Historical Fiction are novelswith an historical setting in which fictional characters and events take place. Although some narratives do center around real historical figures this might be why definitions vary. The Historical Novel Society defines the genre as works written at least fifty years after the events described, while critic Sarah Johnson has defined the genre as being set before the middle of the last century (20th century). Her definition is based on the author having written from research rather than personal experience. Another view by Lynda Adamson states that some people read novels written in the past i.e. Jane Austen as if they were historical novels.
What is your definition of an historical novel?
No matter which definition you agree with, historical fiction is a literary fiction where the plot takes place in a setting in the past. These major historic events mostly take an ‘off stage’ part, while the characters inhabit the world in which they take place. Used as an umbrella term it can also be applied to works in other narrative formats, such as performing or visual arts like theater, cinema, television, opera and in more recent times video games and graphic novels.
The essential part of an historical novel is that it pays attention to the manners and social conditions that the era depicted ensuring the readers can understand why the characters respond in the manner they within their environments. Unfortunately, not all novels are accurate in their details and this causes tension about the historical authenticity between readers and critics and even scholars.
Some sub-genres insert speculative or ahistorical elements into a novel such as alternative history of historical fantasy.
Other sub-genres include:
These novels incorporate not only historical characters and events but reports of everyday events found in 20th century newspapers.
A fictional biography of a historical figure.
Also known as historical whodunits, this sub-genre’s plot involves solving a mystery or crime with a setting in the distant past.
Historical romance and family sagas
Novels with a background detail set in a particular period, but that does not play a key role in the narrative. They can also contain more modern-day sensibilities, and more conventional characters in the novels would point out the heroine’s eccentricities, such as wanting to marry for love – not a true reflection of how the society worked at that time in most cases.
Alternative history and historical fantasy
Where the established history is changed with dramatic results or modern day characters return to the past and change it. And also narratives are loosely based on historical events but fantasy elements are added including sorcery and supernatural creatures.
Children’s historical fiction
This has become a prominent sub-genre resulting in narratives exploring other time periods via time travel or time portals transporting modern day characters. It allows children to learn and understand about different eras.
My medieval fantasy novella, The Rython Kingdom has elements of history through its characters but it is not historically correct in regards to the monarchy at that time.
Have you written historical fiction?
Was it strictly historically accurate or was it in one of the sub-genres?
Both! LOL! Writing is my escape. It can be very invigorating and exhausting.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Research. I can get lost exploring medieval times. Hours later, I’m amazed at how much time has gone by with my head in what was going on in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. LOL!
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Seven years ago, I dipped my toe in the writing world with Romance Writers of America. Through that membership, I joined romance writers’ organizations Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart. I served as Treasurer of Hearts Through History for a couple years and became actively involved in the chapter. It was during that time when I joined the critique group. I met some amazing authors who have become good friends. They have helped me tremendously! I wouldn’t be writing if it wasn’t for their wonderful support and encouragement.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Each book in my series can be read stand alone, but they are written in chronological order. You’ll find my books follow different series. I love to read stories that continue through secondary characters. As a matter of fact, the books I’m currently plotting branch off from my first series, The Daughters of Alastair MacDougall. Throughout Cameron, Heather, Lindsey, and Elsbeth, you will meet colorful individuals whose stories beg to be told. After I complete Elsbeth, the legacy will continue throughout generations to come.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The best money I ever spent as a writer was in joining the Romance Writers Association of America which gave me access to several online affiliated chapters. The authors in those chapters have helped me in so many ways. I’m truly blessed to be part of the groups.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have published four books in my Daughters of Alastair MacDougall series, two in the Turnberry Legacy, and several half-finished books.
What does literary success look like to you?
I write for the sheer pleasure and love of storytelling. To have someone send me a message letting me know they enjoyed my books is the most gratifying success. That is what keeps me writing.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
I try to write very day for at least one hour, but my job often gets in the way.
How do you select the names of your characters?
After I’ve developed the storyline, I search internet sites for names used during my story’s time period. As I go down the list, certain names will jump out at me that seem to fit my characters.
What was your hardest scene to write?
In my latest book, A King’s Enemies, there are a couple of interrogation scenes. During medieval times, those questioning methods were brutal. Those scenes were the most difficult to write.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I like most any kind of romance novel, but my heart has always been drawn to the medieval period, particularly in Scotland, Ireland, and England. That said, I plan to write stories spanning the early Middle Ages through the American Civil War. While my books are fiction, each one is based on historical facts, and you will often see known figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, or The Red Comyn make guest appearances. All my stories revolve around human struggles, sacrifices survivors are forced to make, and their resilience to live and thrive.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing all my life, but I started seriously writing in 2011.
