Historical Fiction Influences

The Proud Sinner or How I Tried to Channel Agatha Christie by Priscilla Royal

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Featured Book, Historical Fiction Influences, Medieval Great Britain | 2 comments

One of the criticisms often leveled at historical mystery fiction writers is that we emphasize the history rather than the mystery in our books. Not so, in my less than humble opinion. Several historical mystery writers do very well with both, a conclusion that is probably shared by most of us. That said, I freely admit that my series tends to be very character driven with a background of, I hope, historical surprises. So when I came to write The Proud Sinner, my thirteenth book coming out this month, I challenged myself to be more devious in plotting. Learning to develop my inner...

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Research and The Return of the Raven Mocker by Donis Casey

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in 20th Century US, Featured Book, Historical Fiction Influences, Historical Research | Comments Off on Research and The Return of the Raven Mocker by Donis Casey

Primary Research When the Raven Mocker returns to Boynton, Oklahoma, in the fall of 1918, he brings with him the great worldwide influenza pandemic that claimed fifty million lives. World War I is still raging in Europe, but Alafair Tucker is fighting her own war as the epidemic sweeps through like wildfire. What a perfect time for someone to commit murder. Who’s going to notice? In 2004, when I was writing my first Alafair Tucker mystery, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, I was particularly concerned with the kind of life Alafair would have led in 1912, so much of my research consisted of...

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Out of the Fog by Michael Llewellyn

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in 19th Century U.S., Featured Book, Historical Fiction Influences, Historical Tidbits | 2 comments

Most historical novelists know the rush of unexpected inspiration, of stumbling across an obscure tidbit from another time and place that switches on that creative lightbulb. My most unusual encounter came in the French Quarter when I did something as innocuous as venture onto the second-floor gallery of the 1833 Creole townhouse where I lived. It was one of those mild south Louisiana winter nights, and while I stood there, a fogbank swarmed off the Mississippi River, so thick I could barely see across Dauphine Street. Although fog inhibits sight, it can magnify sounds and smells. I became...

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Storytellers: The Scribes of Old Fires by Cheri Lasota

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Historical Fiction Influences | 4 comments

Every now and again, a reader will ask me how I came up with my stories. The short answer? I know and I don’t know. And that’s the absolute truth. US Journalist John Kieran wrote: “I am part of all that I have read.” That sentiment has always touched me deeply. Reading is something I internalize, something I breathe in and never exhale. I still remember 15 years after reading Charles Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities how the character Sydney Carton made me feel: awestruck, inspired, and madly in love. In those precious hours I first read his story, he became a part of me and he became me. He...

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Before Downton Abbey by John B. Campbell

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in 20th Century England, Featured Book, Historical Fiction Influences, World War One | 1 comment

Before Downton Abbey premiered on television, I had an interest in the era between the world wars and the Golden Age just prior. I knew I wanted to somehow dramatize the social impacts of the Great War. I began writing fiction in the mid 1990s. Downton Abbey has since kindled a large audience ready for tales told against an early twentieth century backdrop. I am hopeful that my work will be well-received. What particularly interested me as a writer was the shocking turn of events. Prior to 1914, as we know, people in general were feeling optimistic. Scholars have commented on the high...

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Writing is a Great River by Greg Johnston

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Featured Book, Historical Fiction Influences, World War Two | Comments Off on Writing is a Great River by Greg Johnston

The Danube, Tiber, Nile, Thames, Derwent, Ganges, Hudson, Seine, Euphrates, Amazon Writing is a great river.  From a dribbling source in a mountain range, some small spring that any other day may have caused a writer to shrug and turn away, drips and drips.  As the drops coalesce, collapse, overcome the surface tension between them, merge, pond, fracture and cling together, they start to run. On the cusp of starting a new novel, I’ve been pondering the source of The Skin of Water.  Peeling back the layers, I arrived at a paragraph, a hundred words at most, in a manuscript I was editing.  It...

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