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Friday, 22 May 2015

'Behind The Text’ 29 Research

Behind The Text’ Part 29_ Research

The Facts.... Give Me The Facts

When I was writing those thrillers making up the 'Jonas Forbes Saga' I always looked upon them as Historical Fiction, meriting as much research as any decent book in that genre. In that respect I can subdivide that research into four sections.

Way back in time in the UK I was an Examiner in 20th Century World History. A mere 30+ years ago I was teaching the same period to British GCE Advanced Level students. Apart from that I’ve had a long interest in aspects of 20th Century History. In sum, I am well versed in the general historical
background of many of the books.

Then I’ve lived through the period and can remember contemporary accounts of events (e.g. the assassination of JFK, the Biafran War and the downfall of President Nixon). In addition I did a year-long Part Time course on the Soviet Union and then travelled by coach across Europe (see Book 13) to Moscow & Leningrad in 1965.

For several of the books I read published accounts of the subject background. I've acknowledged in the appropriate novels those particular sources (e.g. in Books 1, 9 & 16)  helping to get the background more factually correct. For example, ‘Watergate: The Hidden History’ by Lamar Waldron (2012) traced back the origins of the downfall of Nixon far further than I’d suspected. Indeed, Histories of the Hanged’ (2005) by David Anderson made me see the Mau Mau Emergency in ways I hadn’t envisaged and so ‘Stay-Alive Runs Away’ is a different and, I hope, a better book.

Finally, I must give enormous thanks to those producing the pages which make up that most brilliant of libraries called the Internet– and I don't just mean (the too often under-valued) Wikipedia! I remember, in writing my historical trilogy (see Post 1),  the struggle of the first 7 years to assemble factual details, before I had easy access to the Internet, and the much easier 9 years afterwards. The 'Jonas Forbes Saga' never knew that trauma – whether details of an individual or of an organisation (KGB, MPD or Mafia) were needed, they were available. I studied details of weapons, cars and other aspects of human activity in which I’d never shown an interest before. I even had the temerity to try to plot railway platforms  in 1958 (see Book 5)required for the train changes Jonas employed to shake off the pursuit of the Mafia! I trust I got it reasonably correct.

I should mention here, though separate from ‘fact-hunting’, the help I’ve had,  especially from Smashwords, but also from Amazon Kindle & Google, in the publication of these books. I couldn’t have done it without them.



Bob Hyslop

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