Erin, the blogger at Historical Fiction Reader, and I have been Facebook friends for several years. She’s passionate about historical fiction (hmm – maybe you’ve already guessed that?) and shares that passion regularly on her blog and on Facebook. Welcome, Erin!
Why did you start blogging about or featuring books?
I’m a voracious reader and love talking about books. Unfortunately, I don’t know as many book enthusiasts in the real world. Blogging allowed me a means of connecting with other readers regardless of geographic distance between me and them.
What type of books appeal to you and why?
I’ve always been drawn to historical fiction. Something about utilizing the past as a lens to explore people and ideas fascinates me to no end.
Do you concentrate on a specific genre? If so, can you tell us a bit about your passion for that genre.
I owe my enthusiasm for historical fiction to Elizabeth Chadwick. I stumbled over one of her books, The Champion, on accident and fell head over heels in love with it. I’d always been passionate about history, but the book marked my first real experience with the genre. The framework of the narrative resonated with my passion for the past and I suppose I’ve never really gotten over it.
Who are your readers and followers? How do you engage with them?
I’m followed by fellow historical fiction enthusiasts. Some are readers, but several are writers and/or publishing professionals. Most of my engagement takes place on my Facebook page where I feature titles that have caught my eyes, share historical fiction articles, and host literary inspired discussions.
If you have a blog, what features does it offer? For example, ‘best of’ lists, author interviews, a book rating system.
I post historical fiction reviews and author interviews at Historical Fiction Reader. I post new release slideshows once a month and a weekly reading lineup on my Facebook page. Recently, I’ve also begun experimenting in historical fiction inspired flat lays on Instagram.
What ways do you use to attract new readers and followers?
Engagement mostly. I am naturally introverted but I love talking books and I find that simply posting questions invites others to share their thoughts with me.
How do you interact with authors and publicists?
Much the same way I interact with readers. Both camps are passionate about literature and publishing. Most seem to enjoy sharing their insights and opinions in casual social media discussions. That said, I am trying to attend more writer events. The Southern California Chapter of the Historical Novel Society has graciously allowed me to attend their bi-monthly meetings and I believe I’ve grown as a reader from their insights and expertise.
What trends or changes have you noticed in the book world?
The market is becoming increasingly dominated by trends, to the point where the market is flooded by the “it-topic” of the moment. I respect and understand the realities of the marketplace, but as a reader, the tidal wave of single subject lit is overwhelming.
Writing styles have also changed a great deal. Commercial fiction is riding high and while I respect the entertainment value of these titles, I can’t help missing the artistry of prose in the more literary offerings that used to dominate the market.
If you could wave your magic wand, what would you change about the book industry?
If anything, I’d like to see mainstream publishers invest in more diverse and inclusive narratives more regularly.
As a genre, I feel historical fiction overwhelming anglocentric with a heavy emphasis on only a handful of specific people, places, and events. I think this a disservice to readers and writers alike as it restricts opportunities, stifles talent, and represses artistic expression while growing a decidedly monochromatic collection of titles with all too similar content.
Many thanks for sharing your perspective, Erin. As someone who writes historical fiction, I truly appreciate the support you give to the genre.
FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (see left hand 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, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.