INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF New York 1609, Harald Johnson

omnicover_ebook_HR_1656x2560_copy_x800_55q_copycopyThank you for joining us today, Harald. I am excited to learn about you and yourr novel and to share this with HFA readers. Why don’t we get started?

 Getting To Know You A Little Bit Better…

Tell us a little about yourself – who you are, where did you grow up, and a bit about your family.

Professionally, over the years, I’ve been: a designer, photographer, art/creative director, ad agency owner, magazine publisher, marketing consultant, and now, writer/book publisher. I’ve lived in different places (Germany, Paris, Washington, D.C., Texas, L.A., and now Virginia) and grew up a little more at each stop along the way. I currently live with my wife deep in the woods of central Virginia.

 Wow! Sounds like you’ve been living the dream. At least mine!

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Besides swimming, which is my lifelong fitness regime (and form of meditation), I like working outside on my property. Remember the stories of George W. Bush always “clearing brush” on his ranch in Texas? Now I understand that because I do the same thing! There’s something about working up a sweat in the outdoors that’s deeply satisfying.

I am a cyclist. I love to get on my road bike and ride as far as I can. It does something for clearing my mind and I love how I feel after a long ride.

Where do you write? Coffee shop? Kitchen table? On the bus?

In my home office. (see more below about “writing room/space.”) Of course, if I get an idea, or hear a bit of dialogue on the street, I grab whatever I can and jot it down for future use.  

Now, Let’s Dig into Your Novel

New York 1609 is about the birth of New York City. I’m already interested, but tell us, how did you get interested in this time period and event?

Good question. I have an unusual connection to NYC and especially Manhattan, which is where NYC as the city we know today really started. I immigrated to the U.S. as a child with my parents in 1953. Exactly 30 years later (1983), when I swam around Manhattan island as part of a swim race, I was swimming over the exact spot where my family had arrived to start a new life. And this was also the very same location Henry Hudson encountered in 1609 when he arrived with his Dutch-Anglo crew seeking a new water passage to the Orient. So when I was waiting for the tide to change during that swim, I glanced up at the towering buildings and wondered to myself: How did things get to be this way? What was this place like before; I mean really like at the very beginning?

Inspiration was right there, towering over you! So cool.

Why did you choose New York 1609 as the title of your work?

It was a bit complicated. I’ve always liked numbers (and dates) in book titles (“1984” – “2001”); they’re simple and to the point. So when I first created a series of short ebooks (novellas) to serially write and publish my New York story, I used key dates as the titles: “1609” – “1612” – “1625” – “1640”. But all along I knew I would be folding these shorter works into a consolidated novel (with expanded content), and the trick was how to handle that title. My original title was “Mannahatta” (the Indian name for the Manhattan island), but I couldn’t get it to look good on my preliminary cover mockups (I design my own covers), so I knew I had to change it. Because shorter is usually better, I finally ended up with the cover you see illustrated here. Also, I wanted the title to really tell the story in a nutshell. I know that most fiction authors use clever or even obscure titles, but I wanted something more “this is what it’s about.” And “New York 1609” sums it up pretty well (and is easy to read in thumbnail size, which is essential).

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this HF novel?

Hanging in there for the four years it took me to complete the project. Life threw its obstacles at me, and I had to find ways around—or through—them.

 Isn’t that the truth! But, you made it through and look at you now! You’ve got a book to show for your hard determination and perseverance. Way to Go!

What are you most proud about in this HF novel?

The whole package. The writing, cover, interior, maps, promotional materials… I did it all, and I’m proud of that. Even though “New York 1609” is independently published by me, I could put this book up against any similar book by a major publisher or a world-famous author, and it holds its own. At least, in my view.

Is there one character in your novel you most relate to? Why?

The protagonist has bits of me in him. Not all of him, but bits. And each of the other main characters (I alternate between Indian and European points of view throughout) also has certain qualities I relate to. 

Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

Yes. And it’s this: Under our cultural and physical skins, we’re all the same. We love; we hate. We hope; we fear. We’re all human beings who basically want the same things.

How long did it take you, from the inception of the idea to the finish manuscript, to write New York 1609?

The initial concept (“Welcome to Manhattan, 1609”) came to me in June, 2014, as I got serious about writing a historical fiction novel. I spent at least a year or two reading and doing research. Then, because I wanted to get a feel for the entire process (writing, design/formatting, Amazon submission, manufacturing issues) and the audience (reactions, criticisms), I wrote and published the short novellas with pieces of the story in 2016-2017. I finished the final tweaks of the full-length work in May, 2018. So just under four years.

What surprised you the most while researching for this novel?

Honestly, that no one had done it before. Consider: New York City is one of the most important places on earth. It’s the world’s first “megacity.” And no one had written a novel about how it all began when Henry Hudson sailed into New York Harbor in 1609? Hard to believe, but it’s true, as verified by the New York City Chapter of the Historical Novel Society.

 Wow! That’s so surprising. But, what an opportunity you have because of this.  

JonSmith_HaraldandAlbert_236x342_copy_credit_85q copyA Day in the Life of Harald Johnson.

Tell us about your writing routine

I do my best writing in the morning when I’m fresh, but I’ll frequently end up doing more at odd times, and especially late at night when things are quite and everyone’s asleep.


How do you navigate your way out of the terrifying abyss of Writer’s Block?

In my case, I’m not sure I would call it “writer’s block,” but I do get “stuck” from time to time. And when that happens, I just move onto something else, like go for a swim or go outside and do some manual labor. I always get more ideas when I take a break.

Are you a “pants” writer or do you outline and plan your novels?

I’m an outliner. I want to make sure I have the main plot points and events under control. However, that doesn’t keep me from “pantsing” individual scenes or practice fragments. And, of course, the entire outlining process is just a form of pantsing. I usually end up with an evolving full-scene summary that I write “into.” But there’s plenty of room for changes and adjustments.

 Ha! I can completely relate. I like to have the skeleton of my work down on paper and then “pants” it from there.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

Not sure it’s that unusual, but I like to have multiple windows open on my desktop computer as I write and research at the same time. One has my scene draft going while the others are open to Google and one of the online thesauruses (I use several). This way, if I have a question for a scene I’m writing about, for example, planting corn, I can quickly get the info to complete that scene.

Describe your writing room/space.

I write in my home office. I have a recycled school desk I sandblasted and added a glass top to. On that sits my large iMac surrounded by millions of postit notes! I live in the woods surrounded by trees, and I usually keep the blinds half-closed so I don’t get distracted. But when I’m writing about trees, I just open the blinds and there they are!

Harlan Ellison, an American speculative fiction author, once said, People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.”  I love this quote as I feel this resonates strongly with me. It takes effort and focus to shut out the voices that call me away from writing, be they my family’s voice or the voices of the tedious chores and expectations. Is there a quote you find resonates or has inspired you as a writer?

“How did things get to be this way?” is a quote from environmental historian William Cronon (“Changes in the Land,” 1983). That sums up a key question many historical fiction writers ask themselves. I know I do.

What authors have inspired you?

As odd as this may sound, John Grisham did. I would read his legal thrillers and enjoy them. Then I met him after he moved to the area where I now live. Once I realized he’s just a guy who started writing in his spare time and never stopped, I thought to myself: I bet I could do that. And then when I studied famous HF writers like Michener, Follett, or Rutherfurd, I said to myself: I can do that.

What novel from your childhood/teen years was your favorite?

Not exactly in my childhood, but I was bowled over by Camus’ “The Stranger” in my early college years. The alienation theme, the sparseness, the whole thing. I loved it.

My favorite, or at least one of them, was Clan of the Cavebear. It wasn’t required reading, but something I borrowed from the library. I had never read anything like it before! I went on to read all Jean Auel’s novels.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I hope people are transported in time and place when they read “New York 1609.” It was a very important time under Dutch influence that firmly planted the seeds of commerce, finance, and culture that continue to this day in New York City and far beyond.

