Why Historical Fiction?

As I complete the edit on third volume of the Shiloh Saga, I am looking on to what I may write next.  Of course, I plan to finish Mac and Laurel’s story, but after that I wonder where I will find my next story line?  I am sure it will be historical fiction.  Recently I read a devotional that confirmed for me why I find this genre so important and special.

In the tenth and eleventh chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses commands the people he has brought out of Egypt to tell the children of the deeds God did to bring them safely to the Promised Land.  He reminds them they did not see these miracles and had not experienced the acts that lead them through the Red Sea and fed them in the wilderness.  He said, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up…”  Deut. 11:18-19

Moses was talking about the need to save their history.  That is what I love about historical fiction.  When good writers weave the past into their storylines, they are preserving bits of our story that may be lost without their telling.  That is why their research is so important.  Plot lines and good characters are the vehicle to carry the past.  Good writers of historical fiction generate interest in those places and events of times past, and the stories they weave helps their readers remember.  It is the responsibility of our generation to pass on what we know about our country, our culture, and our families to the next generation.  Without this, they will have no history to pass on to their children.

For Christian Historical Fiction writers, I believe, it is crucial to tell young people how God has impacted us.  We have an obligation to show them how faith, Christian values, the perseverance of the early church, and lives of the people who came before us have made the world we live in possible.  This is our witness to the next generation.

And we tell it in a story…because we want them to remember what the Lord has done for us.

DSCF5165

This is the site of preserved homestead near Dalton, in Randolph County, Arkansas.  This an example of a single pen cabin.  There were no glass paned windows.  The logs had been hewn to make them fit together more evenly.

Eli Lindsey Marker
Rita Thomison very graciously sent me this picture to include with this story. This marker is on the site of the Lindsey home place in Lawrence County about a mile from the Eli Lindsey Memorial Methodist Church.  John Stoll and his wife Elaine minister to this congregation today.

7 thoughts on “Why Historical Fiction?

  1. Great post, Pat! Alabama’s governor recently mentioned the importance of understanding our past, explaining why she signed a monuments’ bill protecting my state’s historical monuments. We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t understand where we came from. So true!

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  2. I love reading historical fiction. Our ladies class on Wednesday night have been sharing our HIStory by telling our story and how God has worked and is still working in our lives. We have all realized our story is His (God’s) story. It has brought us all closer together and it’s also given us insight into the struggles each has dealt with. To hear some of the older ladies share their testimony of being alone when their husbands were called to war right after they married and see the faith they have cariied throughout their lives is such an encouragement.
    Can’t wait to read book 3, Pat.

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  3. Patricia what a great way to incorporate our history & God’s love & forgiveness in a very great story. I’m excited for the next book. God Bless you

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  4. Our history is a very important learning tool. You learn from mistakes others have made. You also learn from the accomplishments made by past generations.
    In our world today it’s so refreshing to read about a simpler time. Even though past generations have had their trials and tribulations,we can see how God helped them come through the storm into the light. It gives hope when things seem hopeless.

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