Writing Historical Fiction: Anachronistic Terms

My editor e-mailed me the other day to inquire whether I was right to have characters in 1803 refer back to the Revolutionary War. We both googled the question for a while and finally settled on using War of Independence instead.

Similarly, when my newlywed couple Betsy and Jerome travel to Washington and dine with President Jefferson, I couldn’t refer to the White House. The presidential residence wasn’t painted until after the British burned it in 1814, leaving soot-blackened stone walls. So I had to call it the President’s Mansion. Those  are the kinds of mistakes it is so easy to make . . . and which I hope I have avoided. Only time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime, I’ve had a lot of fun tracking down that sort of information.

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