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Why did you decide to write historical fiction? This book in particular?
My journey with Wench began when I stumbled upon a fascinating footnote of history.
While reading a biography of W.E.B. DuBois, I learned that during the 1850s, there was a summer resort near Xenia, Ohio notorious for its popularity among slaveholders and their enslaved mistresses. I was stunned to learn this little-known historical fact. I decided to do a bit of historical excavation and learn more. At the time, it was very popular among the country's elite to visit natural springs. This particular resort opened in 1852, and became popular among southern slaveholders and their enslaved mistresses. I knew that Ohio was a free state and many of the northerners were abolitionists.
I never set out to write a historical novel, but finding this footnote really sparked my imagination.
What are a few of your favorite historical novels?
Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Known World by Edward P. Jones, Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
What is something people sometimes misunderstand about historical fiction?
Some people may feel that historical fiction is boring, but they just have not discovered the right book. There are some very good authors out there writing excellent novels that will keep anyone up late at night. Catherine Delors is one of those.
What is your favorite part about writing historical fiction?
My favorite part is the research. I love working in the archives and stumbling upon interesting little tidbits. Unlike scholarly research, where the search is very specific and pointed, research for historical fiction is a more open process of discovery; you can use anything that strikes you as interesting and useful.
What is the hardest part?
On the other hand, the hardest part is knowing what to put in the book and what to leave out. Sometimes it can be difficult to leave out things that you found fascinating but aren't, ultimately, important to the story!
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Keep working and believing in yourself. Writing is not easy. It takes many, many hours to master. If you work hard at it, however, your writing WILL be published.