A big welcome to Nancy Jardine, a great author and a specialist on Roman Britain. She raises a familiar dilemma for historical novelists: how do you get plausibly into the mind of someone who lived two thousand years ago? What sort of guesswork do you have to do? And what contemporary sources can you rely on – or not? Let’s hear it from Nancy.
It’s always a pleasure to welcome my friend and fellow author Sue Barnard onto the blog. She tells us how the advice to “write the book you want to read” led her into historical fiction. I’ve had a sneak peek at Sue’s latest book, Heathcliff (more about it below), and so I know you’re in for a treat when it’s published.
Next up in my series about people who write historical fiction is Carol Maginn, who shares with us her journey into history and its influence on her writing. She also tells us how she avoids the pitfalls of historical research – and I know from my own experience what those are!
This book doesn’t look like much, I know, and the subject may seem a little abstruse – Everyday Life in Corsica in the 18th Century. But this was the only copy available outside faraway libraries; the very last one I could get hold of.
Why is it so important to me? Because it’s invaluable for one of my latest works in progress, which is set on the island of Corsica in the 18th century. And yet it almost slipped from my grasp.
Writing a credible historical novel is like doing an obstacle course with your hands tied. A significant challenge for me in writing The House at Zaronza was to find out about nursing from a French viewpoint on the Western Front during World War I, where about a third of the novel is set. Countless books exist about “the war to end wars” but few of them give much space to French experiences of nursing.