bviously this is a rather specific choice for the letter ‘O’ but I only have one book on the Ottoman Empire (so far) even though it plays a large role in much of my writing. Every fantasy writer I think has a go-to civilization, country or people when in need of a bit of cultural inspiration. As much as we all like to think of ourselves as special, creative snowflakes, the truth is that ideas don’t pop out of nowhere. They have to be seeded, and from the seed they must be cultivated, added to, given nutrients from outside the writer’s head as much as from inside. Living in Japan gives me a great deal of inspiration, but beyond that, I pull a lot from the Turkish as well, from clothing to language to whole sections of history.
The only historical fiction I ever wrote was set within the Ottoman Empire, specifically in the last days that it held Athens. I knew nothing about this time period, the history or the people, and Ottoman Warfare in particular was a bit of a blank (thanks Wikipedia). Wasn’t it my lucky day, then, when I happened to find this book? It remains one of my favorite little research treasures for all sorts of fiction writing, long and short.
Do you have a favorite place to pick from when researching? Let me know!