"It struck me that the period beginning with the First World War and ending with the fall of the Berlin wall was the period to write about. I realized it needed to be three books, each one based on a different war."
Sometimes people ask me where I get the inspiration for my novels. Usually I don't know, but once in awhile, I can pinpoint exactly where an idea comes from. The other day I came across something I lifted right out of my childhood.
When Claire arrives at Castle Leoch, her torn white dress from 1945, which the Highlanders all believe is her "shift" or slip, sets her even further apart in similarity from the other women at the castle.
When I began my research for a novel about John the Baptist, I expected to find a wild man dressed in camel hair robes, eating locusts and honey in the desert. The enigmatic and mysterious man I found was quite different. The man I found was charismatic, passionate, popular and brave.
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.