Tag Archives: historical

Genres of Literature – Non-Fiction


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Non-fiction or nonfiction is created, where the author assumes responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the events, people, or information presented within it. The subject of the book, either objectively or subjectively, deals with information, events, and people in a realistic way.

Although the narrative may or may not be accurate, the specific factual assertions and descriptions can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. However, the author will genuinely believe or claim the narrative’s content to be truthful at the time of their composition or, they convince their audience it is historically or empirically factual. 

Nonfiction can also be literary criticism giving information and analysis on other works. And also informational text that deals with an actual, real-life subjects. This  offers opinions or conjectures on facts and reality. This genre includes biographies, history, essays, speech, and narrative non fiction. 

Common examples are expository, argumentative, functional and opinion pieces, essays on art or literature, memoirs, and journalism as well as historical, scientific, technical or economical narratives.

As a writer my favorite non-fiction book is On Writing by Stephen King. (No surprise there as he is my literary hero!)

download

How about you? 

Which non-fiction book is your favorite?

Interview with Barbara Rebbeck…


Barbara Rebbeck

What inspired you to write your first book?

Before writing NOLA Gals, I was deeply moved by Hurricane Katrina. The constant media coverage engrained the tragedy in my mind. I wanted to share it with younger readers who would not know about it in years to come.

How did you come up with the title? 

NOLA Gals seemed a natural to me. The city “NO”, state “LA” and a touch of the south, “Gals.” I made sure, however, that not far into the novel I explain it for those who might not figure it out.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

This is my first published book although I have a draft of another earlier novel about a teen whose dad has cancer brought on by his military service in Vietnam.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

I want readers, particularly teens to realize the destruction of   Hurricane Katrina, the disruption of the lives of those who survived, the racial prejudice encountered and the importance of reading a really good book. The NOLA Gals are helped by lessons of tolerance they read in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Nola gal IAN

How much of the book is realistic?

The book is historical fiction from just ten years ago so I did extensive research. The Source List at the end of the novel contains every book, movie or music CD I used in the writing of the novel.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

Some are based on people I know, others are completely made up (the two main characters, Essence and Grace, for instance). George, the poodle is very real, my sister-in-law’s dog. His photo is at the end of the book.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Good question. I think probably little Char. At five-years-old, she exemplifies the combined innocence and terror of a child in the midst of a terrible natural disaster. Her quest to honor her grandmother’s life with a ceremony for her ashes was very moving to write.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

I tried to keep the book “clean” so it could be used in classrooms. I might have softened the relationship between Harold and Mama. Making her older when it began.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

Keep reading. It is such a source of learning in life. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself by reading realistic books, even the classics. And never lose curiosity. That, to me, is the most important trait to get you through life. Never lose the wonder of discovery.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I have total power over the universe I create. I can tell when I’m onto a good passage of writing because I give myself chills as I write. Such chilling passages in NOLA Gals for me were the extended metaphors of both Hurricane Katrina and Rita. The impromptu jazz parade at the Superdome. The cocktail party/dance juxtapositions. Mimmi’s ashes. The To Kill a Mockingbird defense.

I also love working with kids in schools and meeting with adult groups, too. The kids love the book and want tips on writing, especially extended metaphors. I have photos, samples kids have written, and ideas for writing on my website, nolagals.com I have donated some of my royalties to schools in New Orleans and hope to visit there, too. Adult book clubs are fun. I just met with a group of twelve ladies who all loved the book. Several said they had read it in one night. When a sixth grader approaches you with tears in her eyes and asks for your autograph on her notebook, “cuz I’ve never met a real author before” those chills pop. Or when a 7th grade boy says in front of the whole class that, “I’ve never read a book that makes me feel so deeply,” you know your job is done, and done well as a writer.”

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote at a young age. In fourth grade I was fortunate to have a teacher, Miss Downes who let me write and direct plays at school. Later I had a southern lady, Mrs. Hartwig for three years in junior high who assigned us weekly compositions. She would read a few aloud to the class every week, and I was always so proud when she read one of mine. She really instilled creativity in all of us that stuck. I wrote dreadful poetry in high school. Later as an adult, I wrote serious poetry and published some and won a few awards.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write?

I like writing for kids, especially historical fiction. I am writing a sequel now, for NOLA Gals as so many people have requested one. It is Essence’s memoir written ten years later, looking back on her struggle to survive during the rebuilding of New Orleans. I am in the research stage now, having soaked up so many ideas during the recent tenth anniversary commemorations for Hurricane Katrina.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Not a subject, but writing for kids I try not to get too negative. Some of the post-apocalyptic fiction kids read can be such a downer. I hope to give kids hope. The ending of NOLA Gals does that.

What book are you reading now?  I just read “The Martian” by Andy Weir. I can’t wait for the movie. It was a great example of surviving by your wits.

