Friday, 20 June 2014

H is for Historical Fiction

I dislike fiction set in the past in which the characters act and speak as though they are 21st century people.

I enjoy historical fiction which has obviously been meticulously researched and in which the characters behave realistically according to their time.

In my opinion, it is not possible to recreate the past with 100% accuracy no matter how hard a historical novelist tries to do so. However, it is possible to successfully  present the era in which the characters lived  and to get nearly everything right after careful study of the events and economic and social history.

I write historical novels - not period novels in which the background is skimmed over. Although my main characters are fictional they are very much of their time. I show what they wore, what they ate, their religious and political beliefs and much more.

At the moment I am writing Monday's Child the second in my series set in the Regency era and revising a mediaeval novel set in the reign of Edward II. I have also written three novels set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart who reined from 1702-1714 and have an idea for a 4th novel set in the same period.

So, what are the main categories of Historical Fiction? They are listed in Writing Historical Fiction. How to Create Historical Fiction and Get it Published by Marina Oliver.

Fictional Biographies, Fiction firmly based on Fact, Series - a connecting theme such as a place or a house, Family series - a connecting theme such as a place or house, Sagas, Regencies, Period, Wartime, Westerns, Adventure, Gothics, Paranormal, Timeslip and Crime.

(I omitted Bodice Rippers from the above list because I think they send out the wrong message - at the worst that rape is justifiable if the heroine subsequently falls in love with the hero.)

Historical novelists are fortunate to have a wide canvas to choose from. Personally, I do not want to become stuck in a proverbial rut when writing. My mediaeval novel has a touch of the paranormal in it, a theme I hope to develop in another novel. I'm also considering writing a saga that begins in the early 20th century and or a timeslip.

To conclude, from a very young age history fascinated me and I enjoy writing, reading and researching historical fiction.