They say that authors shouldn’t bother readers with all the background research that goes into making a good story. No matter what the "iceberg theory of writing" says, though, my favorite parts of my favorite books have always been the afterwords that explain the relationship a story has to a real world historical event.
Most of what I know about the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars comes from the Honor Harrington series. I hadn’t ever heard of the Zulu wars before I read the Confederation series by Tanya Huff. I wrote an entire article for Tor about science fiction stories that shed light on obscure history, because that's my passion.
I started this newsletter in defiance of conventional wisdom. I believe the intersection of real life concepts and fantastical stories is interesting. Sure, lots of stuff I learn won't necessarily make it into my actual fiction writing, or even my non-fiction pieces, but is still too interesting to just trash — especially since it might be useful for other storytellers looking to break out of the Medieval European mold.
My primary interests — and thus the typical focus of these deep dives — tend to be questions about how non-industrial people live, with a particular focus on the Bronze Age. I try not to spend too much time on well-known stuff like Classic civilizations and post-industrial wars, although I do sometimes dig into science that's relevant for near-future sci-fi, like aerogels. My goal is to surprise and delight readers with new information, not to become another expert in well-trod spaces.
Professionally, I used to be a lawyer, then pivoted to teaching history, then pivoted again to software quality assurance — but writing has always been my passion. My non-fiction articles have been published by professional outlets like Tor.com & SFWA. My fiction has been published in outlets like Corvidae Courier and Worldbuilding Magazine. I'm a First Reader for the pro-rate speculative fiction magazine Diabolical Plots. To support all that, I keep meticulous notes using the Obsidian personal knowledge management tool, the community of which awarded me Content Creator of the Year for 2021 thanks to my notetaking tips & tricks. The Konik Method for Making Useful Notes also won Obsidian October 2022.