Writing Historical Fiction discussion

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message 1: by Carla, The Virtually-Real Modern Historical Mod (new)

Carla René (carlaren) | 84 comments Mod
I might as well get the ball rolling.

My name is Carla René, and while I'm a professional stand-up comic and tv/stage actor, I'm also a published author. My first full-length novel, entitled The Gaslight Journal , will be released on Thanksgiving Day in DTP format, and I couldn't be more excited.

I've always sort of been behind trends, and so didn't discover my first Jane Austen until about 10 years ago, and once I did, I found I couldn't get enough. So now I'm also a fan of Edith Wharton, Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Dickens. I'm currently working on a group of historical fiction short-stories (don't think I've ever seen one in existence) that I hope to pull together into a collection.

I live just outside of Nashville, TN with two whiny cats who treat me as if I'm the hired help.

Welcome!


message 2: by Steven (new)

Steven Wyatt (stevenwyatt) | 1 comments Hi all, just joined Goodreads and I'm posting to introduce myself. I have an historical fiction WiP covering the Great War and Jazz Age Paris on authonomy.com, 'Presumed Killed'. Always happy to chat with fellow HF enthusiasts.


message 3: by Malena (new)

Malena Copeland | 11 comments I just joined goodreads.(1/21/11) What a wonderful idea for a group. I am writing a HF/fantasy piece also taking place in Paris and other parts of France. I am very excited to see other people's WiPs and would love for others to take a look at mine. I am a teacher of 15 years. I taught elementary school, High School Spanish and US History. I also taught religious school for several years. I am particularly interested in the Middle Ages, but I love good writing in general. Nice to find others with the same interests and dreams!


message 4: by Carla, The Virtually-Real Modern Historical Mod (new)

Carla René (carlaren) | 84 comments Mod
Steven wrote: "Hi all, just joined Goodreads and I'm posting to introduce myself. I have an historical fiction WiP covering the Great War and Jazz Age Paris on authonomy.com, 'Presumed Killed'. Always happy to ch..."

Heya Steven! Just now seeing this. So glad to have you here. Can't wait to read something of your offering.


message 5: by Carla, The Virtually-Real Modern Historical Mod (new)

Carla René (carlaren) | 84 comments Mod
Malena wrote: "I just joined goodreads.(1/21/11) What a wonderful idea for a group. I am writing a HF/fantasy piece also taking place in Paris and other parts of France. I am very excited to see other people's..."

Welcome, Malena. We're a new and flagging group, but I think in time we'll gain some avid followers and this will turn into quite an active place to discuss HF.


message 6: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline (jaxtrembles) Hi all. Although I can't say I'm a writer, I absolutely love reading historical fiction and would love to read and comment on anyones up and coming works. So excited to be a part of this group.
-Jacqueline


message 7: by Carla, The Virtually-Real Modern Historical Mod (new)

Carla René (carlaren) | 84 comments Mod
Welcome to the group, Jacqueline!

I think Malena posted something to another thread, so please do comment and offer suggestions. I haven't had a chance to do so, but intend to very soon.

C'mon authors, post sumthin!


message 8: by Lorna (new)

Lorna | 1 comments Hi I'm Lorna and I have a Wip set in the mid 1700s North America along the Great Lakes region. It is an adventure story. I am working on an online course based on the Hero's Journey to help me with the story.


message 9: by Carla, The Virtually-Real Modern Historical Mod (new)

Carla René (carlaren) | 84 comments Mod
Hi Lorna, and welcome!

Y'know, your idea for the online course sounds the absolute PERFECT subject for your blog. Let your future book-buyers follow your hero's journey.


message 10: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Lewis | 19 comments Hi Richard. I love British Celtic History, not much information to go on so plenty for imagination to fill in.


message 11: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 4 comments Val, try7 anything written by Morgan Llywellyn -- she's an amazing historian!


message 12: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Lewis | 19 comments Hi Richard, I did read one of her books years ago. Can't remember the title off hand but it was about Brian Boru, the Irish king. Another good write about Irish history is Caseal Mor, I have rea a couple of his books as well but there are not many who write about the British Celts which is what I am doing.


message 13: by Alex (new)

Alex Tardiff (alextardiff) | 1 comments Hello everyone! I'm Alex Tardiff, and I haven't been published yet, but I do currently have three WiPs that occupy my time when I'm not teaching. I know three is much, but they came along at different times, and one is in a revision phase, while I write the second, and continue to outline the third.

