Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Researching for a Shotgun Marriage with Guest Danica Favorite #Giveaway

The hardest thing about writing historical romance is that you can’t take any fact for granted, like you do today. For example, in Shotgun Marriage, one of the major issues in the story is an orphaned baby Emma Jane decides to raise as her own. Not so much a problem, right? But as I had Emma Jane and Jasper on the run with a baby, I realized something: how does the baby eat?

In this day and age, no big deal, you run to the store and pick up bottles and formula. Not so much in 1881. I knew people used wet nurses back then, but I already had the couple on the run with a baby. How do I add in a wet nurse? My easy story was suddenly getting really complicated.

One of my favorite research resources is looking at old newspapers. Fortunately, in this day and age, I can find a lot of the old newspapers online. As I was reading an old newspaper, looking for inspiration and ideas on how to make my story work, I found the answer: an ad for baby bottles and baby formula! Not only did they have bottles and formula in 1881, but they had all kinds of weird things they used to feed babies back then.

So for a couple, trapped in a cabin with a dying mother, a baby, and a bunch of bandits, with no grocery store or town in sight, feeding that baby without the benefit of a wet nurse would have been possible. I do take pity on Emma Jane, Jasper, and the baby, and they eventually get a wet nurse, but just because I made that part a little easier, things for the couple only get more complicated. Because I’ll admit, I’m not very nice to my characters. But that’s what makes the story interesting, right?

If you haven’t ever taken a look at newspapers from the days of old, I highly recommend looking for one. Not only will you find some fun ads, it’s also interesting to get a glimpse of real life during those times. Granted I’m a bit of a research nerd, but I’m always looking for those little tidbits I can put into a story. I’m amazed at how many fun things from old papers slip in to my stories today. I think it gives a good feel for what people were really like back then. The coolest part, for me, at least, is realizing that we aren’t so different from people in those times.

Have you ever read an old newspaper? What are some of the fun discoveries you’ve made?

Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a free copy of Shotgun Marriage. The winner will have their choice of a paperback or ebook. Winner to be announced in Monday's Weekly Windup post, so be sure to check back on 4/11/16 to see if you've won. 

Book Blurb:
Conveniently Wed

Forced to wed to protect their reputations after being trapped overnight in a mine, Emma Jane and Jasper Jackson's marriage is one in name only. Resenting the choices taken from him, Jasper's determined not to lose his heart. But it's not so easy to stay distanced from his new bride when a gang of bandits abducts them both.

Other young women might be ecstatic to land Leadville's wealthiest bachelor. But Emma Jane would rather have Jasper's love than his family's money. A true bond with her handsome husband seems impossible…until their ordeal leaves Emma Jane caring for an orphaned baby. In reach now is the one thing neither expected—the chance to turn a convenient marriage into a forever family.

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado. Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.

You can connect with Danica at the following places:


  1. The research would have been interesting.

    Some of the adverts in old newspapers are fun.

  2. My paper runs the front page of old issues about once a week. The earliest has been around 1900 and it always has ads with it. Of course the print is tiny, so I really have to strain to read it, but I usually read every word. Great post.

  3. The ads in old newspaper are so interesting. So are some of the articles.

  4. Thanks for stopping by!

    Mary, they are a lot of fun. :)

    Patricia, how cool! I would love it if our paper does that!

    Kim, definitely. I love the articles too.

  5. You can learn a lot by reading old newspapers.The ads are funny sometimes.I use the internet and sometimes microfilm and microfiche. Thanks for sharing. It is nice to know that some papers are recycling the old ads.It may be the only history some read.

    1. Congratulations, Ann! You're the winner of Danica's Shotgun Marriage book. Please contact with your choice of ebook or paperback using the link at the top of the page. :) Thanks! Hope you enjoy the read. :)

  6. That is so interesting. Sometimes I read a historical novel that has something in it and I say to myself, "they didn't have those kind of things back then." Now I am going to have to rethink things I guess. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. I've dug in some old newspapers online. I found one clip describing a Texas flash flood that helped with a scene in my second book. Thanks so much for sharing today and being our guest, Danica. :)

  8. I worked in a newspaper office for a few summers and one of my jobs was to put together the looking back article (5 yrs ago, 10 yrs ago... 100 yrs ago. etc). Getting those big bound stacks of old news off the shelf was the highlight of my week!
    We're a small rural town so the paper only publishes weekly and a lot of families are farmers so very few move away. Seeing family resemblances across the generations is so cool!
    Thank you for the giveaway, Danica!

  9. I've never studied old newspapers, I'm sure you run across some interesting things!

  10. Interesting information on your research, Danica. Our paper puts the "looking back" this week in their editions. It's always informative about what was important years ago. "So-and- so sold some cattle." Thanks for the giveaway of your book!

  11. Yes, I am a history buff so I love looking at old newspapes and in my almost 23 years as a librarian, I looked at an unknown number of articles to help our patrons. I enjoyed learning that baby formula was available in the last years of the 1800s.
    Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed reading about Shotgun Marriage.

  12. So weird! I replied yesterday to the new comments, and I don't see my reply here.

    Ann, I read the articles and the ads, but I love how the ads depict things people didn't think to write about. I wonder how people in the future will see us based on today's ads?

    Stella, I've definitely learned not to question historical accuracy of some things in books. I had a few things I ended up taking out of my books because the copyeditor questioned the accuracy. I had data to back it up, but I thought, most readers probably will just think I made a mistake and not realize that I'd done my research, so I ended up taking some of those details out.

    Crystal, I love that! I've done that, too, and I love how it lends authenticity to my writing, even if my readers don't know it. :)

    Beth, that sounds like a lot of fun! I'd love having your job! In all honesty, I like the research so much that I didn't want to write historical, because I was afraid I'd spend all my time researching and not writing!

    Patty, if you ever get a chance to look at one, I highly recommend it!

    Sherida, those are my favorite parts of newspapers!

    Connie, I'll bet you find all sorts of fun things. I was definitely surprised about the baby formula. I wish I'd found a way to copy the ad to post a picture, because it was so interesting!