What inspires you?
For some strange reason, my muse pings off the charts when I am hiking with my husband. My imagination runs wild with what it would have been like walking through the woods during the medieval times, or when the enemy might be lurking in the trees.
How do you find or make time to write?
I enjoy writing at most any time, but my daytime job often gets in the way. So, I write a good bit before I go to bed and then edit what I wrote early in the morning. I also write after work, on weekends and any time I can find a few minutes.
What projects are you working on at the present?
Now that I finished A King’s Enemies, I’m writing the third book in the series, A King’s Allies. I hope to release that story late fall of this year. I’m also working on a new book about an imperfect rogue that will be released late this summer.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I have four more books outlined up for my Turnberry Legacy series. As soon as I finish the two stories I’m working on now, I’ll jump into writing the rest of the books.
At the turn of the fourteenth century, danger abounds with Scotland’s leadership in flux. Amidst rumors of King Edward reinstating John Balliol to the throne, Robert the Bruce commands his most trusted men to resurrect The Turnberry Bond, a pact specifying loyal Scots and Irish nobles band together in resistance against all adversaries. Follow the rebel warriors fighting for the rightful king of Scotland and their struggle with honor and love as their lives become intertwined with the brave women who challenge them.
A King’s Enemies ~ Book Two
Tormented by King Edward’s brutality against Scottish sympathizers, Drake Fletcher vows revenge, but only a madman single-handedly attacks the Crown. Instead, he enters the royal court as a spy to aid Robert the Bruce’s rise to power and place a formidable leader on Scotland’s throne.
Scottish lass Katherine Mackenzie Armstrong targets three of King Edward’s officers who brutally raped and murdered her mother. Disguised as one of Queen Margaret’s attendants, she sets a course to destroy the men.
The acts of treason both Drake and Katherine commit are punishable by death in The Tower of London but their determination pushes dangerous limits. Considered enemies, they use each other to gain vital information. Neither expect their overwhelming attraction to one another, the staggering emotions stirred. But the closer they become, the more they jeopardize their pledges of vengeance.
Will the weight of retaliation crush them, see them beheaded? Or will Katherine and Drake form an alliance and learn to live and love again
Thank you for having me!
Starting out as an accountant in line with the rest of the corporate echelons struggling up the proverbial ladder, I soon realized the long nights and numerous weekends of closing books and reporting financial results no longer appealed. So, I decided to hit the road selling financial software. Jumping from one high-pressured frying pan into the other, the stress of the road- warrior life and constant deadlines took its toll. I needed a release and found that with my face buried in historical romance books, I could escape to worlds of intrigue with timeless love and happily-ever-after endings. Today, I am fortunate to have found my true passion in writing of spirited heroines and to-die-for-heroes and the romantic love stories between them.
I am a southern girl living on top of a mountain in North Georgia, and I’m most happy when surrounded by family and friends. If I am not writing, you can find me hiking with my husband, or fiddling around in my flower and vegetable gardens, feeding the birds and watching black bears and deer. I am blessed to have a wonderful son—my pride and joy, my buddy who, along with my husband, have made my life complete.
It was such a pleasure to get to know Lane and her historical romances.
Formidable – definition: 1. causing fear, apprehension, or dread; 2. of great strength; forceful; powerful
As writers and authors, we are formidable not just because we have the ability to create narratives but also how we ‘market’ those stories. We all have our comfort levels for marketing and promotion, and no matter which route you chose, that is the best option for you.
Social media can be seem like a ‘soft’ option, in that, you are not up close and personal with your readers. However, there are countless sites to chose from and then maintain. We need to research which avenues of promotion will work best not just for our genres but also for sustaining them. If you create accounts on too many, you will find you have no time for creating new narratives. It is a fine balance between promoting and writing.
Your choice is mainly genre based but that does not restrict your scope. If you are writing period historical romance, then sites dealing with this genre are good but also any sites that deal with that particular period, whether in reference to costume, historical setting or events. Linking back to your blog or website gives you a good networking base. Just remember not to hard sell in every comment you leave on other websites. Generate relationships with the hosts, give your view and pose questions.
For the novice author on the verge of publishing their first novel, the options can seem mind-boggling diverse and numerous. I have linked to some great sites with advice on this very subject:
How did you decide on which sites and options were best for your novel?
Once we feel more comfortable there are author readings, book signings and book selling events to contemplate and attend. These are more nerve racking for many of us but are much more satisfying because we get instant feedback. Yes, it may not be favorable some of the time but writers need a thick skin and we must view all feedback as an opportunity to improve.