Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Author Spotlight Week - Barri Bryan shares her passion for 20th Century Historicals
I like writing 20th century historicals because it’s always a challenge to mix history and fiction into a romantic tale.
I have lived long enough to know a great deal about the culture, mindset and events of a good part of that period. I choose a decade and look at some important trends such as transportation, inventions, social movements and developments, politics, and sexually related trends and movements. The better I understand how these things fit together, the better I can understand the mood and attitude of that era.
Then I find an episode or a chain of events and build my plot around that. In my story titled Bridget’s Secret, I took the rise of the KKK in 1922 and built my story loosely around that event. In A Long Shadow, set in 1955, I chose the integration of public schools as a basis for my plot. Changeless as the Heavens has as its background the end of a global conflict, returning soldiers, and economic conflict.
I draw many of my characters from the people who populated my world in earlier days. Scores of them were colorful, most of them were interesting, and a few were downright dastardly
When writing historicals, originality does not always mean making something from nothing. It can also mean making interesting changes in what has gone before. I look at the material already in existence. I can then enter into a world that previously existed, and by innovation and imagination, try to make it interesting and exciting. In so many ways, writing historicals is rewriting, it comes from the writer’s reading and then synthesizing new ideas with old experiences.
To paraphrase T. S. Eliot, The immature writer borrows from the past. The mature writer steals from the past.