Monthly Archives: August 2017

#Bookreview The Queen’s Mary by @sarahgristwood Mary Queen of Scots #Histfic

The unmarried Queen’s Marie, Mary Seton.

Rosie Amber

The Queen's Mary: In the Shadows of Power...The Queen’s Mary: In the Shadows of Power… by Sarah Gristwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three point five stars.

The Queen’s Mary is a historical novel about the life of Mary Queen of Scots told from the point of view of one of her close companions. Mary Seton was one of four Marys who served the queen, first as a childhood companion and later as a lady-in-waiting.

The girls joined Queen Mary just before she was sent to France by her mother. The four Marys spent time in a convent while Queen Mary was brought up in the royal nursery. Later they re-joined the queen at court.

Seton outlived Queen Mary by a quarter of a century, ending her days back in France. This story is told from several different points in her life, often using flashbacks from her memory.

The idea of using a minor figure to…

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Marie Macpherson #AuthorInTheSpotlight @MGMacpherson

Spotlight on Portobello Book Blog

Portobello Book Blog

Marie Macpherson

I’m very pleased to welcome Marie MacPherson as my Author in the Spotlight today. The second in her Knox Blast of the Trumpet trilogy was published in September 2015. You can order a copy online here.  Marie has very kindly offered a signed copy of the book as a giveaway for a UK reader so look for the entry link at the bottom of the page.

First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?

I’m an Honest Toun lass, born in Musselburgh and raised on the site of the Battle of Pinkie  – which may explain my passion for 16th century Scottish history. But after seeing the film, Dr Zhivago, I chose to study Russian at Strathclyde University and spent a year in the Soviet Union to research my PhD on the writer Lermontov, said to be descended from Thomas the Rhymer.

What inspired you…

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That weird head-hopping stuff.

Ar you a head hopper?

timelightcom

Writing a book is about establishing a connection between the reader and the character in the book. No matter how excellent the historical details, how correct the description of everything from how to dismantle a gun to how to perform emergency surgery in the wild, unless the reader is invested in the characters, the read will leave them at most lukewarm. Unless, of course, they read the book precisely to find out how to dismantle a gun, but generally expectations on a work of fiction are somewhat higher than that.

To establish that connection, the writer has at their disposal person and POV – point of view. Person is usually a choice between first person and third person. I once attended a very interesting lecture about using second person, i.e. “you” throughout a book and came away with the conclusion that this  a) was difficult to pull off without sounding…

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Because it happened: How not to write historical fiction

Cryssa Bazos

A_Scribe_or_Copyist-2

When I started writing the first dirty draft of Traitor’s Knot, I was so focused on the details of the events, that I often neglected the human reaction to the drama. It’s understandable given that there is so much pressure to get the historical facts nailed. Historical fiction writers have the advantage of knowing what happened to their subjects, but sometimes that knowledge blunts the suspense.

This doesn’t seem to be a problem for other genres, with perhaps the exception of memoire. Science fiction and fantasy–your imagination defines what or what doesn’t happen. Contemporary or romance, ditto. Thrillers? You guys are the boss for keeping us guessing! But historical fiction writers are slaves to the set-in-stone historical record and too often we concentrate more on the facts.

I’ll give you an example of this from that first raw draft. The historical facts: Following the Battle of Worcester, King Charles II…

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