I write fiction. And fiction isn’t fact. But I still want my writing to be authentic. Especially now that I’m writing historical fiction, writing a novel surrounded by accounts that actually happened. Take for instance one of my favorite historical fiction novels,11/22/63 by Stephen King. In the author notes, King talks about his research: Lee Harvey Oswald; his wife, Marina; his relationship with George de Mohrenschildt; when Oswald came back to Fort Worth from Russia; how long he stayed there before he moved to Dallas. All important. Why? Because I’m sure a history buff is going to read the novel. And a history buff is going to know if Stephen King got those details wrong. Even though it’s fiction, if it isn’t authentic, the reader may put the book down. A writer DOES NOT want the reader to put his or her book down.
In my up and coming novel, THE DARKEST LOOP, I triple-checked several scenes to make sure they were authentic. In one scene, the main character, Dallas, is watching Monday Night Football on September 10th, 2001. Now, I could’ve wrote that he was watching the Cowboys play the Steelers but that’s not who played that night. It was the New York Giants versus the Denver Broncos. Also, there’s a scene where Mike (can’t give away who Mike is) complains about being pulled away from New York when he had baseball tickets. Again, I could’ve wrote that he had tickets to see the Yankees play the Mets—the Subway Series. But during 9/3/01 through 9/11/01 (the dates that are looped in the book) the Yankees didn’t play the Mets. They played the Red Sox and they did so at home. Another important point. Thus, I dare not write that Mike was watching that game in Boston. Even though I’m writing fiction, I have to get my facts straight. Because I never want the reader to put my book down.