Tag Archives: book research

Writing an Epic Family Saga by Novelist Linda Spalding

Posted by January 10th, 2014

The Purchase 2

The following is a guest post by Linda Spalding about her historical novel THE PURCHASE, winner of the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Prize for Fiction. The book tells the story of Quaker Daniel Dickinson and his family, and their new life at the Virginia frontier – where slaves are the only available workers and where the family’s values and beliefs are sorely tested. 

Here Linda talks about intertwining the story of antebellum America with family history to create an epic family saga. 

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Every family is an epic. Even a single generation has so many stories tucked away that ten thousand pages would be required to tell them all. A family is the perfect proof of chaos theory – the one where a butterfly causes a blizzard in Florida or an airplane crash in the arctic. Your mother tickles you on your left foot while you snooze in your cradle and you develop an allergy to walking barefoot on grass in your middle age.

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Mimi Speike

Posted by November 25th, 2013

mimi_speikeToday we have one of our most seasoned Book Country members, Mimi Speike, as our guest. We caught her at an opportune time–as she’s making final revisions to her historical fantasy series and is preparing to launch them into the world. 

NG: When did you fall in love with writing?

MS: I wrote in school, of course. I didn’t start writing for my own pleasure until around 1984. An idea got hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I’d always read. I began to examine style, particularly that thing called flow. I started writing Sly! and fell so in love with the somersaults that you can turn with well-chosen words that I’m still at it. This is the greatest game there is.

NG: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about yourself as a writer? What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome?

MS: I’ve learned to follow my gut. Screw rules. My Intrusive Author style is universally despised, apparently. But, that’s my voice. I’m sticking with it.

Biggest challenge? The one we all face: self-doubt. Once in a while, I manage to subdue debilitating insecurity, only to be seized by its equally evil twin, unabashed arrogance, no improvement in terms of objectivity. I don’t think in terms of overcoming. I try to balance the Jekyll and Hyde of my authorial personality, and let it go at that.

NG: How did you go about cultivating your writing style, and what role humor plays in the SLY series?

MS: I admire nineteenth/early twentieth-century lush description. I try to emulate it. That whole out-of-fashion scene-setting really turns me on. I also adore exceptional grace of phrasing; I think of it as a musicality. I scour the classics for vocabulary, sea terms in particular. I have a pirate episode in Sly! What do I know of the sea? Nada! Two Years Before The Mast, set two hundred years after my period, furnished information on shipboard routine. That has to do, until I lay hands on more timely material.

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