Tuesday, January 11, 2011

There's More to Historical Fiction Than the Tudors

Historical Fiction. Makes you think of Tudors, doesn't it? Or maybe (yet another) Jane Austen pastiche. Or perhaps one of the many novels that set out to repair or resuscitate the honor/memory/perception of a range of Anglo-Norman kings or queens*. There's more to historical fiction than this, though. Right?


There is so much variety and vigor in the Historical Fiction field, from non-hetero romance to timeslip to real-life pirates and beyond. Our goal over the coming months is to introduce you to Historical Fiction that isn't necessarily in the mainstream – and to convince you to put down that book about the Tudors and try something different.

So, who is "we"? Well, it's me, Heather Domin, and R.L. (Rima) Jean – three women who have unique approaches to Historical Fiction, as well as strong opinions about writing, history, and publishing.

We will be covering a multitude of Historical Fiction topics, guest-blogging in each other's blogs, mixing it up with some podcasts as well.

Every week, we'll cover topics ranging from writing historical adventure, offbeat protagonists, historical research – even a director's track commentary on our novels.

Plus, all blog commenters will be included in a sweepstakes to win copies of our books – The Pilgrim Glass, The Soldier of Raetia, and The Noble Pirates – in early April.

So come on back tomorrow, when Heather will be talking here about why she chose to set her novel in Augustan Rome.

ALSO! Check out the introductory pieces posted by Rima and Heather. Great stuff!

*Not that there's anything wrong with these trends in Historical Fiction. They're incredibly popular, and for a reason. They're just not all that there is.


  1. Thank you, thank you for reminding readers that there is more to historical fiction than the Tudors or Regency. Common topic for discussion with my friends. I don't say these periods aren't fascinating, but the market is saturated and there's so much that's less represented.

  2. I think, perhaps, that readers and some publishers are waking up to this, at last. My personal favourites in the past few years include two books by the Scottish writer, Margaret Elphinstone: The Gathering Night, set in Scotland 8000 years ago, and The Sea Road, set in Viking Age Greenland/Newfoundland

  3. @ Lisa: what periods/settings/topics are you digging right now?

    @Mark: those both sound very interesting, thanks for the rec! I think there's a great backlog of need for something new.

  4. Hi Julie, I'm moving away from favorite settings in medieval Europe, to ancient Egypt and Rome. All thanks to Stephanie Dray and Michelle Moran: have you read either of them? I'd also love to read something good set in the Middle or Far East. Something epic, the quality and depth of Clavell's Shogun but I'm not aware of anything.

    I just downloaded a sample of your Pilgrim Glass, sounds intriguing.

  5. I've not read either of them, will have to add them to the list!

    Have you read Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay? It's alternate history set in T'ang Dynasty China, and it's outstanding (in fact, here's my review.

    And, if you're getting into Rome, I'd definitely recommend Heather's The Soldier of Raetia. Outstanding writing and such an incredible sense of time and place.

    Hope you enjoy the sample!!

  6. This should be an interesting discussion - looking forward to reading more. I was the ultimate collector of Tudor fiction for the longest time, but after reading so much of it, I'd rather visit somewhere new, given the choice. Also for the Far East, I'll recommend Lian Hearn's Tales of the Otori series, historical fantasy set in feudal Japan.

  7. Julie and Sarah, thanks for the recommendations, I'll check them out.

  8. Talking of Feudal Japan, I also loved Akira Yoshimura's Shipwrecks.

  9. @Sarah: Thanks, and thanks for the rec!

    @Mark: Awesome - thank you for the rec!