I'm in the midst of a busy day. Proofs have arrived, asking me to make decisions about my new book cover and its interior layouts. Here's the cover I've chosen. Layouts will take a bit more work. These are exciting days, and I'm trying not to push ahead too fast. The temptation is to get the book out as soon as possible to catch the holiday shopping frenzy that is sure to erupt as soon as everyone has finished eating turkey. But since I don't want to publish a "turkey" I'm trying to slow down and edit carefully.
In the meantime the IHR Virtual Conference on Historical Fiction is in full swing. Here's a brief summary of today's events.
There's been a lot going on today. Starting with Elizabeth Chadwick's research into why readers of historical fiction enjoy the genre conversation moved onto questions of why academic history is perceived to not be able to recreate the human condition adequately. We then heard from Justin Champion, Tracey Loughran and Peter Straus. In these papers, amongst much else, the issue of e-book readers came up and in other conversations the rise of the internet was discussed as revolutionising the communication and interaction between author and reader.
It seems that historical fiction is regarded as a popular form of writing and reading about the past, leaving academic history failing somewhat in its targets for impact! However, the inter-relationship of the two are time and again shown to be strong - one could not survive without the other. I suspect we'll return to that topic tomorrow as we look at the differences and similarities between historical fiction and academic history.
Elsewhere, Jenny Benham's book review focused on Swedish historical fiction is a gentle and much welcome reminder that in this conference so far we have largely talked about British and perhaps a little American historical fiction. What about elsewhere? It would be great to see if anyone else has any views on non-English historical fiction!