The Time Traveller’s Writer

There is something about history that calls to us, that asks to have stories told about it, that demands to be remembered and understood.

historical document
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

But choosing a time period to write about is a challenging thing for an author. The period often guides the story more than the location so it’s an important decision.

The writer must be interested in the period to be able to capture the reader’s attention. But beyond that, there are many other factors to consider.


What time period provides the best backdrop for a romance, mystery, thriller, adventure or fantasy? I would probably pick a different period for each of those – how about you?


People like to read hopeful stories set in times of great difficulty. Or sad stories set against a backdrop of riches or glory. People don’t usually like to read sad stories set during times of difficulty, or stories about great things happening to fortunate characters during happy times.


If the story idea is based on a real place or event, that makes it much easier. My first mystery was based around a real Japanese castle that has since been destroyed in an earthquake. The time period I chose had to be during the time the castle was in use. My second mystery was based on a real Costa Rican artifact so the story begins shortly after that artifact was produced.

The story I am currently writing is set in a place where interesting events took place during three different periods and I’m trying to work out a way to tie them all together. I didn’t say historical fiction was easy!

In fact, a huge amount of research is required to write historical stories. I spend more time researching than writing, and only the start and end of my books occur in the past. The actual mystery solving happens in the present day. Writers who can craft an entire novel set in the past need to have fantastic research skills and a lot of patience.

So why do authors spend so much time finding the right period and meticulously researching it? Because we want to share our passions, to give you a chance to feel what life must have been like in another time and place, and most of all to write something we love.

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6 thoughts on “The Time Traveller’s Writer

  1. Completely agree. Being a History major, I procrastinate writing historical fiction just because of the amount of research it’d take, compared to a contemporary novel! 😅😂

    Liked by 1 person

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