Why write Historical Fiction?

Why would you spend a few years of your life trying to write a Historical Fiction novel? There’s actually a very simple answer—or, rather, two.

It’s fun—what more can I say? I love writing, especially about things I find interesting. More than any other reason, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the act of writing a novel itself.

And, perhaps only slightly less importantly, you might help people learn more about the past or, better yet, encourage them to find out for themselves.

See, I’ve always loved history. I went to university wanting to become a historian and ended up deciding that writing Historical Fiction was the best way to achieve that goal. You’ll probably hear me rant every now and then about the role of a historian but—to start you off—we’re all historians. Everyone re-imagines the past in their own way, reinforcing their beliefs here and, perhaps, challenging them there. No-one is going to get it exactly right and so the professionals are, in a sense, just a little bit more “right” than the rest of us. But at the end of the day, they’re still guessing.

Well maybe not quite guessing, but  you get the idea. My point is that you’ve got to fill the ambiguity with something, and I’d rather fill it with an entertaining tale than a long discourse on numismatics. Don’t get me wrong—I truly value the insights we can gain from people who do such work, but I find taking their insights and sharing them in an entertaining way, personally, to be more fulfilling.

But no more beating around the bush, as we might say in Australia, for that is where I’m from. It’s a bit surreal for this country kid who grew up among sheep and horses, who learned to surf during the day and then watch docos on Napoleon at night, bit surreal for this rambler to realise he’s actually written a book.

How did it happen? Well, I’ll go into more detail another time but, really, I just had an idea and thought to myself, “yeah, that’d make a great novel” and then actually gave it a go. I tried. I didn’t let the people who told me it would never work convince me not to try. I didn’t let, “it’s not good enough yet” mean “so give up because it’ll never be”. I’m now at the next stage of my journey—actually trying to get the thing published. And, you know what? I’m looking forward to that adventure too. You can follow my progress here on this blog, as well as listen to the thoughts I’ve had about writing along the way. I hope you find it enjoyable, and I would like to end my first blog on this note: if there’s anything you want to do in life but don’t think the world will give  you a chance, don’t worry about the world; do it for yourself. It might be hard, and you might not get “there” (wherever “there” is), but the journey will be worth it.

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