Authors, For Readers, For Writers, Jimmy Patterson Books, KINGDOM OF THE WICKED, Little Brown, Sparkly Books, Sparkly Things, Writing, Writing Life, Ya, ya books, Young Adult Novels

Second drafts, behind-the-scenes, and how to know which facts to keep or cut

i turned this beauty in yesterday!! revisions are my favorite part of the process; they’re where i go in and fine-tune details, check historical accuracy, and decide what to keep or cut away in order to streamline the concept. (in this case, the murder mystery!)

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one question i’m often asked by aspiring writers at book events is: how do i know what to keep and what to change based on historical facts? typically, i base that off of how widely known something is, and what people are most likely to associate it with. (sometimes this is hard because if i learn an awesome fact, but it takes too long to explain and doesn’t add to the story, it gets cut. for some strange reason, waxing poetic on the history of sangria doesn’t really add to the tension of demons roaming the earth, etc, etc. 😉

i’m sharing two small details below that will hopefully help visualize what i mean.

  1. Victoria is Latin for “Victory” and was a popular name in ancient Rome. it was widely used in non-English speaking countries for close to 4,000 years before a certain queen of England was born. (it also happens to be my Italian grandma’s name. her family was from the Calabria region of Italy and they chose the Latin spelling over the Italian.)

most people now associate “Victoria” with the queen of England, so I decided to shift from the Latin spelling to the Italian “Vittoria” to avoid this common misconception.

  1. Sangria: most everyone knows it’s a popular Spanish wine, but i discovered that some historians believe it was originally inspired by an ancient Roman drink called “hippocras”. Another cool bit of history I unearthed was that sangria became super popular in France and England in the 1800s. In the 1800s, English families also started settling in Western Sicily (which is where this book is set), so people in Palermo likely heard of it/drank it. My family–who are from Sciacca, Sicily–have a recipe with red wine + oranges + orange juice that dates back to this timeframe, and they always called it “sangria.”  this is one of those obscure details that gets edited out, though, because the historical trail takes some digging to find.

my paternal grandfather’s family were Italian food importers, and my paternal grandmother’s family owned a restaurant and candy shop, so much of the inspiration behind the food and drink found in this book stems from them. on that side, both sets of my family members are from Italy. (i can’t wait to share more with you!) speaking of sharing more…

i maaaaay start a newsletter that will include facts, inspiration, and behind-the-scene info like this + downloadable family recipes + historical family photos + much more. if you’d like to be notified of when that happens, please be sure to follow this blog and i’ll update with the newsletter link when i have it.

stay tuned for ALLLLLLLLL the fun things coming your way this year!


Pre-order links

🔮 IndieBound

🔮 B&N

🔮 Amazon

🔮 Amazon UK

🔮 Book Depository

🔮 GR

6 thoughts on “Second drafts, behind-the-scenes, and how to know which facts to keep or cut”

  1. I encourage your newsletter idea! I think it sounds fab and as I was reading your blog email today, I thought how much I would love to read or try your family historical sangria recipe. I had hoped it would be in the bottom of your email. So from this fan, I am looking forward to it. I also enjoyed the interesting historical facts in today’s musings! Thank you & happy writing!

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