WHY READ A HISTORICAL THRILLER? By Ted Lampron
WHY READ A HISTORICAL THRILLER?
By Ted Lampron
The thing about writing a historical thriller is the details. When I started the novel, Bleecker Street, I was first taken by how much research was needed to authenticate the feel and look of the 1890s. By the end of the nineteenth century, New York City was on the cusp of significant change. Immigrants were flooding into Ellis Island by the thousands, electricity and indoor plumbing were becoming common, and transportation and communications were expanding across America. Details on New York City's living conditions were pertinent to the story I was creating. However, my focus was on newspaper journalism during that time in history.
The core of my novel was taken from the New York World newspaper archives and translated into a narrative surrounding the crime and corruption that was prevalent during the years 1890-91. The actual writing was kept as close to the actual newspaper reporting as possible, using real people and places as the backdrop for my story. The way that people talked and acted in the Victorian Age is somewhat different from today. As an example of speech, the use of contractions was seldom used when speaking proper English. Etiquette and morals were of supreme importance among middle and upper-class families. The 1890s were years when enormous wealth was channeled into the hands of the few while poverty saturated the slums of New York City. Police were found to be corrupt, and outlaws ruled the boroughs of Lower Manhattan while the onslaught of innocent immigrants struggled to survive in a new land.
So why read a historical novel? My first answer would be to learn something about the past. To realize that the world was not always the way you find it when you awaken each morning. My second answer would be for the sheer entertainment of reading a chilling mystery from the past.