Also, besides the new book being available in paperback, I have a special ebook launch price of only $0.99 for a limited time, and the ebook is also available for free on Kindle Unlimited.

And thank you for this opportunity to tell my story!

Thank you Harald! This was very interesting and we all wish you much success with your novel!

To purchase New York 1609 visit:



Please visit Harald’s website

Until Next time….visit New York by stepping into 1609!


Book Review: Raven’s Feast

ravens_feast_ebook_coverThis was the part of the battle that tore at Hakon’s nerves. It always had. It was the moment between life and death, when his emotions swirled and his bowels loosened and the dark cloak of doubt ate at his thoughts. The moment when the two armies had committed and the anticipation is at its highest; and yet, there was still time to wonder whether a sword would spill his guts or he would drown in the gray sea or, by God’s grace, he would live to see another dawn. (451, Raven’s Feast)


Can you feel the tension? The moment a warrior waits for the battle to begin; the space of time he wonders what his fate will be? We may all contemplate our death and the decisions we have made along the way, but for the warriors who await a bloody battled face-to-face with their foe, the answer can either embolden them or immobilize them. Raven’s Feast is a novel that time and time again puts the reader into the shoes of such warriors so vividly we, as readers, experience the soul searching agony of such existentialist questions.

Eric Schumacher, crafts a powerful story, second in the Hakon Series, that is rich in historical detail chronicling young, Hakon, King of the Jarls that is drenched with tension. From the opening scene where readers are immersed into a battle scene to the closing chapter, we are swept off into the ancient Viking world as fifteen-year-old King Hakon tries to lead his army against two mighty foes, the Danes of the South and the Uplanders of the East.

Meanwhile, mistrust and skepticism grows as Hakon brings Christian priests to his people who neither welcome the Christian God nor want to give up their old pagan gods. The battle for peace and security takes many forms and Hakon must learn some painful lessons about being a wise King, lessons that cost him the lives of people he loves and the trust of those he leads.

Occasionally, I found the story skipped unexpectedly ahead , but overall, Raven’s Feast has a strong story line, with powerfully painted scenes and complex, compelling characters. Raven’s Feast is fast paced and action packed that readers will thoroughly enjoy.

Raven’s Feast is available for purchase, just follow the link below. And do drop by Eric’s Website to view his other works and to send him your own comments and questions about his writing.

Until Next time…Choose your fate, wisely!

Eric Schumacher
Author, HAKON’S SAGA (Book 1 & 2)
headshot_squareERIC SCHUMACHER BIO

Eric Schumacher was born in Los Angeles in 1968 and currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife, two children and dog. He is the author of two historical fiction novels, God’s Hammer and its sequel, Raven’s Feast. Both tell the story of the first Christian king of Viking Norway, Hakon Haraldsson, and his struggles to gain and hold the High Seat of his realm. Both books can be found on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and other retailers.

More information on Eric and his Hakon Sagas can be found on his website. You can also connect with Eric on TwitterFacebookGoodreads, and AuthorsDB.

My Father Has Loved You For a Long time

Middle Earth Meanderings

Comfort in two loving arms and ten secure fingers. In a shoulder that can perfectly nest my head, in a chest that can support all my insecurities, and still beat with life and hope.

Calmness in an embrace that lasts longer than now and shorter than forever, in the two arms that squeeze out of me the words, “I never judged you”.

In a world of hurt and accusation, in a life of falling short, and amongst the endless echoes of past hurts, and present shame, there is comfort. There is no condemnation. To think I flew so far just for a hug, just for a father to sit beside me and tell me what he thought of me all this time.

