What is Historical Fiction?

Posted by on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 in Self-Publishing

We are constantly amazed when people ask, “What is a historical novel? Is it non-fiction?”

The easy/quick reply is: A novel is always fiction, but a historical novel always contains some component of history.”

According to Wikipedia … “Historical fiction tells a story that is set in the past. That setting is usually real and drawn from history, and often contains actual historical persons, but the principal characters tend to be fictional. Writers of stories in this genre, while penning fiction, attempt to capture the manners and social conditions of the persons or time(s) presented in the story, with due attention paid to period detail and fidelity.

My love of historical fiction began in my mid-20s, then fast-forward 25 years or so to 1990 when I decided to research my family history and discovered my own fascinating links to ‘real history’… Scottish history in particular. This began a new and extremely heightened interest in historical novels, especially those set in the UK and Australia.

LizzieSrs_white bgI was not to know at the time that in 1998 I would begin a new career as a publisher and that the books I was to publish and later co-author, would be … historical fiction! To date (2011), through our company, Whitlands Publishing, I have published 10 novels for my husband, bestselling author J. Robert Whittle. The first of these was a novel set in London, England during the Napoleonic Wars Lizzie: Lethal Innocence. Lizzie quickly became his first Canadian Bestseller. His fans reacted so loudly to this book, wanting to know what happened to Lizzie next, that it soon had a sequel and another until there were four books (Lizzie Series – shown at left).

Whittle’s fans were instrumental in persuading him to next write yet another historical novel series set in our local area of the Pacific Northwest in Canada and the USA. The first novel was Bound by Loyalty. This series became so popular it exceeded the popularity of the Lizzie Series. This bestselling Victoria Chronicles Trilogy is set in the Pacific Northwest (Canada and USA) and years later, we are still having to reprint due to its popularity.