3 September 2010 5 Comments

The Inquisition, the Jews of Andalus, and Columbus: ‘By Fire By Water’ review

Historical novels vie with crime and romance novels for the titles of most derided and most widely read literature. They’ve had a bad rap ever since the 19th century, when the swashbucklers of Alexandre Dumas looked pretty wooden next to Dickens, and cartoonish in comparison to the depth of Victor Hugo or George Eliot. There […]

31 August 2010 3 Comments

Going historical

Writing of the disdain expressed for genre novels by critics, Raymond Chandler said that there were just as many bad “literary novels” of the type favored by critics as there were bad genre stories – except that the bad literary novels didn’t get published. In other words, there’s nothing inherent in so-called genre fiction that […]

15 April 2010 0 Comments

Stealing the novel

If there’s one thing that authoring a series of novels will teach you, it’s that you can’t wait for inspiration. But you can prompt it, give it little electric shocks that’ll keep it bubbling within you. Here are a few methods I use to do that. I go to the places I’m writing about. I […]

4 February 2010 0 Comments

What am I reading?

On the “Writers Read” blog, which is run by the indefatigable Marshal Zeringue, the latest post features my most recent reading. It’s not what you might think — in other words, it isn’t detective fiction (well, there’s one such book, sort of…) and it’s not full of books about the Middle East. Have a look […]