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The Vexed Privilege Of Writing A Historical Novel, by Jane Kirkpatrick

Lovely general reminders about the writing process but the joy of researching and discovering a story set completely outside of today’s world.

Writing Historical Novels

American essayist and novelist Wendell Berry once said of parenting that it was “a vexed privilege and a blessed trial”.  I think that’s also true of writing historical novels.

I feel privileged to be able to tell stories set in another place and time. I love the research and the discoveries from footnotes that might lead me along a whole new path. Historical novels especially are like maps. They tell us how to get to a new place and also reduce the fear of the unknown. What a privilege to explore these other times and places. I feel blessed beyond measure to have a husband who cooks and who has some special interests that help me with my writing (he’s a weapons expert which is great for someone who writes in the 1850s about the American West when guns were an everyday part of a character’s life; he’s a builder, plumber…

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