I have been rather MIA lately, but only because there has been so much going on!
Saturday, April 26th was our spring meeting of the Historical Novel Society, Great Lakes chapter in Columbus, OH. We began with a morning walking tour of German Village. As you can see, lots of spring color welcomed us as we took in brick sidewalks and streets, beautiful architecture, and one fantastic book store (The Book Loft). With 32 rooms of books, yes 32 ROOMS, you are guaranteed to find something for any bibliophile! As one of the few remaining independent bookstores in the city, visiting The Book Loft was a real treat.
We followed the tour with our meeting at the Hilliard Public Library. Marci Jefferson, debut author of “Girl on the Golden Coin” spoke to us about the gray line between fact and fiction in historical fiction, especially when it comes to writing about historic individuals. The group had a lively discussion on accuracy versus authenticity and we enjoyed hearing each other talk about how we’ve had to creatively deal with information gaps or worse, when the history doesn’t “fit” with the narrative we have laid out.
NY Times best-selling author of historical fiction and contemporary thrillers Karen Harper gave us tips for how to add thriller details to our historical works to get a more gripping tale. She emphasized the importance of strong hooks, believable villains, and never throwing any writing away. Karen also gave us keen insights on how writing and publishing has changed over her 30+ years of publishing books. As examples, Karen displayed the covers of many of her books, those first published in the 1980s and then those same books reprinted today. The difference in the covers was stunning, with the earlier covers being more romantic, whimsical, and artistic with plenty of pastel colors and the newer covers simplified with more historically accurate cover art and more subdued titles.
We concluded the evening with a meal at the historic Worthing Inn where we discussed the new AMC Revolutionary War spy series “Turn” on tv, historic sites throughout Ohio, and our sadness over the loss of so many independent bookstores we’ve cherished over the years.
Having a strong, enthusiastic community of writers has made such a difference to me, as I imagine it has for many others in the chapter. I look forward to our fall meeting in South Bend, IN!
So now you know what I’ve been up to lately – I’ll be back to writing reviews and commentary here very soon…I hope. I did leave The Book Loft with many new titles. 🙂