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…