The_Martian_2014

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  My current favorite is Hillary Mantel. Her British historical fiction is amazing. I’m awaiting the third book of her Wolf Hall trilogy about Henry the VIII. I tend to become obsessed with a writer and read all his/her works. I’m doing that now will Mantel. I love to go to London, England and see plays. And last time there I saw both of the adaptations of her two books in one day. I was thrilled that she was there signing programs, too. I’ve also watched the new BBC version of her books, too. Her memoir is also great.

A personal favorite is a memoir written by my friend, Anne-Marie Oomen. Love, Sex and 4-H is one of my favorite memoirs ever.

Do you see writing as a career?

No, I couldn’t live on my royalties. I’m retired with a pension. It’s still hard for me to accept money for my writing. I volunteer all my time in classrooms and for adult groups. Let’s face it: schools are mostly broke these days. I taught for over 30 years so I figure I’m giving back now to kids and adults.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

I don’t nibble while I write, but when I finish a session with my laptop, I seem to need a victory ride, so I hop in the car and head out for a delectable snack. Depending on the hour, it might be a trip to the Dairy Queen, for a tin-roof sundae, or a drive-thru shake somewhere. If it’s been a long writing session, I’ll grab a meal somewhere. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I tend to be phobic about people talking during movies. I’ve been known to get up and move more than once when people around me talk. And don’t get me started on texting in theaters. Rudeness seems to be the new norm.

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit with a very British dad. I was the second of six kids, a big Catholic family. When I was in first grade I was part of the First Communion class at Saturday catechism classes. Every week we would recite our prayers, learn our saints (especially the martyred – so gloriously bloody), and receive the priest’s blessing, before we trotted off down the road to see a double feature at the local movie theater. It was the fifties when for a quarter you could eat a sloppy Joe and sip a root beer at the dime store counter before the movies for another fifteen cents. Then we’d settle in for two features of Martin & Lewis or Laurel & Hardy, lots of cartoons and even a newsreel. The audience was rowdy, but we loved it. Those were the days when kids could wander and parents didn’t worry. That Saturday morning however, catechism was scary, the reason to make me worry. Sister Bartholomew stood before us and peered down at us through her wire-rim glasses. “Girls and boys,” she said. “If the Russians came today…” We all stiffened in our seats at the mention of our evil enemies. “If the Russians,” she repeated, “came here and set up a pot of boiling oil right outside this window,” she pointed with her crooked finger, and rasped lowly,” if they lit that oil, and it began to bubble.” We began to shrink in our seats, our fear also bubbling. “If they then came up those stairs outside that door.” She swung around, the large crucifix hanging at the waist of her black habit swinging, “And they burst through that locked door, with loaded guns aimed at your hearts.” We sank even lower, terrified. “Now they walk up and down these rows and stop before each desk. They lean over and hiss in each face and ask you if you are Catholic. What would you answer if you knew…” Again she turned to the window, “What would you say if you knew a “yes” would deliver your small body to the boiling oil?” We were paralyzed, seeing ourselves bobbing in the oil. We all shouted we would say “yes,” of course. There was no other response to Sister.

“Class dismissed,” she said. And we ran out of the room. No horror movie we were about to see could ever equal this torture.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully alive. With at least one more published novel under my belt. I also have a memoir in me when time allows it. I’d also like to see NOLA Gals as a play or movie.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Writing comes easy for me. It always has. Publishing is another story. It took years to get someone to even look at the manuscript. I hate writing query letters and being at the mercy of agents and publishers who see dollar signs as the reason to give a work a chance. Thank goodness for the small presses of the world who will read a manuscript and take a risk.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? None, really. I’ve always been right on target with deadlines. I grew up in a family that was always way too early for every event and deadline. If we were going to a concert, we’d get there long before the doors opened, and the musicians arrived. Fifteen minutes early for others was late for us.

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

Looking back on things I wrote like early teen poetry, I see it as very bad, but I chalk that up to inexperience. I hate writing done for assignments written to a specific formula like the “five-paragraph theme.” They don’t really exist in nature, only in teachers’ minds.

What book do you wish you had written?

My all-time favorite is probably Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I first read it when I was in junior high and have never forgotten it. The eerie mood she sets of the old mansion Manderley on the Cornish coast of England still gives me chills. I’ve seen all the movie versions of it and will find myself up late at night watching Sir Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine combat the evil Mrs. Danvers until the wee hours even though I know I have all the movie versions in my collection. Just hooked forever on this mystery.

What is your best marketing tip?

Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t let vanity overrule your pocketbook. There are many people out there who want your money. Join all the writing groups on facebook that do free promotion. Use twitter and tumblr and other social media. If you want to enter contests, chose selectively and research past winners to see if your book fits in. Beware of goodreads and its reviewers. They can be abusive and face no recourse. Trolls can do in an author.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

A sequel to NOLA Gals, at this time untitled. A memoir.

