For Sale: One Manuscript

“Publishing a book is one accomplishment you get to celebrate over and over.” That’s what my friend Karen’s mom used to say. You finish the first complete draft. YAY! You finish editing it. You sent it to your agent. YAY! The agent likes it but suggests changes. You finish editing it. YAY! The agent sends … Read more…

Historical novels: alternative facts allowed?

Technically, novelists can make up anything they please, but getting things right is important to me, particularly when writing historical novels. I always try to create characters whose actions, decisions, dialog, and thoughts are comprehensible and who feel real within a narrative that seems believable. That’s true even for science fiction like The Sparrow and … Read more…

Writer Tech: Connecting historical dots

While working on each of my previous six novels, I assumed it was either the only or the last story I’d ever write. Even follow-on books like Children of God and Epitaph came as a surprise to me. So I’m amazed to find that I’ve begun to do the research for an eighth novel. I … Read more…

PBS: “Murder of a President” on American Experience

When developing a historical novel, I try to get a sense of what’s going on in the wider world that surrounds my story’s setting. War is always there in the background: impending wars, current wars, wars still haunting the dreams of veterans. But what else happening? What’s scandalous? What’s amusing? What are people reading? What … Read more…

Writer Tech: footnotes for fiction?

Recently two writers got in touch about acknowledging sources for historical fiction. As one asked, Do I need permission from every website owner, author, newspaper, etc. whose information I incorporate into my story? I’m not a lawyer and if you’re lucky enough to land a contract with a good publisher, you can count on their … Read more…