Historical Fiction

Fiction that is infused with history takes you into a world so different from your own. If done well, the reader feels he is living at the time the book is set. If it is done well, you can taste, smell and see the things around you. What provoked fear in the inhabitants of this time and place, makes you feel fear for them.
Writing historical fiction is a process like no other. One can not go merrily typing away. Each action, each word must be weighed for authenticity.
I was totaly engrossed en the topics I have written about.
First in Beyond Bagheria I wanted the world to know about a dark chapter in Italian-American history that folks are not aware of. I chose to write Barbarossa’s Princess because I wanted to give a princess who lived 1000 years ago a voice. Only Dante in his Divine Comedy made reference to her ever so briefly.
I have rectified this slight against Constance de Hauteville.
You must love your characters and setting or else you will find the process of writing historical fiction daunting. I never regretted a minute I spent writing about my heroines.
I wish you the joy I felt as I constructed my stories. May your stories bring you joy, peace, fun.

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Review of my book, Barbarossa’s Princess

Review by professional editor, Joyce Magee, Fort Lauderdale , Florida

Elizabeth Vallone’s Barbarossa’s Princess, a superbly researched historical novel, will transport readers to the milieu of the late Middle Ages and the intrigue of the court of the Holy Roman Empire.  It begins in the middle of the drama, in the year 1194, as Sicilian Queen Constance, consort of Emperor Heinrich, is about to give birth publicly to an heir to the throne.  Townspeople who will witness the birth are exceedingly curious to see whether a monstrous anti-Christ will emerge from the queen’s body, as predicted by a famous clairvoyant.  From this scene of frenzied expectation, the narrative fills in the previous ten years via flashback, featuring scenes of love, cruelty, deception, violence, secrets and much more.

The third-person omniscient point of view alternates with first-person narration by Queen Constance, a technique that vividly illuminates the action while endearing the reader to the female protagonist’s inner self.  At every step, Constance clearly articulates the thoughts and feelings of a woman who is manipulated and repressed by the politics of her era and, especially, the men who exert power over her.

Ms. Vallone provides authentic multi-sensory details that will transport readers to the 12th Century. Many elements, such as beauty and fertility treatments, obstetrical medicine, food, customs and other details about daily life of the time are factual. So are many of the characters, who truly come alive under the pen of Ms. Vallone.

 

 

Sicily-The Most Misunderstood Italy

I had, like many people, a very negative view of all things Sicilian.  To me Sicily represented a hot bed of bad-tempered  mafiosi who went around shooting people.  I had never heard anyone say anything nice about Sicily.  Terrible people, unscrupulous people, clanish people, ugly people, the Africans of Italy.

Then I discovered one of Sicily’s native sons who was deemed “Stupor Mundi,” the Wonder of the World.  Frederick II Hohenstaufen was not only Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and King of the Two Sicilies, he was one of the most outstanding personages of the late 12th, early 13th century.

He founded the first secular university not dominated by clerics, he made advanced medical care available to the poor and expaned  the Medical School of Salerno.  He allowed dissection in order to futher the study  of human anatomy, he promoted literature in all its forms and had foreign literature translated into Sicilian.  He wrote a tome on the care, breeding and training of falcons which stood for centuries as the main reference book on the topic.

I also learned that Sicilians can be dark and swarthy, red-headed and blue-eyed, very tall and stately, and short and stout.  They were masters of poetry and literature before Dante.

Siciliy, you have my most humble apology.

 

Free Association

Free association is defined as the mental process by which one word or image may spontaneously suggest another without logical connection.  I used this technique at times to help direct my story.

Sounds crazy? It worked for me.  Writing historical fiction, especially if it is set in medieval times,  can be very limiting.  There is not much recorded history still in existence if the character was not a major player on the world stage.  If it’s a secondly character, even worse.

In my work, Barbarossa’s Princess, I was able to flesh out a rivetingly ghoolish  scene that worked beautifully in the storyline.  For instance, Almudena – brother – harem- eunuch – making enuchs.  Okay, my mind said use that.  I had to introduce a brother for Almudena, I had to give him a job, i.e. eunuch, I had to tell why he became a eunuch and how he became one.

Believe me, it turned out great.   When I read this section to my writers’ group the men crossed their legs and winced, but loved every wordl.

Free association … try it, you might like it.

Spark that Lights the Flame of Motivation

Went to a book fair recently and came away inspired to keep working on my writing projects and promoting my new work, Barbarossa’s Princess.

What I learned is that the spark that lights the flame of inspiration is everywhere.  One author hated her next door neighbor so much, she wrote a mystery and had her neighbor killed off.  Saves having to go jail by getting rid of her in your mind. 

I started my new project when I went to an exhibit about WWI.  I knew my grandfather fought in the great war and decided to use what I learned at the exhibit as my springboard.

Another book was created because of a visit to a castle.  The author became so intrigued by the emperor that built the castle, she decided to use that as her frame. 

 The book, Travels of a Medieval Princess, annoyed me so much that when I finished reading it I decided to write Barbarossa’s Princess.  I felt this medieval princess doing the traveling needed a voice.  People had to know about how she felt, what she ate, what she thought, what she did for fun, who she interfaced with on her travels. 

A writer of science fiction was motivated to write his book because he hates his job and people he works with.  As there are no jobs these days, he used his feelings to create another world using animals for each of his co-workers.  Very, very creative work. 

 Lastly, I met a clarivoyant who is inspired to write about the other side because of the work she’s done with people connecting to world we can’t see.

Never know where you will find the spark that lights the flame of creativity, motivation.

Spark that Lights the Flame of Motivation

Went to a book fair recently and came away inspired to keep working on my writing projects and promoting my new work, Barbarossa’s Princess.

What I learned is that the spark that lights the flame of inspiration is everywhere.  One author hated her next door neighbor so much, she wrote a mystery and had her neighbor killed off.  Saves having to go jail by getting rid of her in your mind. 

I started my new project when I went to an exhibit about WWI.  I knew my grandfather fought in the great war and decided to use what I learned at the exhibit as my springboard.

Another book was created because of a visit to a castle.  The author became so intrigued by the emperor that built the castle, she decided to use that as her frame. 

 The book, Travels of a Medieval Princess, annoyed me so much that when I finished reading it I decided to write Barbarossa’s Princess.  I felt this medieval princess doing the traveling needed a voice.  People had to know about how she felt, what she ate, what she thought, what she did for fun, who she interfaced with on her travels. 

A writer of science fiction was motivated to write his book because he hates his job and people he works with.  As there are no jobs these days, he used his feelings to create another world using animals for each of his co-workers.  Very, very creative work. 

 Lastly, I met a clarivoyant who is inspired to write about the other side because of the work she’s done with people connecting to world we can’t see.

Never know where you will find the spark that lights the flame of creativity, motivation.

suicide

What makes one decide to leave it all behind? One can never know. Check out this reading.

I’m Free
don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took God’s hand when I heard the cal: I turn my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day, to laught, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found that place at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void.
Then fill it with remember joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss.
Ah yes, these things too I will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow;
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
Perhaps my life seemd all too brief, don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Life up your heart and share with me.
God want me now, God set me free.