Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Know You're An Historical Fiction Novelist When...

I recently enjoyed a cup of coffee with a new friend who asked me lots of questions about my first historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman. That's fun for me because if the person is interested, our time spent together can often turn into a mini interview. Good practice for my future as a published author, I thought.

Well, the "interview" reminded me that I still don't have my mini synopsis down pat...what a pain. I wrote a book and have begun writing novel number two, but telling you what my first novel is about in one sentence is tough. Not an easy feat for a wordy woman such as myself. 

You know you're an historical fiction writer when a simple walk to the corner store turns into a short story. That's me. I'll tell you what streets I was on, what I saw and experienced during my walk, and the cast of characters I interacted in and around the store. I might even tell you the history of that store and may even have a little story about the owner(s) to set the stage so you can experience the walk with me. That's me and my close friends can vouch for that.

I've worked on my novel synopsis for a year. I know that seems nuts, but trust me--it isn't easy to write one sentence about your book. An historical novel has so many parts to the whole. You write about the past, present and future of a time and place while telling the story through the eyes of single a character or many characters.

How can I whittle down a 7,800 word plus novel in one sentence? I have to, so I plug along! Here's what I've come up with and for the moment an happy with...until I'm not happy with it.

A Decent Woman is the story about Ana Belen, born of Afro-Cuban slaves, who lives in 1900 Puerto Rico where she fights society for the rights of women and male doctors for the right to continue practicing midwifery, while striving to survive as a proud, but poor, uneducated woman on a Caribbean island ceded by Spain to the United States by after the Spanish-American War.

That's my novel in a nutshell. A large coconut of a synopsis when I need a walnut-size synopsis. Sheesh.

What do you think? Does that work and would you read this book?



  1. It works for me, and yes, I would read it ... and fully intend to when it gets published. Sounds delish!

  2. Great, Linda :) As soon as the manuscript is ready...this time :) I'll get in contact with you...but not sure how now that I'm not on T.com. Any suggestions?