Why was it here, in this sparsely populated and mountainous stretch of the Hudson River, that a cluster of colonies fighting to become a new nation sunk in its roots and decided to establish its most vital fortress?
For readers of medieval and Middle Ages historical fiction, winter may conjure images of castles, animal trophies hung above the blazing hearth, never-ending banquets with bottomless casks of wine and mead. But what of the peasants and their winter's tales?
M.J. Rose is the international best-selling author of 13 novels and three non-fiction books. Her most recent novel, Seduction, has received rave reviews from USA Today, Publisher's Weekly and many others.
These mid-August days, some 2,500 years ago, witnessed a violent turn-about in power -- regicide followed by a week of king-less days. Imagine for a moment the uncertainty, the chaos. Imagine the mother of the assassinated king.
Who hasn't tossed out the adage "truth is stranger than fiction" after hearing some absurd but true tale? In fact, the saying has turned cliché from overuse. But when it comes to fiction writers, reanimating the lives of real people is a serious matter.
I love historical fiction. A writer takes what is known about a place in time or a character from the past, and then transports the reader further and deeper into what are the blood and guts of the past.
Márai's novel Embers is so touching that it should be widely known, and I, who pride myself on being familiar with such obscure gems as Zeno's Conscience and Wide Sargasso Sea, am puzzled and shaken by my failure to have previously unearthed it.
There were so many terrific words and phrases in the '20s, why not use them? If you're claiming your novel strives for verisimilitude with the lives, and if you cite to the biographies and letters and critical studies, then make the language real, too.
The Pinkertons have cropped up in many popular books and films over the years, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Dashiel Hammett, a one-time Pinkerton detective, admits he drew inspiration from his detective days in crafting such characters as Sam Spade.
This awards season, several movies that contended for Best Picture prizes came in for an unusual degree of scrutiny regarding their historical accuracy -- or lack of it. But playing fast and loose with history is nothing new.
It's Oscar weekend, and in the desperate journalistic hunt for meaning in self-promoting spectacles -- the Academy Awards, the Superbowl, political conventions -- best-picture nominees have been criticized for straying from the truth.
"The traditions of midwifery sustained the community during the grim days of slavery and Jim Crow. It was also a source of pride and identity through generations of African Americans, before being supplanted by the white medical establishment."