In a recent newsletter, I mentioned that working on Old As The Hills had let me test a research note model for more research-demanding fiction that’s working pretty well. (This is also in service to my contemplating a 1480s series set around the time of the Pact sometime down the road. I have a ton of background reading to do before I can even think about it, so no time soon.)
As I suspected, more than one reader was interested in how I set that up, so here’s a glimpse into my research notes. (Click through on the screenshots to see a full size version, but I’ve also described the contents in the text.)
I’m currently in the editing process for Best Foot Forward, and thought you might find a glimpse into the process interesting.
I do most of my writing on the desktop that lives in my bedroom. However, I do most of my editing on the laptop that lives in the living room, which has fewer distractions.
Here’s a shot of what that looks like. Read on for a description of both the image and the process.
Last Saturday, I went on an adventure with Kiya, my long-time friend and editor. We drove out to western Massachusetts (about a two hour drive from where I live) for a session with New England Falconry.
Why? Writing research, of course!
Falconry, Carillon, and upcoming delights
Lord Geoffrey Carillon is a great many things, but among them, he is a falconer. As mentioned in On The Bias, he used to fly a Eurasian eagle-owl, named Theodora (who also appears in that book). However, the sniper wound he got during the Great War (in his left shoulder joint) means that he can’t hold that much weight on his extended left hand for very long.
(Eurasian eagle-owls are about 8 pounds for females. Extremely sizeable birds.)
Since the early 1920s, he’s instead flown a merlin named Helena. Merlins are a vastly smaller bird – about 8 ounces or half a pound. (They also carry a number of different social implications.)
Then I wrote the draft of Best Foot Forward (out in November 2022) and – there is more falconry. It’s set in 1935, when Carillon is fully settled into his current life, but collaboration with Alexander Landry brings about a new set of challenges. Alexander also has a certain number of opinions about hawks and falcons, as it turns out, though largely on a more metaphorical level. Or at least less immediately physical. There’s also a scene set in the mews at Ytene.
And then there’s Ancient Trust, which is about Carillon inheriting the title in 1922 and returning to Albion and figuring out how to rearrange his life. Which of course includes a certain amount of falconry, though mostly off-screen.
All of that meant more research about falconry was in order as both those titles go into editing. And of course, the one thing that’s hard to get from books or video or other second hand sources is what the experience actually feels like. I especially wanted to get a sense of what it felt like to have a bird on the end of my arm.
Which is why we went out to western Massachusetts.
Read on for more, including plenty of great pictures!