Historical / 11 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 […]

Eva Stachniak: On Filling in the Blanks

Eva Stachniak was born in Wroclaw, Poland. She moved to Canada in 1981 and has worked for Radio Canada International and Sheridan College, where she taught English and Humanities. Her first novel of Catherine the Great, The Winter Palace, has been included in the Washington Post 2011 list of Most Notable Fiction and was a #1 international bestseller. Empress of the Night, her second Catherine the Great novel was published in March of 2014. She lives in Toronto, where her latest novel, The Chosen Maiden, was published in January of 2017. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Eva Stachniak […]

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 […]

Writing Dark Fiction

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People seem to like their content with a healthy side of darkness if you go by the books that linger at the top of bestseller lists and the TV shows that consistently draw big audiences. Personally, I am way too soft for actual horror (no thank you Stephen King or Stranger Things,) but I am attracted to stories that have an undercurrent of something frightening or shocking and, possibly, just a bit evil—especially if there are real people involved. Devil In the White City, The Girls, Dr. Death. (5 Tips for Writing a Domestic Thriller) When I first told the […]

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

You know, it’s funny that it took me so long to write The Paris Bookseller—I’ve been carrying Sylvia’s story around inside me since I was 20 years old, which is when I read her memoir, a slim volume called Shakespeare and Company. I found an old paperback of it in a used book bin outside one of the many bookstores in my college town, and since I was an English major obsessed with the 1920s, I read it right away. (Kerri Maher: On Playing the Long Game) I was charmed by Sylvia’s recollections of her bookstore and lending library and […]
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