For as long as I can think back I’ve been thinking too much. Thoughts upon thoughts stacked higher than the tower of babel trying to see what God…

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Fateful Decisions -Trevorsfrontcover _Park Road BooksHi Trevor! Thank you for this interview today. We are excited to have you and to share your passion, learn a little about yourself and a whole lot about your novel and writing.

Let’s get started with a few questions to allow us to get to know the author behind the novel.




Coffee or Tea, or something else?

Coffee to wake me up and get me going and tea to help me relax.

I am a tea drinker (extraodinaire) and a lover of water.

City Fella or Country?

I would say a bit of both. City to have a social life, but I do appreciate the peace and quiet that the country can give.

What were you like at school?

At school, I was studious, but mischievous. My friends remember me for always cracking jokes and trying to have a good time.

Were you good at English?

Yes. I grew up speaking English at home and I did well in exams and also in writing essays. I liked to read a lot and I developed a good vocabulary and always tried to learn new words. My parents and grandmother always insisted that I speak correctly and not use slang or casual language.

I love hearing how parents and grandparents can shape a person! I only had one grandparent, as the others had passed away before I was born. The only thing my grandmother imparted to me was how to make a good pie crust. That may be helpful if one day I write about a baker.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

I always knew I liked to write, but I developed my talent for writing only when I was in my twenties. I like to draw and also design things. I came up with the ideas for my book cover and people tell me that it looks great. People also tell me that I can cook very well, but that depends on what I cook.

A writer, an artist, a cook as well! That’s a lot of talent. And I would have to agree that your book cover does look great. It has to be extra special writing the story and creating the book cover too.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?

Well, when I first began teaching at a four year university, my boss who was the chair of the department gave me the textbook. I prepared for class using that. I taught the whole class and only towards the end the students told me that they had no idea what I was talking about because they had bought a different text book which had some similar content, but not all of it. It turned out that my boss gave me the wrong textbook and the first chapter in my text book was different from theirs. I was embarrassed, but then my students and I thought that it was very amusing. Later, my boss gave me the correct textbook.

Haha! That’s hilarious (now). I suppose you were very glad to get the correct textbook.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I have many ideas and would like to use those ideas to write more novels. Everyone is aware that time is a major factor especially when one has to work for a living. When I was getting my degrees, I had to concentrate on my studies and writing my first novel, ‘Fateful Decisions’, took seventeen years to complete. I had to put aside writing my novel even when I was teaching.  Now that I work for a company, I have more free time to write. So, I would like to put all the ideas that I have into writing novels. It remains to be seen if I become a famous author. Since I love history and writing novels, I would like to merge both to educate people on history in an interesting and fun manner.

17 years to finish your novel! That’s dedication and I would suspect a great encouragement to others who are working full time and writing on the side.

Which writers inspire you?

I grew up reading Agatha Christie, Sidney Sheldon, Jack Higgins, Franklin W. Dixon, Enid Blyton and others. Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon played an important part in inspiring me to write novels. I liked the way they weaved mystery and suspense to produce an interesting book.  I draw my inspiration from them.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.

I used to read a lot. Now that I am working full time and busy writing my books, I spend more time on research and also marketing my current novel. I try and read when I can. Favorite authors are Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon and I think I have read most of their books. I like Brad Thor and James Patterson, but wish I had the time to read more of their books.

Which famous person, living or dead, would you most like to meet and why?

Agatha Christie, since her books gave me a love for reading and writing. I used to read a lot before I discovered her books at the age of fourteen, but her books were the ones that really instilled in me to take up writing as a hobby and maybe make it a second career.

I love quotes! What is your favorite quote?

“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”  Winston Churchill

That’s a fantastic Quote! I shall add it to my collection.



Pen or type writer or computer?

Now it is the computer, but at one point in time it was the pen.

Do you write alone or in public?

Alone. I like to write in peace. The quieter the better.

I am a mixture. When I really want to focus, I go to our local Starbucks for the day. That way my family (children and animals) cannot interrupt me. Otherwise, I write at home.

