In Depth on Historical Research with Anthony Venutolo
In this weeks interview I talk with Anthony Venutolo, author of Front Page Palooka. We dive into a few interesting topics, primarily focusing on how to do the historical research necessary for writing a book set in the past. We also talk about what Anthony does to ‘get in the 1950s zone.’
Pond5 – Source for retro video images for his book trailer. Has a lot of stock images and video.
Animoto – easy online video editing. Windows Movie Maker is free with Windows and is also a good option.
Straight from the Fridge Dad – Book which helped Anthony find some of historical research for the language that he used in his book.
Awesome Gang – Marketing site for books, but didn’t deliver.
Anthony was invited to write a book for part of the “Fight Card” series, you can find more about that here (click). He put off writing the book for a long time (2 years). Paul and Mel (see above) put out a book a month. Anthony contributed ‘Front Page Palooka’ – it was a great deal for him as they edit the book and do the covers, but don’t take a cut or ask for any money. It’s a labor of love for them and a great deal for Anthony.
Anthony has been writing non-fiction for longer with several prestigious freelance writing credits to his name.
Has been blogging since 2007, now has a site with bits of flash fiction/poetry etc. Always had a retro element to the flash fiction he wrote and this got him on the radar of Paul Bishop to write a book for the series.
Front Page Palooka was created by fleshing out a short story that he had previously written.
This is what originally captured my attention. He created a book trailer with stock video clips, it was way beyond anything I’d seen for books before. You can view that video here.
He used Movie Maker to put his trailer together – basic, but it gets the job done. Can be used by regular people! Later moved onto the online video editor Animoto, had to spend a little money on this site for HD video etc, but it wasn’t expensive.
All done, Anthony spent around $200 on his video and many hours. Some people say they are a waste of time but he would do it again.
The book is set in 1954. This called for a lot of historical research.
Used a lot of historical photos to ‘put himself in the time.’ Also listened to music from the era while writing the novel.
Watched a lot of film noir to learn about the language and also get in the zone. Also found a slang dictionary from the time called, ‘Straight from the Fridge Dad.’
In terms of current events, Wikipedia was amazing as it gives historical events by month, even as far back as the 1950s.
Some more research tools that didn’t come up in the show…
The US Dept of Labor Statistics – their inflation calculator really helped with backwards pricing. Some readers will have a rough idea of prices of the day and these can really stand out if you haven’t done your historical research.
Vintage Los Angeles – A godsend of a historical research site, it’s on Facebook and on YouTube. It’s curated by Alison Martino, daughter of singer Al Martino (who was also in The Godfather).
Internet Archive – All of the historical radio dramas from the 40-50s…
Retronaut – More vintage goodness.
“I am using a laptop but everything else around me does feel like Hemingway dropped by and left this travel trunk”
“If you don’t have a deadline man, you are not going to deliver”
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