On Writing in a New Genre...
When reading "The Pillars of the Earth", I took a look at the Preface where Ken Follett explained that he almost didn't write the beloved piece of historical fiction. He was an author who found his comfort zone in the thriller genre and stuck with it. Going outside of that box into something so unknown must have been a very scary thing for him.
I can sympathize with his feelings on the matter. I have always stuck with dark and urban fantasy. It has been my niche far longer than my published works. Even when toying with short stories, I was creating worlds of magic, mystery and a little bit of mayhem for my own eyes to read. When I began even thinking of writing "The Tin Photo", I had a number of reasons why I should not write it.
I don't write historical fiction. I never have. I write fantasy, and I enjoy reading fantasy! That is my genre! Except for the fact authors like Ken Follett and Stephen Lawhead are among my favorites. True, Lawhead isn't historically accurate fiction, but he certainly likes to draw from myths of the past to create his stories.
Then, there is the history buff side of me. The side that is excited to devour a history book, or a new documentary. The side that visited Jamestown, Virginia as a vacation destination so I could see the museums. The side of me that genuinely enjoys spending hours digging through census and birth records to match one ancestor to another and fill out the family tree. Maybe that side needed to be fed a little bit.
The Tin Photo is certainly a dive into history, spanning four generations and a century of one family's history in the United States. It is also partially true. The basis for the story was taken from a family secret that stayed quiet for almost 85 years. The story belongs to my Grandfather, his Mother and his biological Father. While I've taken the liberty of creating some stories of my own, their story is being told through this novel.
That was my main drive for deciding to work on this novel. These people deserve to have their stories told. The story of two immigrants coming to a Country where the wars and violence were a thing of the past. The story of a family torn apart by disease and poor working conditions. The story of a young man who had his world shattered when he was 18 years old.
Their story needs to be told. Even if it is a work of fiction. Hopefully, I am able to pull up my bootstraps and do it some justice. For them. Not me.