The first WiP, which I am currently revising, isn't historical fiction, but instead it is a fictional memoir of a college student EMT suffering with PTSD and depression following the shooting at Virginia Tech. My second work is a "choose your own adventure" children's book set during Julius Caesar's Civil War. My last project, which is just in the outline and research phase, is centered around Heinrich Schliemann and his quest to find the city of Ilium.


message 14: by Malena (new)

Malena Copeland | 11 comments That sounds cool, especially the choose your own adventure!


message 15: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 20 comments A quick intoduction. I'm Harold Titus. My historical novel is "Crossing the River," about the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the British army's desperate return to Boston. I'm a retired 8th grade English and American history teacher. I worked on this project off and on for 17 years. My grandchildren have something to remember me by when they have learned some of life's lessons and have children of their own.


message 16: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Lewis | 19 comments I left school at 14 but I already loved history and always recieved high marks in my exams. Once I could afford it, I bought history books and continued learning all I could. I am now in my 70s and have bookcases of history refernce books.
As I also love to write, history is in all my books. My new book out is set in Celtic Briton in 577AD about the Saxon invasion but told from the Celts view as their country was taken over. Like you I have left something for my children, grandchildren and now my greatgrandchildren of which I already have 4 and number 5 to arrive any day.
Good luck with your writing, it is a lovely hobby, doesn't make much money but a lot of fun.


message 17: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 20 comments Thank you, Valerie. If nothing else, you hope to pass on to your children and grandchildren the fact that pursuing a very difficult to attain dream is a worthwhile endeavor regardless of whether you actually attain it. You grow in the attempt. You set an example. (But it's nice to achieve some success)


message 18: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Lewis | 19 comments Thank you Harold.
I have a 12 year old grandson who is slightly autistic and since my novel 'The Celtic Fabler' came out he has bombarded me with questions about Celtic history and is taking a lot of interest in history which, for me, is a reward. I think everyone should know where they come from.


message 19: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 20 comments Absolutely.


message 20: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) I'm Bryn, and write historical fiction on the 12th-13th century Mongols. I have the first of three out (independently published and proud).

I crave to talk to fellow writers about the issues and the ups and downs of creativity and historical research and getting your book into existence.


message 21: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 20 comments Welcome, Bryn.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi I'm Louise and I'm new here. I haven't got anything published yet, but I'm starting upon the long and difficult road to publication, someday, somehow.
I written two MSS, one near completion, set during the Indian Mutiny and the second is only a first draft set in an Indian prison following the past and present of a political prisoner. Both are set during the times of the British Indian Empire.
I am new to the whole writing and publishing world so any advice would go a long way.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi everyone! I am an unpublished writer from Bristol, England. I am currently working on the first of several novels I have plans for, telling the story of my hometown, Bristol, throughout the ages.

I joined Goodreads a few months ago but haven't been a regular visitor, but I will be around much more as I am so pleased to find a website where I have a plethora of people who love HF as much as me! Please feel free to drop me a message or add me to your circle!


message 24: by Gary (new)

Gary Inbinder | 1 comments Bryn wrote: "Gary wrote: "Hi! My name's Gary; I have two published Historical novels: Confessions of the Creature, a re-imagined sequel to Frankenstein, told from the creature's perspective, and The Flower to t..."

Thanks, Bryn!


message 25: by Anna (new)

Anna Castle (annacastle) Hi! I'm Anna Castle, unpublished writer of historical
mysteries. Unpubbed but optimistic, I should say. I have an agent, which is something. She is currently shopping Murder by Misrule, set in London in 1586, in which Francis Bacon is charged with discovering who is killing barristers at Gray's Inn. Francis does the thinking; his assistant Thomas Clarady does the fencing and the wooing.

I'm so happy to find this group! Historical fiction has its own special agonies and delights. It will be wonderful to have fellow travellers with whom to commiserate.


message 26: by Martin (new)

Martin Turnbull (martin_turnbull) | 10 comments Anna wrote: "Hi! I'm Anna Castle, unpublished writer of historical
mysteries. Unpubbed but optimistic, I should say. I have an agent, which is something. She is currently shopping Murder by Misrule, set in Lond..."


