Tag Archives: authors

Is Historical Fiction an Oxymoron?

In a recent post, I referenced an excellent article by Michael Caines published in the Times Literary Supplement last month on this subject, apropos of the HNS Conference in Oxford this September. Taking the assertion that historical fiction is a “deeply bogus” genre, the author goes on to argue that while history tells us “what was,” fiction tells us “what might have been.” And yet as the popularity of historical fiction today suggests, the public continues to enjoy venturing into this hybrid genre, bogus or not. I would also add that the majority of successful historical novels today are deeply researched “for historical accuracy,” even the most imaginative page-turners among them – my own personal favorites in that category being C.J Sansom’s Shardlake, a brilliant series about a lawyer/detective in Tudor England and anything that rolls off the pen of Bernard Cornwell.

By contrast, the historical novels I first fell in love with (back in the time which some today would consider “history”) historical accuracy was barely Continue reading Is Historical Fiction an Oxymoron?

Who can tell a book by its cover?

Apparently a lot of people, judging by the emphasis placed on cover design by the experts at the Historical Novel Society Conference I attended recently in Oxford (UK not OH!). Famed Oxford Book Shop, Blackwell’s, had a stunning array of books by conference presenters and attendees on display in the reception area (which in my overwhelmed state I forgot to photograph) but here are some examples taken from promotional material created by and for the authors in attendance.
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In this new era of self-publishing, hybrid-publishing, as well as the proliferation of independent publishers (so-called “indies”), authors potentially have far greater control over how their story is represented in promotional material and above all on the book’s cover, and so for example Continue reading Who can tell a book by its cover?