Anyone who knows me well knows that I worked hard to make GILT as historically accurate as I could. I read books. I did as much online research of transcribed primary sources as I could. I scouted locations.
But I will always feel I didn't do enough. Because I know I made mistakes.
Let me backtrack. I wouldn't knowingly leave obvious mistakes in my manuscript before it went to print. Well, one. But the evidence of it only came to my attention after the galleys were printed and I had to let it go. However, I recently read something by Hilary Mantel (author of WOLF HALL, one of my favorite all-time novels, and probably my favorite Tudor novel ever) on historical accuracy. She said (This is not a direct quote, just the gist of it) that she would invent the thoughts in a character's head, but not the color of his wallpaper.
It kills me. I could think of all kinds of excuses (I don't have access to lots of primary sources. I'm 6,000 miles away from the British Library and the Ashmolean and the Bodleian.) and defenses (I didn't use Wikipedia as my main research source!) and qualifiers (most of my readers won't be Tudor historians). But it still kills me. Even if they're not Ph.D.s in 16th Century England, my readers deserve the best. Maybe I could have rented a place in England and spent hours (months, years) scouring primary sources. I should have known more.
But with all writing, as we move onto the next book, we realize that we could have known more with the first book. Could have done things differently. And all we can do is move forward.
And say -- I'm sorry for my mistakes. I'll try to do better next time.