Eleven Questions…

WITH SHARON BRADSHAW   Tell me your story. My Grandmother’s books were too heavy for a child’s small hands, but I loved their age and the stories she told me about the people who had owned them. I discovered faerytales inside the illustrated books at school: knights, princesses, and dragons who breathed fire. My mother…

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Transported in Time and Place – by Sophie Schiller

A Writer of History

Sophie Schiller returns to the blog today to talk about being transported in time and place while writing her latest novel Island on Fire. Many thanks, Sophie.

When I set out to write ISLAND ON FIRE, a novel set during the last days of St. Pierre, Martinique, I knew I had to “get in the trenches.” I knew I couldn’t rely on research alone to recreate a town besieged by an erupting volcano at the turn of the last century. I was also determined to evoke the unique culture, colors, tastes, sounds, and smells of the French West Indies. To do this right I had to go there myself and walk in the footsteps of my characters. I had to feel the cobblestones beneath my feet, smell the fragrant flowers, and hear their musical Creole dialect. To immerse my readers in Martinique, I had to immerse myself in that…

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Fiction takes you places

A Writer of History

Fiction = stories. But no story is complete without at least one reader’s imagination, empathy, personal experience, mood, and openness. Authors find a story to tell – readers decide more precisely what and where that story is.

For example, I set Lies Told in Silence in a village in northern France at the beginning of World War One. It’s your job to fill in the details of the local shops, the church, and the main square. [photos are from my travels]

Soon they turned onto Rue Principale, where cobbled streets lined with squat, red-roofed houses ran perpendicular to the road. Down one lane, Helene saw a group of children playing skittles and an old woman in a black dress sweeping her front step. Faded coveralls, rough linen shirts and long aprons hung from clotheslines strung across the lane from second storey windows. As they neared the centre of Beaufort, the…

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Writing Historical Fiction: Make Sure You Write the Right Thing

Cryssa Bazos

I had the pleasure of getting to know E.M Powell, initially when she was one of the co-editors of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, and continuing through our work on the HNS Social Media Team for the Historical Novelist Society. She is a bestselling author of medieval historical thrillers and has always been very generous with her time and encouragement of other writers.

I first approached E.M Powell to participate in a genre discussion about how historical fiction and historical romance often co-mingle in works not typically considered romantic. The result is this wonderful guest post about understanding one’s genre, invaluable advice for all writers!

Writing Historical Fiction: Make Sure You Write the Right Thing, by E.M Powell

Leighton-Tristan_and_Isolde-1902 Tristan and Isolde by Edmund Leighton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons When Cryssa asked first asked me if I’d like to be interviewed on her blog, my answer was of course a…

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Historical Perspective: Appealing to Modern Readers

A Writer of History

Cryssa Bazos and I met while attending a writer’s workshop in Toronto several years ago. We stayed in touch, occasionally checking in with one another on writing related developments while offering encouragement and empathy as needed. I’m delighted to host Cryssa whose debut novel – Traitor’s Knot – is receiving great reviews. Over to you, Cryssa.

Historical Perspective: Appealing to Modern Readers by Cryssa Bazos

In a work of fiction, you often find the following disclaimer included in the front matter: “This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons is purely coincidental.” Historical fiction should include an additional notice to reader: “The opinions expressed by the characters do not reflect the opinions of the author.”

People of the past are both the same and uniquely different than our contemporaries. From a physical and behavioural perspective, we are still driven by primal needs: to love, to survive…

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Looking back – 13 insights on historical fiction

A Writer of History

In 2017, I asked readers and authors to look under the covers of historical fiction and examine what sets the genre apart and makes it tick. Today, I’ve gathered together various insights that resonate for me.

Historical fiction adds context to modern-day social problems … my preferred approach is to let characters and their responses to the conditions around them inform the reader. Janie Chang author of Dragon Springs Road

The magic ingredient of historical fiction is the emotional truth of the time, the landscape of consciousness in the era described. Simon Parke author of The soldier, the gaoler, the spy and her lover

I build my worlds in concentric circles. The outer circle is the social, political, religious, economic and historical backdrop within which my story takes place … The next circle in will include the ‘props’ that the characters interact with … the innermost circle is the…

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Dressmaking During the Regency

Every Woman Dreams...

Often in a Regency book, we find a situation where the woman requires a new day dress, gown, riding habit, etc. I was reading a book of late where the modiste finished several gowns in two days, but was that possible, especially as the gowns were all hand sewn?

nfball.jpg In reality, the answer is not as clear cut as one might imagine. It depends on so many variables; therefore, no exact answer can be had.  Is the modiste in London or a provincial town?  How important is the client? For example, a duchess would command more service than somebody unknown.  How many other clients is the modiste dealing with at the same time? When does the London Season begin? Everyone would be looking for new gowns with the onset of the Season, so modistes would be overrun with business. In A Touch of Scandal, I have Lady Eleanor Fowler…

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The Evolution of Aidan

Today is my sweet boy's third birthday. He has brought me endless laughter and sheer joy. The day the breeder placed this tiny red ball of fluff in my arms, he immediately latched onto my hair—and my heart. He has not relinquished his hold on the latter ever since.

Cover Crush: The Room on Rue Amélie

One of the first thing that draws me as a reader to a book is the cover. As an author, I’m always curious about the design involved in a cover:  the colors, the fonts, the imagery, etc. The covers I share here are not a promotion for the book itself, simply an admiration of the…