The Writing Process: Finding Inspiration


Guest Post by Margaret Tanner

Writing ProcessI write historical romance, so how do I get inspiration for my work in progress, or for that matter, all my novels?

Like the heroines in my novels, my forebears left their native shores in sailing ships to forge a new life in the untamed frontiers of colonial Australia. They battled bushfires, hardship and the tyranny of distance in an inhospitable and savage land, where only the tough and resilient would survive. They not only survived but prospered in ways that would not have been possible for them had they stayed in England and Scotland.

I am a fourth generation Australian. We are a tough, resilient people, and we have fought hard to find our place in the world.   We have beautiful scenery, unique wild life, and a bloodied convict history.

I admire heroines who are resourceful, not afraid to fight for her family and the man she loves. I want my readers to be cheering for her, willing her to obtain her goals, to overcome the obstacles put in her way by rugged frontier men who think they only want a wife to beget sons.  A chance for revenge.  To consolidate their fortunes. That love is for fools.  Oh, the victory for the reader when these tough, ruthless men succumb to the heroine’s bravery and beauty and are prepared to risk all, even their lives, to save her.

Then there are the brave young men who sailed thousands of miles across the sea in World War 1 to fight for mother England, the birth country of their parents and grandparents. I also wanted to write about the wives and sweethearts who often waited in vain for their loved ones to return. Who were there to nurture the returning heroes, heal their broken bodies and tormented souls.

This is why I write historical romance, even if it means trawling through dusty books in the library, haunting every historical site on the internet, badgering elderly relatives, and risking snake-bite by clambering around overgrown cemeteries.

Historical novels are informative.  When they contain a dash of romance they are also entertaining. Research is imperative when writing in this genre. Nothing kills your story or reputation quicker than inaccuracy.

I sincerely believe that those who forget the past do so at their peril. Nations should learn from the mistakes of the previous generations and not repeat them, but if the history is not documented, how can new generations learn about it?

Margaret Tanner is an award winning multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically correct.  Her publishers are Whiskey Creek Press, The Wild Rose Press and Books We Love.

Margaret is a member of the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG). Be sure to visit Margaret’s website!  

About Jen Barry

Author of Young Adult novels. Reside in Nashville with my husband, a gorgeous Irishman. Drink too much coffee. Online way too much.

7 thoughts on “The Writing Process: Finding Inspiration

  1. Linda Joyce says:

    I can’t wait to read your book! I really enjoy historicals. And, I so admire historical authors because they have a passion to acurately represent the past while touching modern hearts.

    Wishing you every success with your latest release.


    Linda Joyce

    • margtanner says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thank you for dropping by, I really appreciate it. Glad you admire historical authors, I think we have to do more work than say contemporary authors, because we have to do a lot of research, but for me it is a labour of love.



    • margtanner says:

      Hi Linda,
      I posted a reply to you, but I am not sure that it came out. Anyway, thank you for stopping by and for your good wishes.


  2. Hi Margaret – your last paragraph really resonates with me. It’s astonishing how ignorant many people are about history. For instance, during the first Gulf War I offered some newspapers a book of mine to look at. It was about Iraq in the 1950s, and its then king Faisal II, who was later assassinated. None of them were interested. They only want the sensational NOW headlines.
    Another instance: during the war in East Timor there was a brief television report which mentioned discussions between representatives of the Indonesian, Australian and Portuguese governments. Someone asked in bewilderment what Portugal had to do with it? Not knowing that East Timor was originally a Portuguese colony and therefore one with a Catholic population. A basic cause for much of the trouble.
    We ignore history at our peril. It should be taught properly again in schools. We cannot understand ourselves and present happenings without knowledge of the past.
    And historical novels are a darned good way to get a goot in the door!

  3. margtanner says:

    Hi Monyas,
    Thanks for dropping by. I couldn’t agree with you more, historical novels are a good way to get a foot in the door of knowing what happened in the past, and to stop us from making the same mistakes.



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