Best of luck, Anna! It's impressive that you got as far as getting an agent. After my 46 queries resulted in 46 polite "No thank you"s, I went the self-pub route which, as it's turned out, is very doable and very satisfying. We're lucky to be writing in an age where such a thing is even possible. Keep us posted!


message 27: by Bryn (last edited May 11, 2012 02:44PM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) Yes, hello, Anna, and it's a giant step to have an agent.
Me, I learnt about indie and decided I'm an independent sod, after 8 queries to agents. I've heard 90 or so is an average figure before one gets an agent, or do I exaggerate?

It'd be great to talk with fellow hist fic writers.


message 28: by Karen (new)

Karen Klink (karenklink) | 20 comments Gary: Too bad a URL isn't available for posts here. It would be nice if yours had one pointing to where we could pick up your book(s).


message 29: by Anna (new)

Anna Castle (annacastle) I'm Bryn, and write historical fiction on the 12th-13th century MongolsI love Mongols! Several years ago I read a book called Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. I forget the author's name (bad Anna!): he's an anthropologist, I believe. A fascinating culture and history, indeed.


message 30: by Anna (new)

Anna Castle (annacastle) Re: agents. Yes, people say you should send 100 queries before you give up. But it's so slow and tedious, I don't know how anyone manages that many when there are so many options. I sent out 80 query letters and got responses (mostly no) from about half. The rest just fell into the bit bucket, I guess. I had just started querying small publishers when this agent offered to represent my book. So, we'll see how that goes. I may well join you indie folks in a year or two!


message 31: by Bryn (last edited May 13, 2012 04:55PM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) Anna wrote: "I love Mongols! Several years ago I read a book called Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. I forget the author's ..."

Ah, I can tell you that: Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World - yes, and he has a background in tribal peoples, understands them - has written on Native Americans. And the dear man got his book, and hence my guy Genghis - seen through new and unhostile eyes - into the non-fiction bestseller lists. I love Jack Weatherford.

Us indie folk will be here to welcome you if ever and whenever those agents and publishers p you off too much.


message 32: by Elaine M. (new)

Elaine M. (brookibrik) | 4 comments Hi, I'm Elaine, discovered your group and registered
immediately. Vibrant, lively discussions, lovely. My
reading list has grown enormously in the last five minutes.
I am an amateur daunted by research, my main interest is
in sort of ' long, short story' pieces, in my own work, mainly
escapist. My question , 'Is there a place for free verse,
shorter prose in H.F'.?


message 33: by Patricia (new)

Patricia O'Sullivan | 3 comments Murdo wrote: "Hi, my name is Murdo Morrison. My book Roses of Winter is set in WW2 Scotland. I was happy to find a group devoted to writing historical fiction."

Murdo's book is really well done. I absolutely fell in love with his characters.


message 34: by Patricia (new)

Patricia O'Sullivan | 3 comments Harold wrote: "A quick intoduction. I'm Harold Titus. My historical novel is "Crossing the River," about the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the British army's desperate return to Boston. I'm a retired 8t..."

Harold, is Frederick Mackenzie the one who wrote a diary about his service? Did he serve during the occupation of Newport? I relied heavily on the diary of a British soldier with that name to write my novel about the occupation of Newport, RI.


message 35: by Harold (last edited Jun 07, 2012 10:57PM) (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 20 comments Patricia,

The very same person. Here is what I wrote about him in my Author's Notes, which wasn't included in my novel.

Frederick MacKenzie (1730?-1824), the son of a Dublin merchant, received his commission in the 23rd Regiment, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, in 1745. Having experienced a difficult sea voyage, MacKenzie and his family arrived in New York in June 1773. Fourteen months later he and his regiment were transferred to Boston. His account is the most detailed of Dr. Joseph Warren's 1775 oration commemorating the Boston Massacre, delivered in the Old South Church. MacKenzie was promoted to captain after his participation in the rescue of Colonel Smith's expeditionary force April 19.

It was MacKenzie's report of the disordered state within Fort Washington, information he had received from a deserter, that persuaded General Howe in November 1776 to order its capture. Following the fort’s surrender, MacKenzie witnessed Hessian soldiers stripping captured Americans of their clothing. MacKenzie felt ashamed. That night he wrote in his journal, “It is right to treat our Enemies as if they might one day become our friends.”

