Reader Poll and Giveaway!

On August 12, I’ll be representing Bethany House at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat, mingling with authors and booklovers alike. I’m already getting excited! As part of the event, I’ll be moderating a panel—which means they’re actually giving me a mic and letting me ask questions of authors (a very risky move on their part).

Of course, I want to make sure the questions I ask are ones that are relevant to readers…which is why I’m coming to you for help. The panel’s name is “Merging the Imaginary and the Real Worlds,” and it will be filled with five fabulous historical fiction authors.

As a reader, what’s a question you think would be fascinating to know that’s specific to historical fiction? Maybe even something that you haven’t found out by reading authors’ blogs or Facebook posts. When you think about merging the imaginary and real worlds, what questions come to mind?

Let me know in the comments below, and next Thursday I’ll choose two winners to receive their choice of summer historical fiction release from Bethany House!

54 thoughts on “Reader Poll and Giveaway!

  1. Where do you find information on clothing, customs, food, local lore and things like that and at what point do you improvise for the sake of making the storyline more interesting or attractive?

  2. I love historical fiction, and I after many books that I read, I will google images or things that take place in the book, or I look to see if the author has a pinterest board they have created about the book. Something that comes to mind for me when discussing imaginary and real worlds is when an author is writing a book, where do they draw ideas for their books? What prompts them to pick a certain time period or real life event vs. others? Also, if they do pick something real that happened in history to have happen in their book as a main event, how do they go about writing characters in to the event while still being true to history?

  3. How do you stay true to the historical time period without inserting contemporary attitudes it ways if speaking? It seems I often find contemporary figures of speech in a novel set in the 19th century, for example.

  4. Woohoo!! I’m sooo excited!! Let’s see, here are two:

    1. When you do research on a particular time in historical fiction, what about of research do you do on the fashion, place setting, etiquette and interior settings?

    2. For contemporary fiction, how much of your characters do you base on people you actually know? Be it mannerisms or physical attributes?

  5. For Christian authors, how much is the choice of time/place impacted by the desire to communicate a spiritual truth/principle through a specific setting and/or its culture? Or is the choice of period driven more by the writer’s interest?

  6. How exciting for you!!
    Here’s a few questions:
    1-How do you determine how much fact will be sprinkled with fiction or visa versa?
    2-Do you want more fact than fiction to come out in your stories? And why?
    3-When writing do you write all the factual parts you want to include in the story and fill in the blanks with fiction? If not, how do you get/keep the flow of fact vs fiction throughout the story?
    4-How do authors choose the time period/historical event to write about? Does family history have any influence?

  7. When including an actual historical person in your stories how do you stay true to the actual person while taking the liberties of writing fiction? Are there certain things that authors never change when writing the real into the imaginary?

  8. Research must be so hard for the older historical fiction….is it important to try and visit the place/area one is writing about?

  9. I learn quite a bit from historical fiction. I have actually Googled to find more about people and places. Are you using the facts just to further the story, or are you looking for things that can teach as well as entertain??

  10. How difficult is it to merge imaginary characters with a real historical setting? Is it easier or harder to write about real people today lived long ago or create your own characters?

  11. This question may have already been covered, but how important is it to visit the place you’re writing about, even though it may look/feel different due to the changes that occur over time? Or is it easier to not see the location first hand, to keep your image of it during your time period, in your head clear and not clouded by the current time frame?

  12. What catches the author’s eye when he/she goes through history that blossoms into a book? I love historical fiction that melds real events with imagination. Why do certain events become “noteworthy” enough to become a plot for a book and some don’t?

  13. Which comes first–the chicken or the egg? Do you choose to write in a particular historical era, then write the story around that? Or do you get an idea for a story first, then incorporate it into an era? Or maybe a combination of both?

  14. My question: If you had your heart set on a certain era or “received a vision” that you need to write a certain story, how would you accomplish your goal IF there is very little info! Would you make it more imaginary and add a disclaimer or would you move Heaven and Earth to write a factual story? I do love historical fiction and I am the reader who reads and then researches the time period, event or setting. Thanks to all of you would write such wonderful stories!

  15. Is there any particular way you decide which era of history you’ll write about and do you have help with the research aspect of writing the story so it will be authentic in a historical perspective?

  16. Do you think it is necessary to visit the places you write about? Do you use secular, as well as Christian, resources? I love what Christian authors are doing with the Old and New Testament people. It really helps me understand more when I read my Bible. They become human and do not stay two-demensional.

  17. How do you handle merging fictional characters with historical characters? Is there too much? How do you handle adding the historical characters to your novels without straying from who they were?

    Sorry if these are badly written.

  18. What is the farthest back century you’ve written about?
    Where do you begin your research?
    Is there a particular person or event in real history that sparks your interest to write about?

  19. I have read a couple books about nurses in the 1800’s, but would love to read more. Since I’m a nurse, it’s nice to read about the early days of nursing and the trouble they went through.

  20. I have read a couple books about nurses in the 1800’s, but would love to read more. Since I’m a nurse, it’s nice to read about the early days of nursing and the trouble they went through. How do you research something that is so obscure?

  21. When writing historical fiction, do you feel limited by the social and moral expectations of the past? Or do you feel like it’s more of an exercise in creativity, since you have to find ways to convey emotion, passion, and affection that are clean but still believable?

  22. How do you choose names for your characters? (I always find this challenging but fun.) Which gender is more difficult in this area of the writing?

  23. Oh this is exciting!

    How do you know how much fact and fiction to put into a story?

    Do you research a time period with interesting subjects to make into storylines and details and go from there?

  24. How true do you stay to history when you’re blending in imaginary events? How do you know where to draw the line when your imagination takes over your story line? Is there an era you’ve written about that you’d like to live in?

  25. How do you merge yourself into the time you are writing about? Do you read other historical fiction books set in that time, or do you watch movies, do research…visit museums, maybe talk with teaches or historians??

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  27. How do you resolve the tension between making the story fit the history and the history fit the story? What are the lines you won’t cross, and why? (Hope there’s a way to “listen in” on your interview!)

  28. I would like to know why so many new books talk about the man touching a woman’s soul? It seems to be a necessary component in so many new types of books. There has to be some better way to communicate the developing relationship of a couple with out dragging that phrase into almost every book. It seems as if a man and a woman can’t develop into being a couple without that phrase.
    It is the phrasing of it, not the notion of it that is redundant. Has the touching of souls become the key to selling a book now in today’s market? Is thst phrase the most prevalent tool you have to market your work?

  29. The question that come to mind is:
    Till which point do I have to stay accurate? (Facts, dates, characters description…)

  30. Have a FABULOUS time at CFRR!

    How do you immerse yourself into the time period you are writing about to be able to draw readers into the scenes?

  31. I have noticed that in public school, history is being retold leaving out facts, specifically any hint of God’s interaction with people. Do you need to rely on original documents such as journals or letter, or are there certain historians you can trust to include such facts?

  32. In reading historical fiction, I find that names are often very odd. Do you find names in old documents, or do you just make them up? Sometimes the spelling can be different than modern (like Gryff) but other times, they are completely unfamiliar.

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