From Ph. D in History to author

C.L.R. (Colleen) Peterson’s debut historical novel, Lucia’s Renaissance, takes place in late sixteenth-century Italy. She loves to shine a spotlight on little-known heroes from the past. “The first time I gazed up at the ceiling of Rome’s Sistine Chapel, the Renaissance cast its spell on me through Michelangelo’s painting of the full-bodied, emotional figures of God and Adam.”

What sort of career did you have before becoming a writer?

I earned my Ph.D. in European History and taught at the college level. Later, as my children were growing up, I began tutoring English as a Second Language.

Was there a triggering event that prompted you to begin writing?

During my years in graduate school, a law-student friend suggested I write a novel based on my dissertation topic. At that point, I had written only academic papers (a far cry from page-turning fiction). Fast forward to years later, when I had an opportunity to take a course about writing and finishing a novel. My journey was launched!

Do you now write full time or part time?

I write ¾ time, when I’m not tutoring or spending time with family.

What parts of the writing career do you enjoy the most/the least?

I always look forward to traveling to Italy (both mentally and physically)—researching details of life in the late Renaissance, imagining and writing my stories. Gathering with other writers renews my energy, and I always learn something. Marketing is a mixed bag; I enjoy sharing my novel and research with live audiences, but the administrative details of marketing steal time away from the creative world.

What parts of your former career do you miss/not miss?

I’m grateful to be the master of my own schedule, but miss daily social interaction with students and co-workers.

Do you have any regrets?

I hesitated far too long before publishing my first novel. I wish I had sought expert feedback earlier about whether my book was ready to see the light of day.

What advice would you offer other second career writers?

Have fun with your writing! Enjoy the adventure. Immerse yourself in the time and place you write about—writing is a great excuse for travel, even via the internet.

Don’t expect instant success. Learn the craft: join a writing group, go to conferences.

Be bold: swallow your pride, ask for feedback from other writers and weigh it seriously.

Lucia’s Renaissance by C.L.R. Peterson – Heresy is fatal in late sixteenth-century Italy, so only a fool or suicidal zealot would so much as whisper the name of Martin Luther. But after Luther’s ideas ignite a young girl’s faith, she can’t set them aside. In Lucia’s Renaissance, plague, death, and the Inquisition test the faith of this precocious teen.

Many thanks, Colleen and best wishes for Lucia’s Renaissance. You can reach Colleen on her website on at her Facebook page.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website

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Meet M.K.Tod

The historical fiction author behind A Writer of History...

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