Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Genealogical fiction - who's writing?

No, by genealogical fiction I don't mean those spurious family trees scattered far and wide over the internet.

I've been toying with the idea of writing a historical novel about one of my ancestors. After much pondering (and much listening to the wonderful I Should Be Writing podcast), I've come to the conclusion that I simply don't want the novel written enough to actually write it, so I've parked the idea for now.

However, it seems that other genealogists out there have stepped up, written, and published their genealogical fiction. Here are a few that have come to my attention over the last couple of weeks:

* D.J Wiseman - A Habit Of Dying is an English murder-mystery stemming from a journal found in a box of family heirlooms.

* Steve Robinson - In The Blood features an American genealogist solving a historical murder-mystery in Cornwall.

* William Leverne Smith (aka geneablogger Dr Bill) - Back To The Homeplace and the new sequel The Homeplace Revisited are set in more recent times in the Ozarks but feature family history themes.

I've just purchased the first two (from Book Depository and Smashwords respectively) - unfortunately the last isn't available in epub format with any online retailer that will sell to NZers, so that will have to wait for now.

What else is out there? Anyone want to confess to having a work in progress?


The Professional Descendant said...

I enjoyed 'The Blood Detective' and 'Blood Atonement' by Dan Waddell, featuring genealogist Nigel Barnes.

Also 'Pale as the Dead' by Fiona Mountain featuring genealogist Natasha Blake. I don't think I've read the second in the series, 'Bloodlines'.

What I find slightly strange is that both of the above series (if I remember correctly) and 'In the Blood' by Steve Robinson all feature professional genealogists who were adopted and therefore don't know anything about their own ancestry. Not sure why everyone thinks this is such an original twist!


Chris Paton said...

I'm currently writing up an account of the murder of my 3 x gt grandmother in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1866. I'm doing it in a semi-novelised form, but trying not to make anything up, though there are a few fudges in there to paper over some cracks! It's being published Spring next year in the UK as "The Mount Stewart Murder".

Intent is not to solve the murder - I can't, it's Scotland's (and possibly UK's) longest unsolved case! It's a description of the investigation set against the context of life in Perthshire in the same year (cattle plague epidemics, other murders, first hanging in 17 years, etc).

A lot of fun to write, and slowly killing me in the process for good measure...!


Alex said...

Thanks for the recommendations Kirsty - these all sound intriguing! Looks like they are all out of print at the moment so I'll see if the library has them.

Chris, that sounds like a very interesting project. I'm sure it will find quite a wide audience once published.

kt.gray.craven said...

Thanks for your interest, Alex. I'm currently seeking a literary agent for my manuscript, Daughters of Gray: The Hales. It takes the frustrated romance of a young woman from Gray, Tennessee and fictionalizes (based o reams of genealogy) the background for her parents' refusal to let her marry the man she loved. It tells the story of her ggggg aunt, one of the first white immigrants into Tennessee. Never married, this aunt and her brothers, set their 15 slaves free and encouraged the nascent emancipation movement in Tennessee. It tells the story of Elmirah's grandmother, Almira who brought up her 7 children after early widowhood, only to see 3 of the 6 boys lost in the Civil War. It tells the story of Elmira's aunt Susannah who married young and began burying babies before she was 16. Then it comes full circle with the story of Elmirah's mother Sarah Frances Leab who protected the family honor and felt that love of and and love of family should take precedence over romantic love.

kt.gray.craven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Daughters of Gray: The Hales sounds like quite the epic tale! The earliest portion, the story of the family coming to Tennessee, does sound fascinating, it's not a location/time period I'm familiar with but you've intrigued me with your description. Good luck in finding an agent and publisher.

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Thank you for the mention, Alex. I have another novel set 'on deck' where the fictional characters live in the community of a relative family I have researched. We "see the relatives" through the eyes of the fictional characters. ;-)

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