Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Bradley Harper | You Don’t Say?
Author Guest / September 18, 2019

Dialogue is an ancient Greek stage direction, meaning “action through words.” One of the first critiques I got from an agent, looking at my neatly printed manuscript was “There’s not enough white space,” meaning there was too much narrative description, and not enough dialogue. Dialogue opens up the tightknit block of words we are accustomed to in textbooks and allows your story to breathe through verbal exchanges between your characters. Frequent doses of white space make your work less intimidating and helps your reader speed along through your story. Dialogue is used to accomplish three things: Exposition, to reveal character, and to provoke an action. Let’s look at these in turn. Exposition. I write historical fiction, so putting my reader into an unknown universe and making them quickly comfortable there requires that I give them a sense of time and place, but without the dreaded “Info Dump.”  So how do I do that? I incorporate the information transfer into as graphic a manner as possible. In my first novel, A Knife in the Fog, my heroine, Margaret Harkness, is a female author from a proper middle-class British family temporarily living in Whitechapel to do research on her novels. As she…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Into the Sunset with Westerns
Author Guest / September 18, 2019

With summer already headed into the sunset in most locales, we’ll take a look at fiction set in the most famous of “into the sunset” areas–American-set and Western novels.  After decades of tremendous popularity, with the exception of a few movies and books–the “Lonesome Dove” series and remakes of “True Grit”–the genre has been out of favor recently.  But a few new and notable novels would like to reverse that trend. Proceeding chronologically, we begin with 355: THE WOMEN OF WASHINGTON’S SPY RING by Kit Sergeant.  Following the lead of the popular AMC TV show “Turn,” Sergeant presents the intertwining stories of three women who might have belonged to the secret spy ring referred to in Washington’s notebooks.  Meg Moncrieffe returned from boarding school in Ireland to find a colony in revolt.  Though her sympathies were initially with the British, her love for Aaron Burr persuaded her to look at another solution.  Elizabeth Burgin’s loyalties lay strongly with the colonists’ side after her husband died aboard one of the notorious British prison ships.  When a Culper Ring member approaches her, she’s ready to put herself–and her family–at risk to bring down the men who caused her husband’s death.  Initially furious…

Jane Kirkpatrick | Exclusive Interview: ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS
Author Guest / September 18, 2019

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us about your latest release, ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS? It’s the story of a little-known wagon train trying to find religious freedom in Alta California and their remarkable survival in a terrible winter (in the same place in the Sierra Nevadas that the Donner party encountered two years later – with very different results). It’s incredible to know that ONE MORE RIVER TO CROSS was inspired by a true story. Where did you find out about this piece of history and what brought about writing an entire book about it?  While researching another book I found a footnote that said, “Here’s the cabin wherein 1844-45 8 women, 17 children, and James Miller spent the winter in the Sierra Nevadas.”  Hmm, were they on a vacation? There’s a group of women in this novel who have to survive the unthinkable while taking care of children and keeping them all alive in harsh conditions. Their strength and resilience are inspiring. What sort of research did you do about survival tactics? Did you learn anything about the actual women who went through this journey?  Sheltering each other, collaborating and keeping a focus on what…