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.

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)

Novel Excerpt in The Island Review

February 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

new-england-1-640x420Nice to see this excerpt from Will Poole’s Island published today in The Island Review. My thanks to Malachy Tallack and the rest of the TIR staff – it’s a great publication to subscribe to if you love islands and good writing!

What Novels Can Do That Movies Can’t

January 10, 2015 § 1 Comment

grubstreet-logoIn anticipation of the 10 week novel class I’m teaching at GrubStreet this winter, I have a little piece up at The Grub Daily called “What Novels Can do that Movies Can’t, and Why We Need to Keep Writing Them.” Here’s an excerpt:

“One of the great things about being alive in the twenty-first century is the abundance of good movies – and, lately, of good and even great TV series. But the happy truth is, even in this environment, novels are holding their own. This may be due to what novelist and writing teacher John Gardner referred to as the “vivid, continuous dream” of fiction, which is more than a writing workshop cliché.”

Read the whole post here.

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