Music or silence 

Silence, as it helps me focus. Sometimes I have the television on, but when I need to concentrate, silence is absolutely necessary.  Never music, as I get engrossed in it.

Why do you write?

I write because it helps me destress and relaxes me. It takes me away from the harsh realities of life and soothes me. Since I love history, it is a perfect way to help people to learn history from a novel, which most people like to read in their spare time.

Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes 

Usually it is when inspiration strikes. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my work, I cannot always jot down ideas, but I have to try and remember the ideas I had at work and then try and build up on them.

What tactics do you have when writing? (For example: outline or just write)

When I am trying to build up on the story and not sure about the details, I just try and write an outline. That is the skeleton of the novel and then gradually, I add and delete stuff. It is very crucial that I know what I want the ending to be and I write the ending after being sure about it.  I then manipulate the various twists and plots within the novel to come to that ending.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

I would say the hardest thing about writing is trying to make everything fit in and come together. Also, you may have a great idea for a plot or scene, but finding the right words to fit into a conversation and also make it interesting to the reader is hard. To me as a writer, what I write may be interesting, but each reader is different. So, trying to make it interesting for all is a big challenge.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

The easiest thing about writing is that once you know what you want to write, words just flow easily. You have got to use that opportunity and write or you will lose that inspiration for that particular part of the novel you are writing.

Best writing advice you ever received?

I did not know any writers personally, so I never got any advice from anyone. The only time I got to know writers was through my publisher’s face book page. They only gave me advice on getting the novel ready for publishing. Before that, I had to research and learn from others.  I would say, for me, the best writing advice I got from one of my fellow writers was this: “Give a brief description of the characters when they are introduced in the scene. It is very important that the readers have a mental image of the characters.”  

How long did it take you to get your work published?

It took me nearly two years to get it published. I started in November 2015. I learned to write query letters, and I sent it out along with sample chapters to many literary agents and publishers. Since I was a new, unknown author, many agents were not interested in taking the project. Along the way, I revised my novel, reducing the word count and also subject matter. Some agents told me what they liked and did not like about my sample chapters and I really appreciated that. I listened and made the necessary changes. Finally, in April 2017, Black Rose Writing sent me an email and I saw that email while having breakfast, before going to work. I talked to the publishers and signed the contract. The rest, as they say, is history. It finally got published in October 2017.

If you were running the 100 yard dash with a new writer. What writing, publishing wisdom would you bestow upon him/her before you reached the 100 yards?

Always research the subject matter you are writing about thoroughly and make sure you have an interesting start. Also, make sure your novel is concise and easy to read.You do not want to bore the reader with too many details. Get to the point quickly. When seeking a publisher or a literary agent, many of them may not tell you the reason they will not pursue your project but will write a generic statement in an email rejecting it. Those that do tell you, please listen to their constructive criticism and do as they say. They may not take it up again after turning it down, but somebody else may. Therefore, it is important to take advice. Place your best foot forward when trying to get an agent, publisher or while marketing your book.

This is very good advice, and resembles the advice of William Faulkner who once said, ” In writing, you must kill your darlings.” Criticism is hard, but we must be open to it so we can grow as writers and create publishable work.


Where did the seed of inspiration for this novel come from?

I always loved World War-2 stories. I got the love for military history, stories and movies while watching World War-2 movies sitting on my late father’s lap as a child. I love old Hollywood movies and I watch a lot of them. I decided that I would write a novel on the history of the early twentieth century since World Wars I and II occurred and also include the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, and Prohibition. It took me seventeen years to write this novel since I was getting my degrees, but all the while I kept collecting material, which I felt would give me ideas. Some ideas came from watching historical documentaries and also historical dramas like ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘The Godfather’. Therefore, it was just not one idea, but a collection of various ideas that inspired me to write this novel.

How much research did you do for this novel, and how did you find reliable sources?