How do we find your books, blog and bio? NOLA Gals is available on Amazon. Website is: nolagals.com

NOLA Gals was a finalist for the IAN Book Awards

Website: www.nolagals.com

#BRebbeck

www.amazon.com/Nola-Gals-Barbara-J-Rebbeck/dp/0990314863

www.amazon.com/dp/B00SA92YAM

www.amazon.ca/Nola-Gals-Barbara-J-Rebbeck

http://www.amazon.uk/Nola-Gals-Barbara-J-Rebbeck

https://www.facebook.com/nolagals?fref=ts

An Interview with Gordon E Tolton…


Please welcome Gordon E Tolton, an author with a fascination for history and an ability to bring it to life in his novels.

 

Gordon Tolton


What inspired you to write your first book?
 

My first book “The Rocky Mountain Rangers” actually began as research for a living history project or organization. I wanted to form a re-enactment group based on the historical military unit.  While I did manage to join such a group, and two groups did organize under that name to an extent, I found myself immersed in the research of the pure history. That research led me into the publication of a historical paper as a book, and led me into even more historical research.

How did you come up with the title? 

“The Rocky Mountain Rangers” was self-titled based upon the historical subject.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

Eight Published:

Cowboy Cavalry

Rocky Mountain Rangers: Southern Alberta’s Cowboy Cavalry  (Lethbridge Historical Society, 1994)

The Buffalo Legacy  (Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Society, 1996)

With The Mounties in the Boot and Saddle Days (editor/designer)  (Riders of the Plains, 2006)

Prairie Warships

Prairie Warships: River Operations in the North-West Rebellion  (Heritage House, 2007)

Deep Roots, Promising Future (Centennial History of United Farmers of Alberta) (UFA Co-op, 2009)

The Cowboy Cavalry: The Story of the Rocky Mountain Rangers  (Heritage House, 2011)

The Last Blast: The Fur Trade in Whoop-Up Country (editor/designer) (Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Society, 2013)

Healy's West

Healy’s West: The Life & Times of John J. Healy (Heritage House, 2014/US edition: Mountain Press, 2014)

I have four more books in various stages of production.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

Just to awaken the sense of relevance of history to people’s lives.

How much of the book is realistic? 

All of my books are highly researched, and only my conclusions are creative, though based on hypothesis.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

The latest book, Healy’s West, I obviously could not have known personally. However, I have found myself close enough through the study of writings, character sketches and historical context, have come to know almost through a sense of channelling.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? 

I would wish to make it a larger book, with more room to expand on subjects that I had to compress, and more room for photographs.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

I just want people to be able to look at a location, or a place, an institution, or a piece of geography – and understand that there was a time before their lives.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

The research, and the gathering of materials into a cohesive chronology and form.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write? 

Historical narrative.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Never say never, but I doubt I would ever write any fiction.

What book are you reading now? 

Getting through the very thick works of eastern American historian Allan Eckert, primarily working on That Dark and Bloody River.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

Peter Stark has a book called Astoria: Astoria: Astor and Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival. He covers a historical tale in a very interesting and comprehensive way, with an engaging writing style.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, but it is very challenging. Unless sales take off unexpectedly, I will likely never support myself as a royalty author.  I will always have to look to outside employment, grants, and commissions in order to do what I want to do.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Very likely, still doing what I am doing, but hopefully, with a slightly larger profile that will give me a certain level of safety in continuing the process of writing and researching. I may even get to the point where I have more research than I know what to do with, and can target book projects to specific markets.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Distractions, and self-discipline; the volume of material to get through, maintaining travel and justifying the expenses in the research aspects of the process.

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

No. That’s counter-productive.

What book do you wish you had written?

“Frontier Farewell: The 1870s and the End of the Old West” by Garrett Wilson

What is your best marketing tip?

No matter what your market is, no matter how good your representation is, the author is his/her own best sales person. People want to connect with the creator, and want to understand their process. The author needs to push their product as if it was any other, find their niche, and promote themselves to the media, libraries, book stores, and any other venue that can be related. In my case, I have also promoted my product to museums, historical societies, and even at local farmer’s markets and cowboy poetry events.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

I am still working in history. The next is of a small railroad company that aided in developing the settlement of southern Alberta and northern Montana. I do not yet have a publishing contract for this.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Other than the above, I have books on the go regarding the early buffalo fur trade on the prairies; a political history of Alberta, regarding the farmers movement in the post-World War I era into the depression; the impact of Lewis and Clark expedition on Canada; and a book on the defense of the north-west coast of Canada and the United States during the Second World War.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

            Healy’s West: The Life and Times of John J. Healy

http://www.heritagehouse.ca/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781927527658

http://mountain-press.com/item_detail.php?item_key=679

            The Cowboy Cavalry: The Story of the Rocky Mountain Rangers

http://www.heritagehouse.ca/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781926936024

            Prairie Warships: River Navigation in the Northwest Rebellion

http://www.heritagehouse.ca/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781894974301

Author Biography: http://www.heritagehouse.ca/author_details.php?contributor_id_1=1400

Blog: http://rangergordsroundup.wordpress.com/

Email: rmranger@telusplanet.net

Interview with Elaine Spencer…


Please welcome Elaine Spencer – Elaine Spenceran author of historical fiction.

