Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

In one era and out the other


Henry O’Farrell, Man With A Mission

Still hawking Town Father. Hope you don’t mind.

I was excited by the prospect of doing a historical novel this time around, since I’d never really tried one before, but then I got to thinking: in a way, almost all novels are period pieces. Aside from near-future speculatives or sci-fi, most novels take place in the past to one degree or another. I realized somewhere in there that I had already written period pieces. A bunch of them as a matter of fact.

Town Father takes place in the period from 1881 to 1910 or so, which is one of those eras you have to be really careful about. Buffs are out there who know a lot about the time. They’ll be combing over the text for boo boos. We must watch our anachronisms, now. Have to make sure the Union Pacific really did have a depot at Emigrant Gap. Have to know how long it would take to get from point A to point B with a horse and wagon. But now that I think of it, Parts Unknown is set in the 1990s, more or less, and it too contains period details that I didn’t really give much thought to at the time because I was using them contemporaneously. Same with Yesterday Road and Occasional Soulmates. Before you know it, a few years have gone by and you find yourself the author of some charming slice-of-life books set in the early years of the 21st century.

What a time it was, eh?

I have books in draft form set in 1973, 1850, 1937, 1980, and more. They’re all period pieces, I see now, and they all need the same care when I get down to the nitty gritty with them and try to make them as real as they can be. Devil’s in the details.

Because that’s what fiction is, right? The creation of worlds. And whether they’re fantastic worlds on other planets or good old Earth ca. 1999, they have to hold up under their own rules, along with the reader’s recognitions.

Hestia’s a place nobody can visit. But, then again, neither is San Francisco in 1962 or Paris in 1930.

You can buy Town Father here in paperback (now, God knows why, for only $9.90!).

5 comments on “In one era and out the other

  1. kingmidget
    October 29, 2015

    Got my copy yesterday and quit on the novel I was in the middle of to sit down with a real story. Enjoying it.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 29, 2015

      Wow, that was fast! Not only are you the first purchaser, you’re also the first reader!

      • kingmidget
        October 29, 2015

        Amazon Prime’s free two day delivery is a beautiful thing. Sadly, I probably won’t be the first to finish it given the other demands on my time.

  2. Adrienne Morris
    October 29, 2015

    I don’t mind the occasional anachronism as long as the story’s good. Sometimes people can be quite picky. I used to Civil War re-enact (for research) and while I appreciated being period correct one can never really know just how things were back then–or how people really thought–bu it’s fun to imagine.

    Much success !

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 29, 2015

      I agree. I think the main thing, in novels, is to create a reasonably realistic platform for the story. Most readers will accept it in spite of minor boo boos.

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This entry was posted on October 29, 2015 by in Writing and tagged , , , .
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