I’m pleased and honored to have Haley Whitehall guest posting today. Haley has wonderful news to share with us, but first she’s going to tell us a little about herself.
Okay, take it away, Haley:
Why Historical Fiction?
Many people have asked me why I write historical fiction. The simple answer is because I love history and historical fiction is a natural fit. But, there is more to it than that. I want to do more than entertain with my stories; I want to teach.
I think historical fiction is one of the most misunderstood genres. Historical fiction is not the same thing as the dry history textbook you read in high school. Historical fiction is more than just the facts. That is where the fiction comes in 😉
Many people fell asleep in history class. Ever watched the Jaywalking segment on the Tonight Show
? It is amazing how little some people know about history. Okay it is more than amazing; it is downright scary.
I hope historical fiction can help fill in the holes! I want to put my B.A in history to work.
Writing historical fiction, I can bring history to life. I happen to be drawn to the nineteenth century U.S. The Civil War, Pony Express, Oregon Trail, cowboys on the Chrisom Trail… I love it all. I love imagining the landscape dry, dusty, and dreary or bright, beautiful and blossoming. I have the power to bring the terrible troubles of a war torn country to life or the triumphs of a nation celebrating peace and prosperity.
I throw my fictional characters into true historical conflicts. Each character has a set of traits: strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, habits. I watch my characters struggle and grow in this historical setting. Perhaps, I’m a little bit like a mad scientist.
I base my fictional characters on a combination of real people, although most are unknown in popular history. Some historical fiction writers choose to write fictional events in the life of famous authentic historical people, but I like to tell the story of the common man. I like to expose untold or little known historical stories or events. It is like one of those Dateline
stories that uncover the truth. I dig deep for my stories.
My debut novel Living Half Free follows the life of a mulatto slave, who falls in love with a Cherokee woman, and passes as white. But, he must find his voice, and the courage to stand up for his beliefs or else lose everyone he loves forever.
Because I write historical fiction to teach history, I am careful at what I embellish. I pay close attention to manner of speech, dress, work, personal behaviors, settings, and interactions with other characters. I try to make them authentic for the time period as much as possible. Historical fiction is not easy. Every detail can be scrutinized by the reader which makes research time consuming and important.
I not only write historical fiction, I continue to read it too. (Every Monday I review a historical fiction book on my blog.) There are many periods of history I am not particularly interested in — the Dust Bowl for instance. If I am going to learn about this sad time, the first place I will turn is a historical fiction novel. It is a lot more fun than Wikipedia
Have you read historical fiction to learn about history? Have you learned history from a historical novel without even knowing it? If you write historical fiction, why did you choose that genre?
HALEY WHITEHALL has been studying the Civil War era since the 5th grade. Her writing style is Mark Twain with a little more faith. She likes to write out of the box stories that feature an underdog. LIVING HALF FREE is her debut novel. Released February 29, the ebook can be found at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. Find out more about Haley through her website or connect with her on Twitter @HaleyWhitehall or Facebook.
Congratulations on your debut novel, Haley! *Bells and whistles! Champagne corks popping!* Please join us in celebrating this exciting milestone in her career. LIVING HALF FREE is only $2.99. Buy it now! Seriously, her writing rocks. And she’s always willing to help fellow writers, so check out her blog and connect with her on Twitter.
She started the Twitter hashtag #lightonhistory, so if you want to hang out with other historical writers (fiction and nonfiction), be sure to use #lightonhistory. Such a helpful bunch of tweeps!