Writing historical fiction is a mix of lovingly created fiction married with well researched facts. It’s a given to most readers who enjoy this genre that not everything is going to be true to historical reality. But for those of us that enjoy writing historical fiction, one of the most painstaking part of the creative process is getting right those historical facts we want to remain true to in our works.
The most effective way to hook a reader is to create a story world so real that they lose themselves in it.
When I began my Lash series, I had never written historical fiction before. I wasn’t sure of much that happened in America in the 1920s. Yes, I was aware of Prohibition, the debaucheries and excesses of the Roaring 20s, and also the Crash of 1929. But beyond what I had seen in movies like Harlem Nights, I had no idea of what else had been going on in society, or what day to day life was like. It was ultra-important to me that people believe in the character and the world I had created. With how much the world had changed in eighty years, it was apparent that some research was called for to fill in the blanks. Having excelled in research papers in college, I fell to the task eagerly.
To gain historical perspective for Lash, I watched movies made in the 30s that depicted the 20s, used Wikipedia and other online sources, and consulted a Time Life book of important events in the last 100 years. These sources supplied me with more than enough material to make Lash’s world of the 20’s sound genuine, without overwhelming the action central to the book’s plot. To my surprise, I found out some amazing facts I’d never learned inside a classroom. Better yet, I discovered a love not only for old black and white movies, and the actors and actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood, but also of history itself.
Before I knew it, I was already planning the next Lash book, eager to include other facts I found outside the years in which the first novel took place. In hoping to hook readers, I had inadvertently hooked myself on writing historical fiction. I think there are probably worse fates. J
Scarred from a childhood spent in perpetual indigence after being forced from their home in the
weresnake Trystan Valeras and his family make their way to the Case Hotel. When
his wealthy gangster father arrives the summer he turns sixteen, Trystan’s dream
of a better life, along with the lovely aristocrat Mara, is suddenly within his
grasp. Instead of paradise, a series of devastating events unfold, leading
Trystan to become the instrument of his dying father’s revenge. His violent
reprisal instigates a backlash of murder and death, forcing Trystan to flee
with the remains of his family to the sultry city of where he sells himself into the service
of the Vampire Lord Abraham. Becoming the assassin Lash to hide his identity,
Trystan finds a measure of peace, even as his skill with killing heightens,
bringing to him not only new allies, but also new adversaries. New Orleans
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Links for Tara Fox Hall:
For info on my other recently published books
Promise Me and Midnight Thirsts 2
Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series.
Tara divides her free time unequally between
writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray
animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target
Tara's Dinner Guests:
Dinner Party Guests...Lash (my character), James Cagney, Johnny Depp, my husband Eric Dietrich, Rob Lowe, Luke Evans (of movie The Raven), John Stewart, Lewis Black, Jenny Twist and Tori Ridgewood (two fellow Melange Books authors).
Lash (my character)
As much as what he would likely say would be either blunt or offensive (and the dinner party might degenerate into a brawl), I would be interested to spend some time with Lash. I wrote him to have a good sense of humor, so there would be no stilted moments. And if someone should attack during dessert…well, we’ve got the scariest weresnake bodyguard right there to take care of it. And I won’t need to worry about any leftovers, either.
I loved his acting ability, beliefs, style, and what he stood for. Lash would also be more comfortable with him around, as they are from the same era. I’d love to hear more about Hollywood in the 30’s, and first hand recounts of some of the real-life tangles James got into with other actors on sets, like Bogart.
I don’t think this needs any explanation, but I’ll give one anyway. Not only is Depp enormously talented, he’s handsome as hell. I would love to hear anything he had to say, even if he wanted to tell me at length his favorite way of tying his shoes as a child.
My husband Eric Dietrich
You can’t very well have a dinner party and exclude your husband, especially when you are inviting his favorite actor and best loved comedians. I also admit that Eric is never at a loss for making conversation, and would be able to say something that made sense, while I likely fussed with my napkin, trying to decide who I should lustily stare at next.
Another favorite actor of mine. I could look into his eyes forever and not get bored. He could say nothing, and I’d still be wowed. But I’d love to hear more about what he loved about his life, and what he still hopes to do. I’d also beg him to sign an autograph, or two.
Luke Evans (of The Raven)
I don’t know much about Luke, as he is a new actor for me. But I loved his performance in The Raven, and I’d be very interested in what he hopes to achieve in Hollywood, what he’s done in his life up to now, and if he really likes to ride horses or not. And I also would like an answer to the question, “Why is he so at home in period dress?”
Another one that needs no introduction. Besides being handsome, Jon is articulate, intelligent, and makes me laugh. I can’t think of better qualities to have in a dinner party attendee.
Lewis is irreverent, sarcastic, and hilariously funny. I saw him on stage with my husband, and laughed so much at his performance that I cried. I’d love to hear more of what he had to say when he wasn’t scripted, especially some of his personal views on life, funny or not.
Since she’s in Spain and I’m in the US, I have to invite Jenny, so I can finally get to meet her. I’m also sure she could gossip with me in the kitchen while I was prepping stuff about all the other dinner guests. And if something went wrong, she would help me save the dinner J
Since she’s in Canada and I’m in the US, I have to invite Tori, too, so I can finally get to meet her. I know she loves Johnny Depp, and would be really irked if I didn’t give her this chance to meet him. And she is another friend who would help me if something went wrong, like Rob Lowe asking me what movie scene I liked best with him...I am flushing just thinking it…Quick, Tori, say something in the silence! J