News & Views

Pause for Panama Research

Feeling I needed a little more research, I have hit the pause button on my Goldlisters of Panama. That was a good move.  I have gained more insight on the Canal construction having read Panama Fever by Mathew Parker, gathered helpful craft advice on how to handle my main character through Libbie Hawker’s Making it in Historical Fiction.

Meanwhile I’ve enjoyed reading together with Carol, Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winning historical fiction, All the Light We Cannot See. I highly recommend this book. A beautifully written story of a blind ten-year-old girl’s survival in WWII occupied France and her connection to the young German soldier who saved her.

I think I’m re-motivated to continue Goldlisters of Panama.

My Dear Hamilton: a Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.

Wow!

I just finished this historical fiction jointly authored by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. It has consumed me for several weeks. Hence the gap in my postings. With my first attempt at this genre, Panama Goldlisters, a work in progress, I have concentrated my reading effort in historical fiction. I did not realize until I downloaded the kindle version of My Dear Hamilton that it was a 700-page tome. But, well worth the time.

Not only is My Dear Hamilton a memorable read that keeps you turning pages, but it is also a gem for anyone interested in writing historical fiction. The authors extensive notes at the end will give you a real picture of why this is a difficult genre. Research, research, research.

Dray and Kamoie chose a unique perspective to write a book as if it were written by Eliza herself, including the prologue and afterword. The authors then expand on their views, and how they researched and wrote the book in an extensive “Interview with the authors.” This section alone is a must for anyone tackling the historical novel genre.

The impetus for the authors stemmed from their seeing the Broadway production Hamilton: An American Musical. In their words, “As historical fiction authors, we were humbled.”

They found tons of material on Hamilton, of course, including Ron Chernow’s definitive biography of Alexander, although, they thought he played little attention to Eliza. They did not find a single biography of her. The most outlandish historical bits: the court martials, riots, plagues, duels, sex scandals, revolutionary balls, and battles, are all real. To interpret her character, motivations, and contributions, however, they had to depend on the letters, and writings of the founding fathers around her.

Highly recommend this work for your reading pleasure.

Merry Christmas

It is a bit harder to say that this year. With the dearth of uplifting occasions in 2020 to share, thanks to COVID 19. I’m left with a mundane, but heartfelt,

 “Friends, we are well, and hope you are too.

Perhaps 2020 is what recalled my memoir of another not too good year–– 1944. I share my memoir, The Christmas of ’44, on a new menu page, “Short Stories.” You can find it here.

By the way––that year did end well. I have faith, this one will too.

Merry Christmas to all

And

For God’s sake lets pray for a Happy 2021

Life Events Interfere with Life

Isn’t it weird how life events can somehow interfere with life? I know you have all been there. That’s what happened to me over the last few weeks, some good things, some not so good. I won’t burden you with details, suffice to say my writing routine (if I can even say I have one) has suffered. I must admit I had been struggling with structure to the point it was easier to put my Panama story aside and zone out waiting for the magical inspiration to hit. Finally, with the healing effect of time, I got a handle on structure for a few scenes, and even a few hundred words down on paper. Bumps in the road do go away. Now, Dick, get back to work!