Plenty of research. Since it is based on history, facts have to be accurate. The characters can all be your own making, but when history is involved, the author has to stay true to the facts. I used books, internet sources (google is your friend, if you know what I mean), documentaries and also magazines. I went with internet sources that were from government websites, historical societies or from valid historians. In one case, while getting the novel edited, I had to contact this university in Paris to get the year it closed down during WW-II. The year on the internet was wrong and then the article was not available on the internet. Therefore, the author has to be very proactive when writing a historical fiction novel. For other types of genres, I guess it depends on what you are trying to write about.

I love research! I have to be careful not to get so lost in researching that I forget to put my story to the page.

What was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story?

My novel is set in the early part of the twentieth century between 1915 to 1946. There is a flashback to 1912. I would say that time period enhanced my novel very much since that time period was a very turbulent time for the twentieth century around the world with two world wars and the Great Depression. There were so many stories and experiences from which I could get inspiration and that helped me produce my novel. I loved researching that time period and learned a lot about history that was not taught in history class.

What specific themes did you emphasize throughout the novel?

My novel, ‘Fateful Decisions’, is about how a decision by the protagonist Rachel Williams to marry one of the two men that proposed to her brings about a series of events that lasts for thirty years. It also shows how different characters get involved with events of the early twentieth century and how their decisions to love, forgive, betray and reconcile have an impact on them.

In our lives, we make several decisions if not for ourselves but also for others and all those decisions have consequences, which we have to deal with. That is the main theme I wanted to emphasize.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?

Rachel Williams is the main character of the novel. From a shy naïve girl from Vermont, she becomes the owner of a group of hotels. Her decision to marry one of the two men that proposed to her brings about a series of events that involved her, her family, and strangers through major historical events of the early twentieth century. Later in the novel, she has to come to a conclusion if the decision she made was the right one and whether the consequences were good or bad.

Is there any moral or a lesson you are hoping your readers discover through your novel?

The novel is filled with morals. It helps the reader to learn not to make light of their decisions and to think carefully about the consequences.  Also, it has a lesson about how good things come back later to help you or your family and that forgiving others, especially when they ask forgiveness, is what will bring peace.

What is your favorite part of your novel?

My favorite part of the novel is when Rachel learns the truth about her parents’ sacrifice and how their sacrifice helped her and her son for many years in the future. I am afraid that is all I can say since I do not wish to give out too many details.


Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

Yes, my second novel is a murder mystery set in England in the late 1920s during a heat wave. I will be introducing a new detective in the novel. The detective has to use history and also memories of older people to help solve a series of murders currently taking place in his hometown while he is on vacation.

What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?

Your first novel is like learning how to walk. You will make mistakes and get frustrated. But just like walking, you have to take baby steps to start with. In the same way, you have to be persistent and keep at it. The mistakes you make will be a learning experience, and when you write your second novel, you will learn to avoid those same mistakes.

Is there something you would like to share with HFA readers about yourself, your novel or writing, in general?

To write a novel, you have to read a lot of books, articles and magazines; talk to people that are knowledgeable on the subject  you are writing; research and also watch movies and documentaries. The ideas you get will help you come up with a concept and you can expand on that concept to include various scenarios. We live in an age of instant gratification, so your first few pages should be interesting and catchy. That will help grab the attention of a literary agent, publisher, and eventually your readers. So, that is the key to getting people interested in your novel. It is very exhausting, but when you write a novel, you have to be open to criticism and new ideas. You may have to go back to the drawing board and change your novel and also write the novel all over again, but that is what the learning experience is about. It took me seventeen years to write my novel, but I kept collecting information I thought would be helpful. I learned a lot about grammar, history, and the publishing industry. To me it is well worth the effort.

Thank you so much for your time, thoughts and insights. We wish all the best with Fateful Decisions and hope to feature you again when you next novel is published.

Fateful Decisions -Trevorsfrontcover _Park Road BooksYou can find Trevor’s novel, Fateful Decision, at the following locations: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads

And feel free to support and encourage him on his WebsiteFacebook page, Instagram and Twitter feed.

