Tuesday, November 10, 2020

An Unusual Year

p. m. terrell

This year has undoubtedly been one for the record books.

In one sense, I discovered my solitary lifestyle is already suited to the restrictions of a pandemic. My writer’s studio is removed from the rest of the house, placing me in a familiar cocoon filled with the characters, settings, and plots that fill my next book. I’ve discovered this to be a blessing, as I have managed to escape for a few hours each day into history. Several years ago, I’d begun transitioning from contemporary fiction to historical fiction, and it had an unexpected benefit in 2020. I found that historical settings were soothing; no matter how dire things became with revolution, pandemics, plagues, or world war, there is the knowledge that the world survived it. The human race moved through it and carried on, many times to peace, prosperity, cooperation, advancement, and renaissance.

However, writing about historical backdrops also compelled me to travel to those settings. Over the years, I’ve met with historians, archeologists, museum curators, university experts, and more. There is nothing like standing on the battlefield itself, especially when it appears so much like it had generations earlier. There is nothing like touring Kilmainham Gaol, where Irish rebels, now revered, were executed or looking at the bullet holes that still grace Dublin’s Old Post Office, or touring the old Viking segment of Dublin Castle. Even if I managed a flight to Ireland, all are closed now, as they have been for most of 2020. It has also been surreal, discovering that while some countries’ citizens are allowed back into Ireland, Americans have not, because the pandemic in the United States is far worse than in many European countries. It has forced me to rely more on memories of my ancestral home.

To work successfully at home:

It helps to have an area dedicated to work, whether an office, he/she shed, or a comfortable spot in the woods.

Routines become crucial, rising at the same time each day, breaking at specific times, and setting the work aside at a particular hour.

Video has become a good friend. Many museums offer digital tours of rooms and whole facilities, historical and educational videos, and much more. Emails and Zoom calls round out my research now.

Learn to exercise outside the gym.

Limit social media. Many people that have been off work or work from home have flocked to social media. Unfortunately, with the upheavals of 2020, it’s easy to get pulled into the negativity. Remember, you control what you see in your newsfeeds. I’ve made a conscious effort to follow Irish photographers. They bring beauty onto my screen, and often their photographs are accompanied by historical information.

Above all, remember this too shall pass. 

p.m.terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 24 books in numerous genres, including suspense, historical, instructional, and general fiction. She is the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina and The Novel Business. Her latest release, A Struggle for Independence, is historical fiction set against Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising. Visit for book trailers, excerpts, behind-the-scenes articles, and much more.

You will enjoy reading p. m. terrell's article in the magazine below, she was the cover January 2014. Just click on this link and scroll to January, 2014.