Friday, March 8, 2013

Read in the time period? Or not?


Hi,

First of all I apologize for not being up to date on my blog writing as other areas of my life seem to have taken over.

Second, I have a question for you - really, it is about your point of view on historical novels. So, here it is....

When you read historical novels do you read it as present day or do you take in the time period of which it is written?

Now, before you go and scratch your head asking yourself: Why would I even pose such a question? Because if you are an avid historical reader then you place yourself in that time period. But I have found that not all readers do so.

I just finished a book called Seasons by Elizabeth Byler Younts. (click here to read more on Amazon about Seasons.) This book was not a very long book but it addressed: An Amish girl's journey. This story is based on a real story. The granddaughter thoughtfully, and emotionally but into words her grandmothers story. With that being said, the grandmother was born in 1926 and started taking over household responsibilities as no more than a child. 

Are you wondering yet what might my point be? Of course everyone has their opinion but I just want to address this review. 

  • This girls mother had to give away some of her children because of the poverty they were living in yet she continued to still get pregnant and have more kids. I finally had to stop reading. This young girl was suffering so and her mother didn't care enough to stop having more children so there would be MORE suffering.
Doesn't this reader realize that the Amish didn't believe in birth control. It wasn't to make life more difficult but they were living out their beliefs. And if the reader would have kept reading she would have felt the love that was exchanged between mother and daughter. Yes, it is a hard world at times but this reader let in her personal beliefs to give this author a one star review. 

And then you have this two star review:
  • A very sad story told in the voice of a child. I found it depressing and vague. It reminded me of Little House on the Prairie but not nearly as interesting.
Hello dear reader, Little House on the Prairie is a television show where reality can be written in as the writer sees fit. Seasons is a book based on the true life of a family. 

I shake my head because, to me, it is common sense to read a historical novel in the context of its time era. 

And then there is the comments expressed about my very own book, Journey to Freedom, which is set in the civil war. 

  • One reader told me she rated it down because I did not tell her that the book had Christianity in it. 
  • Another reader said that she rated it down because I had too many characters in it. 
  • And another reader said that the fire and brimstone talk did the book no favors. 
Well, I can only tell you my side of this...

My publisher is the one who didn't want to put on the back of the book - in its blurb - that this was a Christian novel. As a first time author, I went along with them. Actually I didn't even think it would make a difference but it did to at least one person. 

As for too many characters, maybe the reader is right. I mean I didn't follow any "rules" when I wrote Journey to Freedom as romance authors follow. In fact, I didn't want this to be deemed a "romance" novel, but instead a novel of adventure and discovery. Did I succeed? The reader has to be the judge of that. 

And as for the "fire and brimstone" - Let's remember the time period we are talking about. Prior to, During and Shortly After the American Civil War. This country was built on Christianity and therefore, this was not unpopular nor uncommon to see/hear. 

Unfortunately, these readers were not one hundred percent satisfied with Journey to Freedom but I am okay with that. Not everyone is going to like what I write. 

Going back to the topic……What do you say? Do you read in the time period or not? 

And if you are curious, here is my review of Seasons:

5 Stars:
There is no easy life when you take the road of the Amish ways. The main character was born in 1926, so you take the time period into consideration and their way of life and what you get is a life of hardships that few of us will ever encounter. This story touched me deeply as I read about the hardships endured and overcome in her life.

The writing is excellent. Point of view shifts were clearly defined. It held my attention allowing me to, on occasion, laugh and, shortly thereafter, have my eyes fill with tears.

I liked how even when things are at their worst, something good could be found. What I was disappointed about was the gaps in between time periods; the lack of transition was a minor distraction to me. But I would like to know what happened in between.

With this being a true story I did enjoy how the author respected the persons in the book - through the good and the bad.

Well done.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pen Over Sword: Author Interview: K Meador

Pen Over Sword: Author Interview: K Meador: It's Friday! Time for another great author interview. Today I have K Meador! Hi, K! Thanks for joining us today.

Interview :)