Bloggers Block

You’ve heard of writers block? Well, I have bloggers block. I’ve been blogging about all aspects of historical fiction for 8 years and this is the first time I’ve come up dry.

I’m working out the details for a new theme that I’m excited about, but I’m not ready to announce it yet.

So let’s just put this post down as the shortest ever on A Writer of History. See you soon!

Source: Veronica Maria Jarski

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 www.mktod.com.

Book blogger Erin of Historical Fiction Reader

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, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

The Life of a Blog

Today, I’m looking back at the journey I’ve taken with A Writer of History. And no … this is not the end of A Writer of History. Just an opportunity to contemplate how it has evolved.

It all began early in 2012, when I decided to “push the reset button” and create a new blog to focus on the writing of historical fiction. I’d kept an earlier blog (now defunct) called One Writer’s Voice where I wrote about the business of writing and the notion of being an author entrepreneur. Ultimately, though, I decided to shift gears and create A Writer of History. You can find that first blog post about new beginnings here.

The last seven (!!) years have been a wonderful experience. One that has connected me with many authors, bloggers, and readers, and I’m grateful to all of you who have come along with me on the journey, to those who have contributed thoughts and content, and to those who visit from time to time. I’ve written 817 posts (818 if you include this one). And visitors have grown from 964 in 2012 to over 56,000 in 2018. Never would have imagined that!

At the beginning, I decided to survey those who read fiction with an emphasis on historical fiction. I thought a survey might be useful and I could share the results on A Writer of History. One of the results from that survey was a list of Top Historical Fiction Authors and from there I went on to interview some of those authors including Elizabeth Chadwick, C.W. Gortner, Hilary Mantel, Jacqueline Winspear, Margaret George, Helen Hollick and many others. I also interviewed bloggers who focused on historical fiction included Amy Bruno, Richard Lee,

Because I was writing novels set during WWI, I included many posts exploring my findings – from fashion, to military strategy, to WWI trench standing orders.

At some point, I began to receive book review requests – the first one being The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer. I was astonished to be asked for a review … imagine, someone ‘out there’ had noticed my little blog. I have to confess that I don’t do many of those anymore given that reading and then reviewing is such a time commitment. Instead, I invite authors to guest post or be interviewed, which also offers a chance to feature something about their latest novel as well as a book cover.

Over the years, various topics have attracted my interest: the role of social media and reading, the life of an author, the excitement of historical research, the daunting challenge of marketing, my self-publishing journey, and the joy of being published. I’ve also included snippets from my own writing and sources of inspiration including my grandparents’ photos and mementos.

I belong to three book clubs and have often posted about our book selections and the lively discussions we have. And for several years now, I’ve posted ‘A Year of Reading’ list with brief thoughts on each novel read that year.

More surveys followed in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018. Each survey was an opportunity to discover more about the world of reading and to explore what the findings mean for authors. Although time consuming, the surveys have prompted much interest and I’ve used some of the insights in my own writing and marketing as have others.

My first novel Unravelled was self-published in 2013 followed by Lies Told in Silence in 2014, and then Time and Regret was published by Lake Union in 2016 – I posted about them here and you celebrated with me.

A few years ago, I decided to focus on a themeInside Historical Fiction – to look under the covers of historical fiction and illuminate those attributes that make it different from contemporary fiction. Many writers and readers contributed their thoughts. Another theme was Successful Historical Fiction. Last year’s theme was Transported in Time and Place which began with Dazzled by a Green Door. I’ve written about the purpose of historical fiction and compiled a list from the 2015 survey of favourite historical fiction novels. Another popular series were the WWI letters home from my husband’s great-uncle who served in France and Africa. I tagged these Somewhere in France and Somewhere in Africa.

On the blog you can also find writing tips from well-known authors like Emma Darwin and personal postsWill the Real M.K. Tod Please Stand Up; Grateful for Every Day (a post following the plane crash my husband and I survived), and one on my own #metoo experiences called A Lifelong Feminist.

Much to my delight, in 2016 Writers Digest selected A Writer of History for its list of 101 Best Websites for Writers – and they repeated the honour in 2018. I’m grateful for the acknowledgement of what we’ve built together.

So my friends, it’s been a rewarding journey. You’ve helped me along the way by cheering me on, adding your voice, and contributing your posts. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and look forward to much more.

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 www.mktod.com.