The website of the historical fiction writer.

Historical Novel Society: Oxford 2016 Part Eight

Sunday’s Keynote Address was from author Tracy Chevalier who told us how researching her family’s history helped her write fiction and nurture an interest in the past. She also gave us some good advice such as doing as much research as possible and to consider the times we live in now as an age of great change. It is also useful to have regular times for writing to keep the momentum going and only do what social media you feel comfortable with.

The final session I attended was on times and places far and strange with Laura Morelli, Liz Harris and Karen Maitland. The advice given here was to start with what is familiar to the reader and go from there, using all the character’s five senses to give a true sense of place. While being able to visit the places you are discussing is essential, YouTube and guide books are good for when that’s not possible. Folk tales are a very good introduction to the people in a new time and place while swear words and forms of address lend themselves to give a degree of authenticity.

And that, dear readers, was that! A good time was had by all in Oxford and I even got time to have a quick look around the Ashmolean Museum. My thanks go out to the organisers, the agents and workshop leaders who gave up their time to make the weekend a good one.

Now for the next Festival…


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