Have you ever wondered why teachers want you to use novels for book reports and non-fiction books for history reports?
If the writer of the historical novel has done a lot of research, why can’t you use their novel instead of a non-fiction book?
The answer is the plot. A novel writer obeys the needs of the plot. Details can be changed or imagined as necessary if that detail will allow or disallow the characters to do something in the novel.
However, a writer of non-fiction historical books obeys the thesis (the one point he/she wants to make about that time period). So he/she can’t change details and can never imagine them. The writer has to present all the details that will help prove the point.
In “Precious Norman Honor” I did my best to use historically accurate details, though a few times I did have to leave things out. A few other times I imagined details because I could not find out how such-and-such was done from the non-fiction books.