Are We There Yet? Traveling by Train in the Past*

In my current WIP, my heroine, Ella, travels from her hometown of Nagykaniza to Budapest. How do I figure out how long it takes her? She’s lucky because in 1905, when she is traveling, Nagykanizsa is a stop on the trainline to Budapest. Trains sped up travel time immensely. Consider these maps from the AtlasContinue reading “Are We There Yet? Traveling by Train in the Past*”

Péter Ágoston Forced Me to Study Hungarian

In my research for my next novel, I’ve found books and articles, many of them in Hungarian. I’ve become quite good at Google Translate. The information in Hungarian, until recently, has all been online, so copying and pasting it into Google Translate has not been that big a chore. But then I ran into PéterContinue reading “Péter Ágoston Forced Me to Study Hungarian”

Write Your Memoirs!

My memoirs? Who would be interested in my memoirs? A future historian or novelist, that’s who. I am fortunate to have two unpublished memoirs, written by contemporaries of my grandmother Ella, the main character of my next novel. These documents are invaluable. They describe the memoirist’s dwellings, the food she ate, the schooling she received,Continue reading “Write Your Memoirs!”

Koestler on Writing Historical Novels

In researching my next novel, Ella, I have been reading the second volume of Arthur Koestler’s autobiography, The Invisible Writing. Koestler wrote, among many other books, Darkness at Noon, a novel about the Moscow show trials in the late 1930s, which is one of the best of the 20th century. I should have put TheContinue reading “Koestler on Writing Historical Novels”