Today I’m working on a presentation I’ll be giving at the NE SCBWI conference in a couple weeks. It’s called “The Flesh and Bones of History” and it’s all about writing historical fiction for young adults. I’m pretty nervous about this presentation. Historical fiction is something I’m truly excited about, and I want to share my enthusiasm with my audience. They are probably already interested, or they wouldn’t have signed up for my talk. In theory I’ve got a room full of like minds–the perfect audience. I want to be all inspiring and impressive for these brave writers who are either considering taking on a big historical project or else are in the thick of it, buried in facts and not sure where to begin.
I’m thinking back to my early days with Catherine Howard, with all of those notes I had, those detailed chronologies of historical events and details about her life that I had culled from history books…as well as my own inferences. I read somewhere that a lady at court warned her that she would “lose her figure” eating the way she did. From this I inferred that, like me, Catherine had a considerable sweet tooth. This is the stuff I look back on with the most interest and pleasure, the part of the process where she changed from being the historical Catherine Howard that I read about in history books, to becoming my Catherine. And that gave me the doorway into her story that I was looking for.
I’ve got another reading coming up this Tuesday at the Ames Free Library in Easton at 6:30 p.m. I’m hoping I get a good crowd! I’m also hoping that the crowd isn’t too young…in my reading I say the word “virgin” about a million times. I don’t want to corrupt the local youth. At least, that hadn’t been in my plan for this Tuesday.
In the meantime, check out my interview on the Curious George bookstore’s blog!: http://curiousgeorgestore.blogspot.com/2009/04/blood-and-roses.html