with her husband in Pennsylvania.