Today's post is a little different. Here at The Shady Glade today is a guest post from author Alisa Libby who has written two fantastic historical novels: The Blood Confession and The King's Rose. I asked Alisa to talk about her process of writing historical fiction. So here's what Alisa has to say on the subject:
I’m drawn to write about bad girls in history: a murderous, blood-bathing countess; a wayward, delinquent queen. Not the type of thing you learn about in history class—unless you have a really good teacher who doesn’t cut out all the gory bits. When I read about a historical figure and wonder “what in the world was she thinking?” then I’ve found a girl who was bad enough for me.
The question “what was she thinking?” isn’t an easy one to answer. Catherine Howard didn’t leave any journals detailing why she had an affair while married to King Henry—a king who had already executed a former wife (Catherine’s cousin, Anne Boleyn) for the very same crime. The lack of any obvious logic made it all the more intriguing to explore Catherine’s actions in the fictional realm. Historical rumor has it that Catherine was tragically stupid, too self-involved and preoccupied with her own lust to be bothered with the consequences of her actions. While Catherine did nothing to prove herself one of the great political minds of her age, I thought this summary was too simplistic. There had to be more to her story than that—specifically, more to her. I wanted to hear it from her point of view, slanted though it may be, and hear all of the fears and desires and hidden longings that may have lead to her to the reckless acts that resulted in her death.
The problem with being very bad—blood bathing, recklessly lustful—is that these stories rarely end well for anybody involved. Better to slip into the skins of these characters for a while, but still be able to return to the relative normalcy of our every day lives. I feel this as both a writer and a reader. History gives writers so much to work from, and every story can be told in a thousand different ways.
Alisa M. Libby
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you'd like to learn more about Alisa and her books, you can visit her website for more information. I highly recommend both novels, even if you aren't normally a fan of historical fiction. On a side note, The Blood Confession has one of the coolest designs I've ever seen: the edges of the pages are printed to look bloodstained. Yeah, that sounds a bit gory, but you have to read the book to understand how much it works.
And surprise, surprise! There's another contest waiting for you stalwart readers. Only a few more left this month, so keep on your toes! The winner of this contest will get a brand new signed copy of The King's Rose. If you'd like to win, simply leave me a comment on this post.
+1 for comment (mention you would like to win)
+1 for linking to the contest (MUST post a direct link to count)
Rules: The contest is open until September 30th, 2009. One commenter will be chosen as the winner. You will have one week to claim your prize. Rules about claiming prizes can be found here.