I am an innately curious person. I am fascinated by a great many things, especially history. I read books from the past, and new books about the past. It astonishes me how many people don't. It realy teaches you a lot about society and how for most of civilization's duration, people have been dealing with the same problems every generation. We leave monuments and ideas behind when we die, and new generations take them up, but most human dramas are the same as they were two thousand years ago.
Specifically, I have been researching a few certain things. First, I've been reading Annie Proulx's "Barkskins," about a family of lumber traders over the course of a couple generations. Fascinating stuff. In addition, I have been doing research on the Byzantine empire, the Eastern Rome that has been mostly forgotten about by the West. This research is for a story I've been considering that tells the tale of the empire from the beginning to its end, through the eyes of a time traveller and his guide, a vampire.
Now this is important: for my own work, I have a hard time writing about the past without having time travel being involved. I feel that the eyes that help narrate the story have to be from our own time, for it to make sense. I don't know why.
Last year I finished a novella about a Batman-like character, who I call Night Shepherd, travelling back in time to try to save King Arthur. This story was perhaps a major landmark in my career, and I heavily researched it, reading about five or six Arthur books before I wrote it. Writing this was a revelation in more ways than one.
I've also been thinking about doing a Viet Nam story, but again with the twist of time travel. I don't know why - I was just sitting there the other day and said to myself: I'm going to write a Viet Nam story.
Anyway, maybe my technique of having time travel involved wil get more readers to understand my presentations of these periods of time. History is long. There have been many things that happened that people just forget and neglect. I don't understand it.