Author interview: Inside Historical Fiction

April 21, 2015 § 2 Comments

cropped-screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-4-57-33-pmIt was a pleasure to be interviewed recently by the author M.K. Tod for her Inside Historical Fiction series. We had a nice talk about the ingredients that go into the making of great historical fiction, the research process, recent trends in the genre, and more. Here’s an excerpt:

MKT: Are historical novels inherently different from contemporary novels, and if so, in what ways?

TW: There’s a quote that I love from Andrew Miller, writing in The New York Times Book Review a few years ago, about the appeal of distance, and of “the strangeness such distance produces and of the lives lived recognizably in the midst of that strangeness.” He compared historical fiction to science fiction, pointing out that both genres require the writer to depict the only world he or she can possibly know—“the here and now”—in other terms.

To me, this notion captures much of what I love about historical fiction, both in the writing and in the reading: it’s at once a dream we have to enter and an oblique reflection of ourselves. In my experience, this kind of mind-altering immersion is harder to find in contemporary novels—if by “contemporary” we mean novels that are set in times and places very similar to the quotidian spheres in which we tend to live out our lives.

Read the full interview here.

Will Poole’s Island named to Bank Street’s Best Books of the Year

March 23, 2015 § 3 Comments

Bank_StreetVery pleased to note that Will Poole’s Island has made the prestigious Bank Street College of Education’s annual list of “The Best Children’s Books of the Year.Will Poole’s Island was chosen in the “Mystery and Adventure” category, and although the novel was not written exclusively for children, it’s a great honor to make the list—and it increases the likelihood of getting it into the hands of more readers of all ages. The 2015 edition recognizes books published in 2014.

Upcoming talks and appearances

March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

10653394_10152466045124682_4593457784593993577_nLooking forward to a busy spring and summer of talks and appearances! If you’re attending any of these events, I look forward to meeting you there. If you can’t make any of them but are interested in similar content, there are still openings in these wonderful, intensive writing seminars at GrubStreet in Boston.

April 24 – 26, 2015: Talks on the Jungian Shadow in YA Fiction and Image Systems in Fiction. New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Conference, Springfield, MA

May 1 – 3, 2015: “Voice and Dialog in Historical Fiction.” GrubStreet’s Muse & The Marketplace Conference, Boston, MA IMG_3926

July 12 – 17, 2015: “Life Stories: Creative Adventurers, Adventurous Creators” (5-part lecture series). All-Star 2 Family Conference. Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH July

18 – 24, 2015: Guest author, Writing in Prague program (Putney Student Travel)

Spring novel writing classes at GrubStreet

March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

grubstreet-logoIt’s been a great experience working with seven talented aspiring novelists in my 10 week Novel in Progress course this winter. I find that focusing in on particular aspects of craft of fiction is immediately beneficial in terms of one’s own work, and even more so in the long term, because it leads to greater fluency and range as a writer.

For these reasons, and because I very much enjoy teaching, I’ve agreed to offer yet another 10 week Novel in Progress course on Thursday evenings beginning April 9th. If you’re near Boston and working on a novel, join us! We have a lot of fun. And if my current students are any indication, you will make great strides on your project.

If you’re interested but can’t commit to 10 weeks, your can join one these intensive, one-off classes:

Voice and Dialog in Historical Fiction (Saturday, March 28, 10-5)

Crafting the Killer Novel Opening (Saturday, April 11, 10-5)

The Lost World: Harnessing the Power of Descriptive Prose in the Novel (Wednesday, June 17, 6-9 PM)

Click here for the full details on all my GrubStreet courses.

The Historical Novel Society reviews Will Poole’s Island

February 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

hnsThe Historical Novel Society is an organization I respect, so I am quite honored that they have deemed Will Poole’s Island important enough to featureTheir reviewer made some interesting points about the book, and I think that in the final analysis he “got” it. What more can a first-time novelist ask?

