Yesterday, I had the privilege of being on a panel of authors to talk about war and romance historical fiction. The afternoon, hosted by the Historical Novel Society of Australasia was attended by more than twenty people eager to talk and hear about this genre.
Joining me were some illustrious names; Alison Stuart, Elise McCune, and Gabrielle Gardner, all fabulously talented writers. The panel was superbly chaired by Gabrielle Ryan, who herself is an accomplished writer. We discussed our books, our thoughts on genre, how and where romance fits in during wartime; and numerous other topics on and off the panel afterwards, over a cup of tea and a delectable array of sweet delicacies. I chatted about my forthcoming book, A Perfect Stone, set in the backdrop of the Greek Civil War when 38000 children were evacuated on foot over the mountains of Northern Greece.
The whole event was skilfully pulled together by Chris Foley and Alison. It was a wonderful afternoon and for me a terrific experience to talk about my work, thanks to the Historical Novel Society of Australasia.
Looking forward now to being a participant at the Conference in a couple of weeks.
Last year, I read some terrific books including – The Natural Way of Things; All the Light We Cannot See; People of the Book; One True Thing; A Man called Ove; Of a Boy; When There’s Nowhere Else to Run; The Marriage of Opposites; Donna Quixote; La Rose; Where My Heart Used to Beat; View from A Barred Window to name just a handful.
I’ve listed twelve titles randomly and realise that six of them are historical fiction. My list consists of seven Australian authors, six of whom are women. Interestingly, of my list of twelve, nine are by women. Many have won awards and two are self-published.
I do like to read historical fiction. In fact, I like it so much that I wrote and published my own historical fiction. Now I’m in the middle of writing a second novel set in Northern Greece during the Greek Civil War. I confess I’ve only just recently realised this about myself. I always thought I read widely – perhaps not widely enough across genres. There’s three written with the Second World War as a backdrop; five set in Australia; one in the US; one in Europe; one in Sweden and one in the Virgin Islands.
Perhaps I like historical fiction because I like history? I’m not a history buff but I do like to learn about historical events through story. I like being transported back in time and place. I guess that’s what draws me. That, and of course, a well written book which is probably written by a woman set in Australia. Is that called unconscious bias? Too bad if it is.
I enjoyed each book in my list of twelve but if I had to name a favourite for last year, it would have to be All the Light We Cannot See – that’s one I’ll read again and again.
As for what I’m reading currently? You guessed it – another historical fiction called Beauty is a Wound set in Indonesia but it is written by a man.