MacKenzie was also present in the bloodless capture of Newport, Rhode Island. Billeted thereafter in Rhode Island, he was promoted to major in 1780. A year later he was transferred to New York City, where he remained for the duration of the War. In 1787 he was awarded a lieutenant colonelcy.

What is the title of your novel about the occupation of Newport?


message 36: by Patricia (new)

Patricia O'Sullivan | 3 comments Harold wrote: "Patricia,

There very same person. Here is what I wrote about him in my Author's Notes, which wasn't included in my novel.

Frederick MacKenzie (1730?-1824), the son of a Dublin merchant, rec..."


It is called A Notable Occupation. Not published yet. It is in stage 2 of my writing process. This means it is done and the beta readers have made suggestions which I've followed up on. Now it needs a professional editor.

The story deals with a Jewish family from St. Eustatius who move to Newport and get involved in arms dealing to American rebels. Some of them leave before the British occupy Newport and continue to import arms from St. Eustatius. The one family member who remains in Newport get caught up in the conflict between loyalist Jews and patriot Jews. She becomes romantically involved with a British military doctor, but is blackmailed by her slaves (who are rebel agents) to spy for the rebels.

I am definitely going to read your novel. I owe a great debt to Frederick MacKenzie for keeping that diary. His description of daily life in occupied Newport was essential to my writing.


message 37: by Harold (new)

Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 20 comments I only read that portion of his diary that pertained to my novel's subject matter. He seemed to be a decent human being.

I will look forward to reading your book when it come out.


message 38: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader Hello Everyone! My name is Helena Schrader. I am relatively new to Goodreads and only starting to explore groups -- but this looked like the right place to be!

I have been writing historical fiction since I was in school, but I didn't get the courage to attempt publication until after I had a PhD in history and had successfully published four non-fiction history books with commercial publishers.

A short aside on the topic of agents: no less than 18 agents rejected (unread) my manuscript on women pilots in WWII all with the justification that "there was no market for the topic." Since I had little to lose, I submitted it to six publishers. Half of these were interested, and not only was the book published, I have now sold the TV rights. So much for agents!

Back to my introduction. I earned a PhD in History from the University of Hamburg with a dissertation about the mastermind behind the Valkyrie Plot against Hitler. The dissertation was published in Germany and I later adapted it for a less-academic public and published in the UK as "Codename Valkyrie." I subsequently published non-fiction works about women pilots in WWII and the Berlin Airlift.

But none of my publishers were interested in fiction, although I believe (and I suspect most of you would agree with me!) that historical fiction can make history more accessible and understandable to a wider public than pure history. In light of the above experience with agents, I decided to self-publish my novels.

By the time I took this decision, I had a back-log of finished (but unpublished) novels and so published a dozen books in relatively quick succession. To date I have released three books set in WWII, three set in the Middle Ages, and six set in ancient Sparta, including the third and last book of my Leonidas trilogy due for release this September.

My next project will take me back to the Middle Ages and I hope Goodreads will prove a good platform for discussing ideas, sharing drafts and hearing constructive criticism. I look forward to hearing from as many of you as are interested in my works!

Helena P. Schrader


message 39: by Bryn (last edited Jun 30, 2012 03:09PM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) Welcome, Helena. That's quite a tale, about your writing/publishing history; and welcome too to the great new world of indie publishing. You have an interesting set of novels there, I'll go investigate. Goodreads is a fantastic home for discussing both reading and writing. Hear, hear to what you say about historical fiction.


message 40: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader Thanks, Bryn. As I move frequently, the idea of an online network of writers/readers with a common interest in historical fiction exciting. The biggest problem may be finding time to communicate! Have a good day!
Helena


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Good morning, all -
I am Diana Wilder. I learned of this group from Bryn on Ancient and Medieval Fiction.

I have a couple out, self-published, and several in the pipeline.

I write in several periods:
The American Civil War
1830's Paris
Ancient Egypt (I have three books out, comprising part of a cycle, with two others underway)

What I like about history is that it involves humans who are, by their very nature, fascinating. I can't understand how anyone can make history boring.

Thanks for letting me join: now to look around...


message 42: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader Diana wrote: "Good morning, all -
I am Diana Wilder. I learned of this group from Bryn on Ancient and Medieval Fiction.

I have a couple out, self-published, and several in the pipeline.

