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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Tools to Writing Historical Fiction: Author Interview with Amber Schamel

What drew you to writing historical fiction? 
I have always loved books and history, so naturally, it became a love of historical fiction. I love to take the real facts and work them into a story that makes history live. It breaks my heart when people think history is nothing but boring dates and stats. It is so full of heartbreak, drama, adventure, victory…but the greatest thing I see is how it is all HIStory. God’s hand working and writing through the ages.

Was there a specific author that you read that made you think, I could write that?
As a young reader, Gilbert Morris was probably the one author that got me hooked, along with Lynn Austin.

What type of research do you do in writing a story with a historical base? Tell me about the process.
I do a lot of research before I begin the writing phase. I research historical events, locations, etc. Then as I start writing, I usually find more items I need to research, but for me that’s half the fun. 

How long did it take you to write your first book? Who encouraged you along the way?
My first book was a short story that I re-wrote and expanded into the first book in the Days of Messiah series. I had written the short story years before and had a lot of readers tell me that it needed to be its own book. So, when I got my first request from a publisher, I chose that one. It took me about three months to turn it into a novella. Critique partners and the fantastic folks at ACFW helped me and encouraged me along the way.

Did you ever want to give up writing your first book?
I’ve wanted to give up more times than I can count. Writing isn’t easy, and neither is any other part of the publishing process. But as long as I am secure in knowing that this is what God has asked me to do, it is all worth it.

How long does it take you now to write a book? 
Each book is different depending on the length and my schedule at the time. I’m not a super fast writer. I usually average around 500-700 words per hour, so it takes a lot of hours to make a book. And that’s just the first draft! LOL.

How do you write? Did you do an outline first? 

I do make a rough outline of the story before I begin, and I also make a pretty detailed character interview and development sheet before I even start on Chapter One. My outline has the basic plot points, etc, but I don’t really know how those scenes are going to play out until I’m writing them.

What are some of the more difficult aspects of writing historical novel? 
All the little details you can’t find in your research is one of the hardest things. That, and the fact that a lot of history has conflicting accounts, so no matter which one you choose, someone will question it. Thus the reason every historical novel has a disclaimer in the front.

Have other novels been started and stopped along the way?
I have a couple of stories that I started way back when, but they were never finished, and I doubt they are salvageable. It was before I had a good grip on the basics of storytelling and structure. My characters were like pinballs being knocked around by bad events. Haha, I laugh at it now. Thank the Lord for blogs like Seekerville who help us newbies learn!

What do you know now about writing/publishing now that you wished you had known sooner?
When I first started out, I had the na├»ve idea that you could write one book and then be an author. End of story. Yeah. Doesn’t work like that. You’ll spend months or years crafting a story that is close to your heart. Readers will devour it in a few hours and then the next question is “What other books have you written?”

I also wish I had understood the concept of Goal, Motivation and Conflict earlier. And the importance of working on a platform BEFORE you’re published.

What other books do you have in the works?
I have a civil war novel that is in the editing and proposal stages. Research and development phase is almost done on a new story set during WWII (my first romance). I’m also dabbling with a couple of non-fiction ideas.

What is the best advice you’ve been given about writing or that you’ve learned that you would like to pass along?
Be willing to learn, develop a tough skin. Even if you hit a bestseller list, there will always be more to learn and ways to improve your writing.

Are there any other notes you’d like to add?
I’d be happy to offer an ebook copy of Solve by Christmas to one of your readers today! Just leave a comment on the post to enter. The drawing ends and the winner will be notified in one week

Make sure you leave a comment below on this blog to have a chance to win Amber's book. In addition, you can download a FREE story by subscribing to her newsletter and updates:

Here are some other links for Amber and her writing.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Christine! It's an honor to visit your blog.