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The Eurovision Song Contest, as befits a singing competition marking it 65th anniversary this year, is a great many things – gloriously and deliciously over the top, a great promotional vehicle for aspiring singers or those looking to revive their career, as camp as Christmas and a brilliant way to sew the seeds of togetherness and inclusivity.
But could it also be a hotbed of murderous passions and vengeful intrigue?
In Over My Dead Body: Murder at Eurovision (A Bebe Bollinger mystery) by Christoph Fischer, it is all that and more as mysterious shadowy figures, impelled by grudges unknowable, seek to mar the contest with all manner of…
Not only is the book, made to appear as if you’re reading into a tree, beautiful, but so is the story. Well-crafted, thought-provoking, and and at times touching and profound. Willow tells her adult son, “You don’t belong to me, I belong to you.” How true to life! Our parents’ spirit stays with us even after they leave us, making us smile, cry, look into ourselves, and shape the journey of our life. Highly recommended read.
Writing historical fiction deals with people that existed a long time ago, or created to be part of that world. Their day-to-day reality has no resemblance to ours. Their way of expressing themselves differs––words or expressions commonly used then are considered offensive to us now. Those people also had a unique way of looking at things–– their way of thinking would certainly raise a few eyebrows today. As writers, we want to portray a realistic world view of those times, but we also don’t want to offend anybody in the process.
Do we avoid using the ‘offensive language’ in dialogue, or do we write as it really was?
The POV character might belong to ‘the other’––a person from a completely different racial background from the author. Intensive research about the culture and the life experienced then is certainly advisable but it won’t eliminate the risk of creating a stereotypical, robot-image based on the author’s preconceptions of how people lived and felt at the time. When we write about ‘the other’, we also write about ourselves. That’s what writers do. There’s always a bit of ourselves, a bit of what we know, and a lot about what we don’t understand in our writing.
In my case, I’m a middle-class Quebecoise writing about a poor African-American slave from Louisiana sold to a bourgeois family in colonial New France. My research might have given me some knowledge of the horrors that the woman––being female is all I have in common with my character––had experienced, but I wonder if I’ll be able to present her in a respectable manner, and will it be possible––as a free woman––to be able to convey the woman’s deepest fears and anxieties. I can only rely on my limited imagination and what I read about the subject.
Will I do the woman justice?
Do I presume to know how she felt?
Do I even have the right to tell her story?
#historical fiction #creating characters #novels #’the other’ in writing #fiction
We who are authors and artists are notoriously thin-skinned. When we are young in the profession and still consider our works to be the equivalent of our perfect children, we bleed profusely when you admit you didn’t really enjoy what we wrote (or sang, or painted). Some of us handle this kind of conversation with […]
Did you know that before Cheez Whiz was sold in jars, it came in Swanky Swigs tumblers you could drink from? That’s the kind of wonderful nonsense I come up with while researching for my latest historical novel. Also learned about blunt-ended seamen’s knives—used for cutting, not stabbing. My characters have a lot to show me.