historical fiction / 10 posts found

Dolen Perkins-Valdez: On History’s Untold Stories

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of Wench and Balm. She was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction, and was awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the ALA. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Dolen Perkins-Valdez Photo by Norman E. Jones In this post, Dolen discusses how a personal curiosity evolved into a fervent need to share in her new historical fiction novel, Take My Hand, her hope for other writers, and more! Name: Dolen Perkins-ValdezLiterary agent: Stephanie Cabot, Susanna Lea AssociatesBook title: Take […]

6 Practical Tips for Writing Great Historical Fiction

In 2019, the New York Times Style Magazine declared that we are living in a “golden age” of historical fiction. Whatever the reason for this—be it our need to escape a horribly uncertain present or our fear of what the future might bring—as the author of six World War II-influenced novels, I am very happy that people want their fiction immersed in the past. (Entertaining With the Past: How To Write Engaging Historical Fiction) It is a genre, however, which can trip up the unwary writer: We are not, after all, describing times in which we have lived. With that […]

Carole Lawrence: On the Vast Canvas of New York City History

Carole Lawrence is an award-winning novelist, poet, composer, and playwright. In addition to Edinburgh Twilight, Edinburgh Dusk, and Edinburgh Midnight in the Ian Hamilton Mysteries series, she has authored novellas, short stories, and poems―many of them translated internationally. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry and has won the Euphoria Poetry Prize, the Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award, the Maxim Mazumdar playwriting prize, the Jerry Jazz Musician award for short fiction, and the Chronogram Literary Fiction Award. Her plays and musicals have been produced in several countries, as well as on NPR; her physics play, Strings, nominated […]

Entertaining With the Past: How To Write Engaging Historical Fiction

You’ve had your light bulb moment and found a riveting story idea set in the past. Maybe it was inspired by an obituary in the newspaper; you have a family story you are burning to share; you’ve read a poem that ignited your emotions; or you believe there is a gap in an account of a famous period in history that has been neglected and you want to embellish an idea or theory you hold dearly. We can’t always know what is true. There are always alternatives to accounts, different perspectives to share … so let your imagination fly. (How […]

How to Maintain Accuracy Across Multiple Plot Lines in Historical Fiction

Every time I attend a conference, class, or appear on a podcast, they inevitably ask the question: “Are you a pantser or a plotter?” (Research and Storytelling for Successful Historical Fiction) I want to wave the freedom flag with all the pantsers in the room. They describe sitting down at the computer watching as stories pour out of them. From beginning to end, a never-ending flow of brilliance and light. So, I tried the technique. I sat and waited for the muse to strike. I had the idea for a novel, but it was not filling the page, as my […]

Adele Myers: On Family History Inspiring Fiction

Adele Myers grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and has a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently works in advertising and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, son and their rescue dog, Chipper. The Tobacco Wives is her first novel. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Adele Myers In this post, Adele discusses how stories from her family’s past led her to writing her historical fiction novel, The Tobacco Wives, how it went from short story to full novel, and more! Name: Adele MyersLiterary agent: Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow & NesbitBook […]

10 Dos and Don’ts of How to Write Historical Fiction That Sells

(Disclaimer: This article is intended for ordinary mortals like myself who love writing and need to make a living from it, but aren’t perhaps literary geniuses. If you are a literary genius, or of independent means, it may not be for you.) I knew I had to do it. I’d self-published seven books, had my eighth accepted by a publisher, and been commissioned to write another by a second publisher. So I quit writing. (Research and Storytelling for Successful Historical Fiction) After years of writing nonfiction, I could no longer deny that my heart lay in writing fiction. Which meant […]

The Rewards of Writing Epic Fantasy Fiction (After Writing in Another Genre)

My first historical novel, The Magician’s Lie, was published in 2015. When interviewers asked how I started writing historical fiction, I told the truth: It was an accident. I hadn’t meant to become a historical novelist, not exactly. (How to Write Time Travel Historical Fiction.) I’d been writing contemporary fiction until I got a book idea I couldn’t shake: Why is it considered unremarkable for male stage magicians to cut women in half, and what would happen if a female stage magician cut a man in half instead? As I developed the idea, it became clear it should be set […]

Research and Storytelling for Successful Historical Fiction

“It must be easy writing historical fiction. You already know what’s happened.” That comment always makes me laugh. When you write historical fiction, you wonder what really happened. According to historian Patrick Collinson, “It is possible for competent historians to come to radically different conclusions on the basis of the same evidence. Because, of course, 99 percent of the evidence, above all, unrecorded speech, is not available to us.” That 99 percent leaves a lot of gray areas. Happily, those gray areas are where historical novelists get to play. That’s where our imagination fills in what might’ve happened behind and […]

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

As a writer of historical fiction, research forms an integral part of my work—and indeed is something I have always enjoyed. In my previous career as a theatre director, researching the time period of the play that I was directing was always one of the things I relished the most, and so it is no surprise that in my writing, I am drawn to stories from the past that allow me to lose myself in another time and place. My latest novel, The Widow’s Last Secret, is set in England in the early Victorian period; a time of amazing inventions […]
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