Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Why historical fiction?

The wip's shaping up heartily and I've written, so far, 4,000 words. Not bad for a week.

Unfortunately I'm going to stop for now as I have my column for Solander, the magazine of the Historical Novels Society, to write. I'd like to try and define what draws writers and readers to historical stories. If you're reading my blog chances are you like historical fiction, so you can help.

Why do you write / read historical fiction? Why, really? Do you read historical non-fiction as well? What other types of fiction do you read, and how does it differ from historical? Do you read all kinds of historical fiction? Or only specific sub genres?

12 Comments:

  • At 1:38 am, Blogger ma said…

    Well, I haven't yet written historical fiction, but I do read it. I like the sense of being elsewhere than here, today, and the different possibilities that allows. I read most types of fiction, except horror, although I tend to read in phases. (Historical fiction has phased in this year.) Finally, I like historical romances and what I think of as straight historical fiction. I don't know other subgenres.

     
  • At 11:39 am, Anonymous Scaramouche said…

    Well, the main reason is that I have a passion for history. Second, I just love a good story. That's it basicaly. Could go on about how it helps bring history to life, but really I just like a good story to sink myself into, and there's nothing better than history.

     
  • At 12:40 pm, Anonymous Pamela Cleaver said…

    If I have several books waiting to be read, it will always be the historical that I pick first. I love history and read not only HNs but non-fic history books. I like getting into another era and seeing how life was lived then. I also like the way historical fiction can comment on our own time by using a parallel situation. I particularly like time-slip books which take a modern character into the past.

    Pam

     
  • At 3:43 pm, Anonymous Esther (edcm) said…

    I love history. Period. It almost doesn't matter what time period it is, although I'm not fond of some of US history. And, I love "social" history - the history of how people lived their everyday lives. As for what I read, I will always pick up a historical (fiction or non-fiction) first. If someone suggests something, I might look at it, but it has to really snag my attention quickly if it's not a historical. What I read also depends on my mood - if I want a quick, light read, I'll pick up a Regency; if I want something heavier, there are lots to choose from, but I'm more likely to pick up something from early late 18th and 19th centuries. I am also more likely to pick up something that will give me more of a flavor of day-to-day life during the time period. I might dream about being lady of the manor or castle, but I also know that it was hard work to be that person, so I want to see her at work.

     
  • At 10:06 pm, Anonymous Jill said…

    I read widely, both historical and contemporary. But I love historical romances because it feels like a true escape ...

     
  • At 11:22 pm, Anonymous Michelle said…

    Kate--I've always loved historical fiction. There's something magical about it, and I've always been fascinated by the past. I love to learn new things, which is why I write historicals.

    Plus, where else can you step into the shoes of a woman loved by a hunky medieval knight? Or a bad boy outlaw? Or a handsome, arrogant lord? The possibilities are endless. . .

     
  • At 6:16 am, Anonymous Tina said…

    I love history, always have. But, what I love about reading historical fiction is the way it takes me out of where ever I am at the time. I want to get away and see what life would be like if I'd been born in a different era.

    I'd pick historical over contemporary any day. But, even then I have to make the choice of which to read first. My choices seem to be by clothing...Kilts then shining armour then any cover with a sword or dagger on it.

    Why am I writing HF? Because that's what my subconscious told me to do, of course.

     
  • At 8:54 am, Blogger Diane said…

    I'm very interested in history per se because it's what shaped us as a nation today. I love to read historical fiction because it brings a particular era to life. As a socialist I'm particularly interested in the ways people used to live compared to how they live today.

    Americans are very patriotic, far more than the British, and my current interest is to find out why. They don't have a long history but it means an awful lot to them. One of the best non-fiction books I've read recently was about the early Tudor settlers in Virginia and the mystery surrounding their disappearance.

    The other thing I read, other than history, is mystery. So where the two are combined I'm very happy. I like to write contemporary crime fiction but with DNA and other modern resources that's not as easy to do these days as it was in, say, Agatha Christie's day. So I'd like to merge the two and write historical mysteries.

     
  • At 10:17 pm, Blogger Kate Allan said…

    Thanks all for your comments. Seems to me there's some basic interest in history it's really hard to define... but it's there. Do you think it's the human interest?

     
  • At 12:08 am, Anonymous Scaramouche said…

    The stories of course. But people, that's what history is all about.

     
  • At 12:00 pm, Blogger Sela Carsen said…

    Human interest? Naaah. It's the buckskins! ;-)

     
  • At 12:23 am, Blogger Kate Allan said…

    Thank you all for the comments. Helpful and I got the column off, and it was ok. Relief!

    Buckskins...Hmmmm. A subject for a future blog post, methinks.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home