All my books have been set in the eighteenth century, really. The first three were in a fantasy version – the Larus Series – but having found them difficult to promote, being untypical fantasy, I thought the obvious thing to do would be to move on to historical fiction and that is what I did.
So here I am, with my first historical fiction title scheduled for release this December. Wonderful. I loved writing the book; I enjoyed the research; it all went awfully well. Spiffing stuff. Then I began taking an interest (probably a little too late) in the historical fiction genre, and discovered a whole new can of worms, as they say.
To begin with, I find I’m unsure whether I’ve written historical fiction or a historical novel. A toe-curling admission, no? There seem to be boundaries, but no-one seems entirely sure what they are, least of all me. This sort of writing falls broadly into two camps: a fictionalised version of real events and real people; or a work of pure fiction – invented characters, invented story, set in the past.
My novel falls squarely within the second camp; it’s all invention except the general eighteenth century setting. I’m not attempting to interpret or recreate history. I just find the past a quieter place to work in. I’d happily admit that I’m creating a past that probably never was. So have I slipped into historical fantasy, then? Well, no, I don’t think so. There’s nothing in the story that absolutely couldn’t have happened – much of it was inspired by the research I did. But it’s not real. It’s not based on historical figures or events. Now then, is that historical fiction, or a historical novel? Or even something else? Answers on a postcard, please…
Whales and Strange Stars
A stunning mystery in the tradition of Jamaica Inn. When a sea captain passes through the forgotten port of Wych Ferry and whiles away an hour at the Tradewinds Inn relating his traveller’s tales to young Rosamund Euden, he has no idea of the dramatic events he has set in action. Adventure, dark magic and betrayal in the marshlands of 18th century Kent.
To be published by Crooked Cat Books, 12 December, 2017