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Writing Historical Novels

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Daughter's Walk: A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick
Well I'm all excited, thanks to Jane Kirkpatrick, who has introduced me to a new website about Writing Historical Novels. "In 2013, Writing Historical Novels features monthly contributing authors from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, India and Morocco, including numerous New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling novelists."

When I discover new sites like this I have a hard time getting anything done because I can't pull myself away from the experiences and suggestions of other authors writing about books set during historical time frames. For instance, I loved hearing what Anne Perry had to say in her post titled, Medicine in Historical Novels. And Adrian Goldsworthy's post, Starting to Write Historical Novels is sure to intrigue. He says, "The advantage of the past is that it provides such a varied canvas and a host of situations ripe for drama." I couldn't agree more. That's one of the many reasons I love writing historical romance. All of us who research for our historical novels know how fascinating and addicting it can become.

I searched through some of my own posts that I thought might fit this category. My first one is titled, Escape Into Medical History: Smallpox and another favorite is The Assassination of Spencer Perceval. It's so much fun exploring what other writers are doing all over the world. I think all of you will be interested in this next post from an editor. This is a post by Jane Johnson What Editors are Looking for in Historical Fiction. Jane is an editor with HarperCollins UK and just happens to write historical fiction as well. "Mix together one book and one reader and every time the chemical reaction will be different: it is an experiment that can never be replicated, since both reader and author are unique individuals."

I had to go looking for some of these novels and it was this line from Jane Johnson's novel, The Sultan's Wife, that captured my attention immediately.  Meanwhile, a young Englishwoman named Alys Swann has been taken prisoner by Barbary corsairs and brought to the court . She faces a simple choice: renounce her faith and join the Sultan's harem; or die.

So when was the last time you were captivated by a historical novel?


  1. It's only been recently that I've started getting more and more interested in history. I find myself really drawn to Phillippa Gregory's work but before her I'd never picked up a historical novel. Now I'm more open and have a few others waiting to be read in my 'book mountain' :)

    1. Hi Dawn,
      Look out! Sounds like you may have caught the historical writing bug that's been going around. It's a doosie. It'll wrap itself around your psyche and never let go. No antidote available. So glad to hear you have a "book mountain."

  2. I am much like you. As a matter of fact, I have to take my mother to the doctor, so I HAVE to get off the internet, but I am soooo itching to click the link up there and just look around...just a little! But I will use restraint and come back later.

    Oh, and lately I have become a diary junkie. I LOVE reading historical diaries. And museums, I;d rather hit a museum than spend a day at Disney Land...oh shush Elizabeth...go get your mother!

    1. Elizabeth,
      We need to find a way to hang out together. Museums sound much better to me than Disney Land. Hey, when you come back I just found out that my first novel is free on Kindle and Nook today. Check it out. :)

      Where are you finding all your historical diaries?

  3. It's great to hear you are enjoying Writing Historical Novels, Jillian, and thanks for sharing the site with your blog readers. :)

  4. I'm captivated EVERY SINGLE WEEK! :) Right now it's Julie Klassen's latest, "The Tutor's Daughter". WOW! (Just received your trilogy in the mail, Jillian. YEAH!)

  5. Hi Jaime,
    So glad you have the books. Enjoy! I'm also looking forward to reading Julie's latest novel. Sounds like you're in good shape with your TBR pile for awhile. I just keep adding to mine, hopeless book lover. :)
    Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!