Friday Five: Back into History

When I’m researching, I (hopefully) am answering questions. On the other hand, one of the ways you know I’m actually writing, is when I’m coming UP with those questions. Just to prove that I did actually get back into my historical YA this week and write two new scenes, here are a few questions that I have yet to answer. And that make me happy for the existence of brackets and critique-partners who are more than patient with placeholders.

1. Did teenage girls in 1912 keep handkerchiefs handy for wiping tears away? And was my MC that kind of girl, or would she–you know-just use her sleeve?

2. Did blackboards (not called chalkboards yet!) come with actual erasers in 1912? Or would the teacher use a cloth of some sort? No, probably not a handkerchief.

3. What was a German/German-Jewish comfort food (for dinner) that would have come over to America with immigrants in the 1860s? And, yes, this probably means a reread of 97 Orchard for me. Oh, darn.

4. In what way would a toy train in the 1900s/1910s break frequently and be quickly re-fixable? You know, with something handy like a darning needle?

5. Did girls in 1912 high schools pass notes back & forth? Okay, yes, I probably know the answer to that already, but wouldn’t it be fun to find a scene in someone’s memoir for proof?

Fun stuff. Not stopping writing to fill in the details yet. One new research book on the way, and only half a dozen or so unread on the home shelves. I’ve really missed Caro the past few weeks, and it is SO good to be back in her world. Even if I don’t know all about that world…yet!


  1. Jenn Hubbard says:

    Have fun researching those questions!


    • beckylevine says:

      I will. Almost as much fun as I have pretending I know the answer and writing around the gaps!


  2. Very curious about the answers. It’s a good thing that you enjoy research!


  3. Julie says:

    Wow, those are very detailed questions. Amazing what the writing process leads us to. Why else would you end up asking questions like that? That is why reading is the best way to learn about anything – we get all of those details by osmosis instead of having to sit and have a history lesson on it all.


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