Why Historical Fiction?

History is alive in each of us. Historical Fiction has been my great love as a reader, but I came onto it by accident as a writer.  I wasn’t thinking about swords, jesters or horses when I started to write historical fiction.  While writing my first book, Off the Tracks, I was using my childhood diary to reveal coming of age experiences.  A bunch of fifty year old party tapes and my mother’s love letters were around to fill out some characters and details.  Family members threatened to sue if I ever shared the wild tales of being abandoned and left to fend for myself at the age of 12.  I scribbled away, but to my surprise a presenter at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference announced that any stories taking place before the year 2000 were historical fiction.  Yikes.  I apparently am a fossil.

My second book, Islands of Deception clearly belongs to the genre.  World War II stories are appearing for two reasons. The first is that many of us have inherited the memoirs and letters of our parents. We are finding out that their stories are fascinating, their exploits daring and their memories are unique. However, there are gaps in memories of things that happened many years ago. Their accounts are presented as fiction so that scenes and characters can be created.  We are visual creatures.

A second reason, and one that is perhaps more urgent, is that readers note disturbing parallels between the rise of Fascism in Europe and the current political climate in the U.S.  When I began this story in 2015, that idea was inconceivable.  We need to take these lessons to heart, and follow the old saying, “Those who ignore history…..”

I look forward to seeing your remarks, and learning your histories.