“The themes and tropes that interest, inspire or worry us are timeless”
At her historical fiction blog, A Writer of History, author and blogger M.K.Tod (Mary) recently posed a series of questions to readers, and bloggers on the subject of what constitutes successful historical fiction.
The questions posed by Mary were:
- What’s your definition of successful historical fiction?
- What attributes are most important to you when designating a novel ‘successful historical fiction’.
- Which authors do you think create the most successful historical fiction? (please restrict yourself to a small number of authors!)
- What makes these particular authors stand out?
- In your opinion, what aspects prevent a novel from being designated successful historical fiction?
- Are famous people essential to successful historical fiction?
- Does successful historical fiction have to say something relevant to today’s conditions?
- What role does research play in successful historical fiction?
- In your opinion, how are these elements critical to successful historical fiction? Characters. Setting. Plot. Conflict. Dialogue. World building. Themes.
- Do you judge historical fiction differently from contemporary fiction?
I took up the challenge, and you can read my interview here.
If historical fiction is your thing, it’s fascinating to read the other responses to Mary’s questions, from a range of historical fiction authors. Such a seemingly simple question as “How do you define historical fiction?” is so difficult to pin down; my answer boils down to, “it depends!”
Mary has promised to pull together some insights from her series of interviews, which I look forward to reading and will post a link to here.