Barbara Ellermeier is nothing less than a research genius. She found everything for me. Even the number of cows that my protagonist Wilson Bentley kept in his cowshed. It’s unbelievable what a wealth of information she procures. When working with her, I gain time to write without compromising on the reliability of the historical facts.
— Titus Müller, Random House Germany
Author of 18 books, including the biographical novel »The Snowflake Man«
I plough through historical resources (LOADS of!), then curate the best bits for you. Because I see historical material with the eyes of a novelist.
I’m Dr. Barbara Ellermeier, and I help authors who want to write about historical settings. Professional, bestselling authors hire me to gather material dossiers for them. They refer to me as their “treasure finder” and occasionally even “my truffle hog.”
My research has been woven into 75 historical novels, which have been published by Random House USA and Germany, Lübbe, DroemerKnaur or Hachette Australia. I even wrote my thesis on how to narrate history so that it’s more gripping.
Having worked closely with authors for over 15 years, I have intimate knowledge of every stage of the writing process. I’ve also published history non-fiction and have ghostwritten novels myself.
At home, I work in our personal library of over 10,000 history books (stored in our 450-year-old, half-timbered house in a medieval German village, in case you were wondering).
Together with my husband, I’ve travelled Europe from Scotland to Sicily, from the Biscaya to Poland – exploring archaeological sites, museums, fortresses and castles. On the road, I document and photograph original finds. And I frequently interview history experts on new findings.
Want to receive my latest findings every Tuesday morning?
With my historical resources, I want to make the book research process easier.
So many authors tell me they can’t find proper material on the time and topic – so they can’t start writing. Others tell me they’ve read PILES of books on their topic – and now they are too overwhelmed to start writing.
A few published Historical Fiction Prompts & Resources
Ideas for plots and protagonists, historical background information about your time and setting, in short: everything you need to write about the past.
1600-1650: what sickness could your protagonist suffer from?
Are you in need of an illness, sickness or some other form of human pain — and your novel is set in Elizabethan England? Choose from 85000 medical consultations, held between 1596 and 1634.
1600 in England. Imagine you could hear a patient talking. How she suffers. How she suddenly opens up and reveals everything, because she trusts her doctor … About not getting pregnant, or about getting pregnant and not wanting it. About constipation, bad breath or serious sleep problems — raw, honest confessions of a desperate human seeking help. A woman who worries about her life. In fear of death … When you read these 1600s casebooks, you listen closely. And you’ll also learn how much the patient had to pay … >> Click to read more.
How the »wellcome images database« can help you to conduct research for your next novel
»Wellcome Images« is a database of 100.000 pictures, drawings, sketches & photos. It is connected with the famous Wellcome Library, which stores information about medical history and the human condition.
As an author, you can easily find images for the scenes you want to write… >> Click here to read more.
1700-1800: why isn’t there a novel … about a fireworks expert?
Fireworks — some of my earliest childhood memories are connected to the fireworks after the local autumn fair. As children, we were allowed to stay up late. Very late indeed. We were 3 or 4 years old. And we waited, waited, waited for the fireworks to begin. Suddenly the first one goes off: Bam!
Bam! Bam! Bam!
The darkness of the sky bursts into hundreds of coloured stars, exploding into gigantic flowers and thousands of tiny drops of golden rain… Click here to read the full writing prompt >>