Here’s the quote the reviewer references regarding my approach to mythic thinking within the novel:

“Unless we can find some way to understand the reality of mythic thinking we remain prisoners of our own language, our own thoughtworld. In our world one story is real, the other, fantasy. In the Indian way of thinking both stories are true because they describe personal experience . . . Historical events happened once and are gone forever. Mythic events return like the swans of spring . . . They are essential truths, not contingent ones.” – Robin Ridington

Read the full review here.

Two new articles out for Thanksgiving

November 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Some reading material, and a bit of food for thought as you’re digesting your bird . . .

1GIGWESD_400x400It’s Long Past Time to Update the Thanksgiving Myth,” Talking Points Memo. New perspectives on the early origins of America, based in part on personal revelations from the research for Will Poole’s Island.

Screen-shot-2014-11-22-at-9.50.51-AM-300x164A Taste of History,” Nantucket Magazine. Notes on the history of early English settlement on Nantucket and interactions with the resident Wampanoags. Includes a speculative menu of an imagined first Thanksgiving on the island.

Vermont Public Radio Interview

November 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

vprReally enjoyed my interview with Peter Biello of Vermont Public Radio on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.  Peter is an insightful reader and an excellent interviewer; we had a lively and wide-ranging conversation about the genesis of Will Poole’s Island, various aspects of early America, and new perspectives on the Thanksgiving myth. Click here for the podcast and transcript. 

Two new reviews

November 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Pleased to pass along this new review by Tinky Weisblat of the Greenfield, Mass Reporter, which called Will Poole’s Island  “A sweet, insightful, riveting adventure tale.” Here’s an extended excerpt:

“Weed writes colorfully and with feeling, drawing readers into Will’s and Squamiset’s lives and making his characters believable and human. Even the Puritans who persecute Will and Squamiset are treated with some degree of understanding even if their rigidity is difficult to condone. The author notes in an afterword that he is descended from both early settlers and Native Americans himself, which may account for his ability to depict both world views.Will Poole’s Island does several things and does them well. It is a sweet coming-of-age story, a riveting adventure tale, an insightful analysis of a difficult time in American history and an eloquent plea for understanding among all peoples.”

Read the full review here.

And here’s a second excerpt, this one from a new review by The Book Trail blog:

Will Poole’s Island takes you and throws you head first into the 17th century. So evocative in every sense of the word, it’s as if the scenes surround you as you read – the sights, sounds, and smells waft around you as you turn the pages. . . . It’s both an adventure story and a coming of age story but it’s the friendship between Will and Squamiset which will linger with me for a long time to come.”

Read the full review here.

 

An interview on travel and writing

October 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Had a great discussion with Troy Shaheen of Putney Student Travel on writing, travel, and leaving the digital world behind. Here’s an excerpt:

“For me, writing is an essential part of traveling. It’s a way to filter the experience, to interpret and record and bestow meaning. Travel allows you to see the world fresh; good writing does the same thing. This is why travel programs with a writing component, or writing programs with a travel component, are so consistently enriching. Travel lends itself naturally to writing.”

You can read the full interview here. And here’s a photo with a wonderful group of young writers on a Putney Student Travel program in Ireland in 2013:

CEIR_BrennaCasey-1100-600x400

New England book mini-tour

October 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

IMG_3820Thrilled to be embarking on an autumn mini book tour, during which I’ll be speaking, reading, and signing at several of New England’s great independent bookstores and libraries. Here’s the schedule of events. Come on out, I’d love to see you and sign your personal copy of Will Poole’s Island!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014, 6:30 PM
Bank Square Books
53 West Main Street
Mystic, Connecticut
 
 
 
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2014, 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
TOADLOGOThe Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough (11AM)
12 Depot Square, Peterborough, NH
&
The Toadstool Bookshop in Keene (2PM)
At the Colony Mill Marketplace in Keene, NH
 
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2014, 4:00 PM
world-eye-logo-fbWorld Eye Bookshop
156 Main Street, Greenfield, MA
 
 
 
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2014, 2:00 pm
DFL-logo-duxoval-largeDuxbury Free Library
77 Alden Street, Duxbury, Massachusetts

 

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