Jo Robinson tagged me to continue a tradition of bloggers. Meet My Main Character Blog Tours resemble radio interviews: tune in now for answers to questions posed to me, and a week later for answers to the same questions posed to other authors. This tour asks the authors of works-in-progress to answer questions about the main characters of their historical fiction novels. Jo describes her main character as being part of other-worldly myths that she (her main character) doesn’t believe in. Jo features this character in her Shadow People series. Jo and I write similarly: our characters tell us their stories, and we merely translate them into a language that you can read. And now, the questions and answers about my historical novel-in-progress:
- What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person? Polly is my grandmother’s grandmother, as I imagine her.
- When and where is the story set? Polly raised her family in the mid 1800s in the crude log cabin that her husbandbuilt in Pennsylvania, USA. My sister and I stirred up few clues about Polly and her family, through our genealogical research projects during the past few decades. I felt amused and then angered when I hit adead end inan historical reference book that declared that Polly’s family didn’t “succeed” because they didn’t develop their land into villages; they didn’testablish businesses on their land in the mid 1800s; they remained farmers. I define “success” differently, thus I continue her story beyond the history books.
- What should we know about him/her? Polly grew up surrounded by people whom her parents and grandparents had grown up with in Germany. The adults were doing what they could to stay together in this land that was new to them. Their language was a unique combination of German and English; that is a fun puzzle to translate as I read their historical documents.
- What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life? Polly’s story is a fictional diary. She writes about reaching the age of marriage and child-rearing. She gives you the unfamiliar perspective of a young woman at that time in that culture. It is a time when her community’s life has become much easier and requires less creativity, but basic survival is still challenging. They were reviving their old ways as much as possible.
- What is the personal goal of the character? Polly has the new challenge of defining how to be happy and creative when strategies for survival have become easier and more familiar, and leisure time has become available. My personal goal is to help her figure that out.
- Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? I refer to it as Polly’s Diary, or Diary of a Modern Household. I have not yet shared any excerpts or notes beyond what I shared with you here. Leave me a comment, and I’ll be glad to keep you updated on its progress.
- When can we expect the bookto be published? Itwill be published after I finish writing it, or when someoneyanks it from me 🙂 I’m considering putting everything aside for a few weeks to see how far I can get if I focus on it single-mindedly. I am still choosing which word processing program to use to assemble the pieces that Ihave been writing on receipts, magazine page margins, junk mail and other scratch paper; in .pdf, .txt, .odt, .xls, and .doc files; and in my own diaries/journals. I welcome suggestions.
I have a pile of resources that I nibble on. By the time that I read a few sentences, Polly has woken up to tell me more of her stories. I understand that historical fiction novels often take years to write, especially when the writer does a lot of research into primary documents like wills, letters, and church records, in addition to historians and cousins. Therefor, I might have a few more years before publishing, since I just started writing this story a year and a half ago.
Thank you Jo
for sharing your enthusiasm about my novel.
The Tour Continues…
Susanne Alleyn writes historical fiction with impeccable credentials, as a result of extensive research. In addition, her potent writing makes me consistently breathless. Reading her work is no spectator pastime; it makes my pulse race. You must read what she says about the sequel to her successful book at her blog.
I enjoyed reading about where Roderick Gladwish’s ideas came from when he wrote his trashy story: “Trashy” because it’s about the Green Trash Vortex, and the technology that might clean it up in the future, and what that might lead to. You can read it in Jupiter SF, Issue XLIV, April 2014. Read about the status of his most recent work at his blog.
Ronda K. Reed’s flash fiction stories catch my attention when she submits them to the Moderator Selected Writing Exercises at the Writer’s Discussion Group on Google+. Her tour site is here at my blog where she talks about her book’s main characters, and its mysterious landmark.
I was also hoping that Jess of JMGajda would participate. She caught my attention when I read some of her futuristic and supernatural work. In the midst of her high-risk pregnancy, she took the time to join this tour! You must read about the cultures that challenge her main character!
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