I write in several p..."


Welcome, Diana! I noticed some of your entries in the Ancient and Medieval Fiction group. Your Egyptian books look intriguing. Have you been to Egypt? I just managed to make it before the "Arab Spring" and it entirely changed my perception of Ancient Egypt for the better. I look forward to hearing more from you.
Helena


message 43: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 13, 2012 01:03PM) (new)

Thank you, Helena. I had a trip all booked through Thomas Cook Travel in the early 80's. (Thomas Cook provided the steamboats that lifted the siege of Khartoum, by the way...) And then we had the Achille Lauro incident, the hijacking of the airliner where they target Amerian citizens, and THEN the Cairo police started rioting. I went to Hawaii that year (I'd lived there).

Some day... There is nothing that can beat actually seeing and feeling the area. Photos are a very poor second.

Your writings sound wonderful - and hooray for the TV rights!


message 44: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader Diana,
Thank you, and thanks for the "trivia" about Thomas Cook. I didn't know they had any role in lifting the seige of Khartoum and, romantic that I am, stories like that are particularly appealing. I admit, I'm stupid enough to actual favor Thomas Cook when making reservations because of something like that!

As for travel, I know what you mean. We cancelled a trip to Egypt because of the massacre at the Hatscheput Temple. We went to Cyprus instead, and that's when my entire love affair with the Mediterranian started....

I can't say I regret my love affair. It has inspired my Templar books and the books on ancient Sparta, but, who knows, if I'd gone to Egypt instead, I probably would have ended up writing books about Ancient Egypt. I found ancient Egyptian culture not only fascinating but very attractive and uncannily "familiar." That's a bad word, but I can't think of a better one at the moment. I can best express it this way: I find modern Arab society, for example, or ancient Mexico far more alien and difficult to identify with than ancient Egypt. Just a personal reaction, I know, but a powerful one. I need to be able to identify with a society before I can write about it.

I do hope you will get to Egypt one day. You might consider flying directly to Luxor and taking a cruise boat to Aswan and back. The reports I've seen suggest that the situation is calm in southern Egypt and conditions comparatively safe. You would see many of the important ancient sites and get a feel for the Nile. My concern is that tourism in Egypt could become increasingly difficult, if more radical islamist governments come into power. There are elements that dislike Westerners and their influence. In a worst case scenario, a radical Muslim government might consider the momuments of the ancient Egyptians anathama because they are not Islamic. A Taliban-like regime could conceivably not only close the ancient monuments to visitors, but destroy them. Just a nightmare of mine....

Helena


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Hazel wrote: "Hannah L wrote: "Hello everyone I am very glad that I have found this group as I have been looking for a historical fiction group for a while!

Well, my name is Hannah and I am from Scotland. I am ..."


Thank you Hazel - I will check out the link now!


message 46: by Margo (last edited Jul 14, 2012 03:28PM) (new)

Margo Brooks (margo_brooks) | 1 comments I love historical fiction and have decided to finally work on a novel about the Oneida. I am looking forward to hearing about people's tips and trials in this challenging genre.


message 47: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West | 16 comments Jeff wrote: "Good morning, It's been a bit of push to find the exact catgory for the current work. It is historical/fiction to say the least. I combined the actual history of WWII with two warring vampire clans..."

Sounds interesting, Jeff. I'm not a total fan of paranormal historical fiction, but as long as your vampires don't sparkle I'm good with that ;) And it's something I don't think has been done before too, so that always makes for interesting reading.


message 48: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Dawson | 1 comments Hazel, Nope, they don't sparkle at all. These are true blook suckers with very few in any human emotions. There main goal is destroying an enemy who is threatening their way of life.


message 49: by Linda Bell (new)

Linda Bell Brighton (linda_bell_brighton) | 1 comments Hi! I'm a reader of historical books, regardless if they are contained in thrillers, are "autobiographical," fantasy, etc.

I write the (not yet accepted) Sidonia the Sorceress series set in 156os, Europe/HRE.


message 50: by Suzy (new)

Suzy Henderson (suzyhenderson) | 9 comments Hi everyone. I've recently joined Goodreads and only just found this group. I love historical fiction but I'm particularly interested in both World War periods. Right now I'm writing my first novel. (been writing for a while but never sought publication)
Looking forward to joining in.


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