1. What do you enjoy most about writing?
As a writer of fiction, I enjoy escaping to a make believe world where I am in control.  I also like that I’m constantly learning in a way that I enjoy.
2. What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started getting into writing as a form of self-expression and healing when I was in high school.  It began as journaling then, as I learned more about myself and the world, ideas just started to grow.

3. Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has changed from writing for myself to writing for others in a more technical form to writing historical fiction for pleasure, which is what I enjoy most.

4. What genre are you currently reading?

Historical fiction and biographies.

5. Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Although most of my reading these days is for research, I love reading just for pleasure.  There’s nothing like going on a mini vacation from daily life by getting lost in a good story.

6. Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

I have a wonderful list of family and friends who support and encourage but my husband and sister are definitely at the top.
7. Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

There is a lot of myself in the character of Charlotte Logan (Charlie) but one of my favorite characters is Percival Meade because he starts out snooty, annoying and with many flaws but turns out to be likeable and a little more humble while staying true to who he is.

 8. Where is your favorite writing space?

I have a home office with everything I need including a writing desk and comfortable reading corner.

desk

9. Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?
I create a basic outline where I decide on the setting, plot, main characters and so forth.  Once the writing process actually begins, changes develop, new characters step in and the story unfolds.

10. What inspires your ideas/stories?
Inspiration is all around but we have to go looking for it.  Books, music, news, observing people, traveling, nature, personal experiences and good old imagination are some of the places where I find inspiration.

11. Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I joined a local group but found that with an outside job, research, and writing, I couldn’t commit to a scheduled time so found an online source that suits my needs and allows more flexibility to share and critique with other writers, access workshops and participate in forums.
12. If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
There are so many writers to learn from and even more I’ve never read but I love the way authors like John Steinbeck have mastered their use of description, dialogue, and creating believable characters.
13. Do you have a book(s) published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
Freedom Reins is a historical fiction available through a variety of sources including Amazon, friesenpress.com, and itunes.

Freedom Reins

14. Where can readers find you and your blog?

My website is http://www.e-spencer.com
15. Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
I’m currently researching and have begun some writing for another historical fiction.

Thank you Elaine for the insight into your writing journey.

How Do You View Romance..?


rose book

Love makes the world go round – it’s an old adage but is alive and well in romance novels around the globe.

Historically, romance writing has been in existence since classical times. It is thought the 1740 novel, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson to be one of the earliest true romance novels. The narrative relates a courtship told entirely by the female protagonist. A century later, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice epitomized the genre and in many ways launched the genre we know so well today.

Modern romance novels are divided into multiple genres :

Contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, time-travel, inspirational, multicultural and erotic.

These in turn are divided into sub-genres:  (and more appear annually)

Adventure, African-American, category, chick-lit, dark fantasy, erotica, futuristic, gothic, interracial, LGBT, mainstream, menage a trois, military, M/M, multi-cultural, mystery/thriller, Regency, rock n’ roll, single title, sweet, traditional, urban fantasy, World War II-era, Yaoi and young adult.

The sheer choice available to authors within this one genre is mind boggling. No matter your preferred genre, you can adapt it to be included into a ‘romance’ genre. Given this free range of setting and era; as long as you have boy meets girl as the theme, your narrative can be included under either one or more sub categories.

There are still the corset rippers, as they used to be called, but now a days reader choice is much wider. For an author, the flexibility in this one genre, allows for a more personal viewpoint through their own favored format and ‘type’ of writing. The idea of romance is a personal one, affected by our own experiences and preference.

In my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch, my protagonist, Evan, had to abide to laws forbidding daily contact with his loved one, while my novel, The Twesome Loop followed my female protagonists in finding love through reincarnation and my novella, The Rython Kingdom fantasy dealt with a troubadour falling for a good sorceress. When I was investigating branding, it became clear my novels all have a ‘love’ based theme, although not always romantic love.

Have you written romance? 

Which genre or sub-genre did it fall into?

How do you view romance novels?

http://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2014/january/persistence-romanticism-world-literature-william-black#.UukSsfldXfI

 

LifeinSlakePatch 001

Twesome Loop 002

http://www.amazon.com/The-Rython-Kingdom-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1927510236

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/214247
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