Again I will repeat the definition of Historical Fiction: Historical fiction is defined as novels in which a story is made up but is set in the past and sometimes borrows true characteristics of the time period in which it is set.
I selected Historical Fiction as my favorite genre to write in because basically I’m a story teller rather then a legitimate author. I was never trained to be a writer and really don’t follow all of the “Elements of Style.”
I diligently try to follow the “Elementary Rules of Usage” and the “Elementary Principles of Composition” found in William Strunk and E.B. White’s (The little book of The Elements of Style) and thanks to my editor she does her best to keep me straight in these areas.
I am not a professional writer, but believe that God has given me the skills of being a good story teller; like my father and his father before him. My philosophy is to use my gifts and to rely on my own life experiences for the development of a writing style.
My first book was a result of our oldest daughter requesting me to write a “Journal of My Life” wherein I started writing down my memories of growing up in a small town during World War II (Gibbon, Nebraska – population 836 in 1940). I think I made eight attempts before settling down to the theme of “Gibbon’s Secrets.” I could remember general things that happened while growing up in Gibbon, but since I didn’t have a tape recorder around my neck it was necessary to research history and to utilize the information found. This provided the skeletal structure of the story and allowed me to embellish my life a bit – therefore my first entry into the Historical Fiction genre.
From that point forward I could select the period of time, the true historical information contained in the period, and insert my personal experiences to complete the picture. When preparing to write “Back in the Day” I utilized my high school year books, as well as information secured from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, to give me the skeletal structure for the book. Pursuing through the year books gave me a trove of information about events and people in my life during that period. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs also sent me a trove of information about the individual duty stations I served at, as well as the dates I took individual leaves during my four years of service. This two part story was easy to transition with this information I had gleaned.
I followed this same pattern when writing “Mill Park Mystery” and its sequel “Anti-Nazi Task Force Adventures” with real historical information tying into my real life experiences during that period of time. I found news stories, and information about movies released that actually covered the events I utilized in the two books. The two movies containing the same information you will find in my book “Anti-Nazi Task Force Adventures” was “Monument Men” and “Woman in Gold.”
Finally, my latest book, “Piano Meadows” started with my goal of recording the events shared with my family living in an area in Colorado. The research relative to a very interesting meadow that contained three old cabins in a deteriorating condition allowed me to tie two periods together within each capture of my book. Each chapter contained historical icons from the 1870’s to our family’s experiences living there in the 1970’s. I called my three daughters together for a lunch meeting to share my idea of writing “Piano Meadows” covering the two periods 100 years apart. I requested that each share a list of things they remembered about living in the mountains during that period of the 1970’s. My wife of 60+ years also suggested that each daughter write a short fictional story about a particular thing they remembered about Piano Meadows. Both their list of remembrances and their short historical fiction stories became a part of the book. Some of the Icons of the 1870’s became a part of the story; Brigham Young and Horace Tabor’s true history (embellished) became a part of the story.
So now you can see how I have utilized true historical facts and my life experiences to become a part of each Historical Fiction book that I have written. “Not a professional writer, but a good story teller.”