April 24, 2017 § Leave a comment
Take a look at Crystal King’s recent article at Literary Hub regarding the relevance of historical fiction to contemporary society. Crystal, the author of Feast of Sorrow, a gripping new novel on ancient Rome, makes some excellent points about the ways in which the visceral experience of history that comes from reading novels based in the past can inform our understanding of the present. The article also presents the perspectives of ten contemporary historical novelists in whose company I’m quite honored to be included, including Jenna Blum, Anjali Mitter Duva, Margaret George, Heather Webb, and Marjan Kamali. Our current political leaders would do well to read this one!
July 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
Very much looking forward to joining a group of young American writers in just a few days as the guest novelist on this exciting international writing program. We’ll begin in Prague and then head down to southern Bohemia, where an historic castle will be the staging ground for field exercises, craft talks, hiking, stimulating conversation about books and literature, and miscellaneous fun.
Putney Student Travel is the same group that has taken me to Dublin and the small island of Inishbofin for the last two summers, and it’s a great experience. Travel and writing go so well together, and it’s always inspiring to work alongside young women and men who are passionate about writing and literature. I’ll post some pics on my FB author page . . .
April 21, 2015 § 2 Comments
It 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.
March 23, 2015 § 3 Comments
Very 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.
March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
Looking 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
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)
March 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’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)
February 11, 2015 § Leave a comment
The Historical Novel Society is an organization I respect, so I am quite honored that they have deemed Will Poole’s Island important enough to feature. Their 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.