While a historian stands firmly planted in the present and looks back into the past, a historical novelist has a more immediate task: to set readers in the midst of bygone events and lead them forward, allowing them to live and feel the wonderment, fear, hope, triumph, and pain as if they were there.
Learning historical stories is easy, creating stories based in history is not.
In Once Upon a Time It Was Now, best-selling author James Alexander Thom (Follow the River, From Sea to Shining Sea, Sign-Talker) gives you the tools you need to research and create stories born from the past that will move and inspire modern readers. His comprehensive approach includes lessons on how to:
Find and use historical archives and conduct physical field research
Re-construct the world of your novel, including people and voices, physical environments, and cultural context
Achieve verisimilitude in speech, action, setting, and description
Seamlessly weave historical fact with your own compelling plot ideas
With wit and candor, Thom’s detailed instruction, illuminating personal experience, and invaluable insights culled from discussions with other trusted historical writers will guide you to craft a novel that is true to what was then, when then was now.
James Alexander Thom is an Indiana-born Marine veteran, and was a newspaperman, magazine freelance writer, and Indiana University Journalism School lecturer before he became a full-time historical novelist, known for his thorough research in archives and in the field. His American frontier and Indian war novels have won national awards and sold more than two million copies. Two were made into television films, by Hallmark and Ted Turner. Thom’s family history drew him to the Civil War era. His namesake was killed in the Battle of Fredericksburg, and his great grandfather survived the deathly Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp. Several years as Ohio River historical lecturer for the Delta Queen line provided technical knowledge and riverboat lore for this book. The author is also an artist and sculptor. James and his wife Dark Rain live in a 170-year-old log house near Bloomington, Indiana.