Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why Not Historical Fiction?

JANICE:  There are writers who can create fantasy and contemporary fiction but I am not one of them. As for fantasy, I don't read it so how can I write it? Contemporary fiction is beyond my abilities because I don't understand the present! My passion is reading and writing historical fiction. I love to bring the past alive. So much research of the past exists in libraries, online, and onsite that helps me understand the times and gives me ideas for story.

The problem is that historical fiction is not as popular today as fantasy and contemporary fiction. There is little market for the genre so publishers are not publishing it. My question is why? Is historical fiction not a form of fantasy? It brings the past alive with characters that a young reader can relate to? What better way to learn history than through a well-researched novel like the following:

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, about a young apprentice silversmith during the American revolution who becomes involved with the Sons of Liberty.

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare, that tells of a young Israeli boy who revolts against the Roman occupation.

Wolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi, the story of an unacknowledged daughter of Thomas Jefferson and his house slave, Sally Hemings.

Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter, the story of Cleopatra's daughter who is taken to Rome when Egypt is conquered.

Comanche Song by Janice Shefelman, that tells about the clash between the Comanches and the Texans from the viewpoint of the son of a Comanche peace chief.

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, the story of a young Roman centurion in Britain whose cause is to discover what happened to his father's Ninth Legion when they marched north and never returned.