Until Next time…. Keep Reading and Writing!



Becoming a Writer in Your 40s, 50s, and Beyond

A little encouragement for the writer’s who think age matters…only if you are wine does it matter. Otherwise, go! Write!

A Writer's Path

hands elderly

by Lauren Sapala

Age can be a touchy topic for artists of all types. There’s a glamorous myth that says all the geniuses come into their talent at a young age, and by the time they’re 30 they have already reached astonishing heights of prowess.

But like so many other sexy tales that figure into writing mythology, this one has little basis in fact.

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7 Elements of Historical Fiction

It looks like there is plenty today for writer’s to consider. I hope you enjoy this one and find it particularly helpful.

A Writer of History

Inside HFAll writers of fiction have to consider seven critical elements: character, dialogue, setting, theme, plot, conflict, and world building. While every story succeeds or disappoints on the basis of these elements, historical fiction has the added challenge of bringing the past to life.

Since I work best by example, I’m developing an explanation of the seven elements in the context of historical fiction.

Character – whether real or imagined, characters behave in keeping with the era they inhabit, even if they push the boundaries. And that means discovering the norms, attitudes, beliefs and expectations of their time and station in life. A Roman slave differs from a Roman centurion, as does an innkeeper from an aristocrat in the 18th century. Your mission as writer is to reveal the people of the past.

Dialogue – dialogue that is cumbersome and difficult to understand detracts from readers’ enjoyment of historical fiction…

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The Turning Wheel: The Story of a Week

An interesting history on the days of the week. Perhaps, if you are writer you may wish consider the day of the week your story begins, or ends or the date of a birth or death of a character based off the history behind the day? Its a thought. An interesting one too.

Synaptic Space

Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace
Wednesday’s child is full of woe
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay

-“Monday’s Child” an old English nursery rhyme

Tomorrow is Friday.  That being the case, I expect to hear an ancient god invoked frequently throughout the day.  I’m not talking about the “G” in the mantra, TGIF, but rather the “F”.  That is the day of the week, Friday, which gets its name from an ancient pre-Christian deity.  To my knowledge, there is never a religious intent behind the oft-heard cliche, just as when I sneeze the bless yous that I receive are not generally meant to exorcise demonic forces from my body.  In our modern…

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10 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

Some useful tips

A Writer's Path

Writer's Block

by Vincent Mars

For us writers, few things are more frustrating than to finally sit down at our desks after taking care of real life chores only to be struck dumb by the blank page or the white screen. Writer’s block can be quite disabling, a form of writerly constipation that the harder we try to overcome, the more it aggravates. It pleases me to say that I have not suffered from this writer’s malady for a long time, which I believe is largely due to the conscious defenses against it I have taken. If you have the time, I would like to share these with you.

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Using Mythology to Improve Your Writing

Hi HFAs. I thought for those of you who are writing your own historical fiction novel you may find this uaeful.

A Writer's Path

by Doug Lewars

Mythology is a goldmine for authors–particularly those who write fantasy–although some of the plots within the myths can be adapted to other genres as well. Myths are a feature of every culture and they’re generally used to explain natural phenomena or the establishment of cultural norms. They are deemed to be of sufficient importance that courses on the subject are offered at the university level.

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Winter’s Chill and Frozen Words


Winter in his thick, white cloak slips in my bedroom window and wraps itself around me. His icy touch stings my warm skin, staining it black. I strain to move but his grip is too strong on me. Winter is heavy. He presses me down, weighing down my body with his frosty attitude and biting responds to my desire to be outside. I bow my head to his cold breath, keeping my face to the ground. My dreams freeze up under his icy stare and I cannot see any longer words or phrases of the stories that so freely danced inside my head. I see nothing in this cold tundra…nothing but ice and snow.  I am frozen, arms folded in, words like tiny shattered icicles blanket the snow around my blue feet. I am waiting for Spring. Hoping she comes soon before Winter kills me completely.