Writing historical fiction can go multiple directions. I can write modern characters set in an historical period. I can write historical characters in something like the historical period — using descriptions of the land the way it looks today as if it is the way it looked back then. The way I choose to write, I research the historical period to understand how my characters might think and act in the time period I have chosen. I further research to understand the time period to understand what the land might have looked like, how the people lived, and how they interacted with one another. I want to be authentic without building an historical treatise.
My research process allows me to uncover exciting discoveries. I look forward to sharing these with you.
I have favorite writers whose books I read as soon as they are published. I turn the final page, wondering what the author has in store for me. Let me share some of what I am writing right now. It opens:
“He is dead. The good Lord sees fit to make me a widow.
Part of me weeps at the loss of my Husband. Part of me rejoices at his passing. Four days I spent within this wagon tending to him and our two young children, waiting to see how God would seal our fate. It is done.
Gideon died in the dark of night, out of his head. The Devil spoke through him on the fourth day, vile words it pained me to hear. I no longer knew the man seething beneath the quilts. Now I sit alone with his dead body.
It stinks in here. The day is going to be hot.”
This piece is in the queue, submitted to Glimmer Train. I’m playing the waiting game!
I began writing fiction in the second grade when I scribed “The Lucky Leprechaun,” my first publication, complete with handmade ‘binding’ stapled to hold the pages. Though a science major in college, I ‘tried out’ for the one fiction writing course and was accepted into the ten-seat class — twice. Upon graduation I set aside my prose and followed my practical nature down the path of engineering and software for most of my career. I have had way too much of that.
My writing is both personal and public. I take my characters on amazing journeys. I strive to make specific historical periods authentic through richly developed characters, especially emotionally and intellectually strong females. I am enamored with the Oregon Trail and the fortitude those women required to endure that journey, especially the early years before the trail was fully established. Many of my stories center on my interpretations of these women, giving them voices.
taking humans on amazing journeys
Source: Beth Schmitz, Writer