If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

WWK welcomes Welcome Wednesday author interview guests--Edith Maxwell (writing as Maddie Day) 11/4, Elizabeth Duncan 11/11, and J. A. Hennrickus (writing as Julianne Holmes) 11/25, to our blog. Polly Iyer is filling in for us on 11/18 due to a delayed publication. Thanks, Polly! Our guest bloggers this month are--Sam Bohrman (11/7) and Pat Gulley (11/14) in addition to our steadfast Saturday bloggers, Sam Morton (11/21), and Kait Carson (11/28).

Kait's blog will be our last in 2015. Warren Bull will introduce the holiday season on 11/29. Gloria Alden, KM Rockwood, Shari Randall, E. B. Davis, and Paula Gail Benson will present holiday shorts among the holidays. Please look at our 2015 Guest Calendar for December dates. We will resume blogging on 1/3/16.

Maria Barbo at HarperCollins's Katherine Tegen Books has bought a debut YA fantasy by Sarah Henning, tentatively titled Heartless and pitched as the never-before-told origin story of the sea witch from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" told in the vein of Wicked – from the villainess's point of view. Publication is set for fall 2017; Rachel Ekstrom at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency did the deal for world rights. Congratulations, Sarah! --Publishers Weekly 11/9/15

Gloria Alden released the sixth book in her Catherine Jewell mystery series. Carnations for Cornelia is available at Amazon. Congratulations, Gloria.

Congratulations to WWK's Carla Damron. Carla's book, The Stone Necklace, will be released on February 2, 2016. Pat Conroy served as Carla's editor on this project. For further information, look on Facebook or Amazon.

Warren Bull's "When Stinking Aliens Take Over Your Planet" appears in the new Whortleberry Press anthology, Strange Mysteries 6. "The Interview" was chosen to appear in the Flash Bang Mysteries anthology. The anthologies are available on Amazon in paper or Kindle formats.

"A Matter of Honor" by Robert Dugoni and Paula Gail Benson will be published in the first Killer Nashville anthology, KILLER NASHVILLE NOIR: COLD BLOODED, released on October 27, 2015.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning Through Novels

I hated high school, liked college, and loved graduate school. Weird, but that’s how that it went for me. In high school, I remember deciding to experiment by actually doing my homework. Mr. Forgettable, my history teacher, assigned a chapter to read in our textbook. (I don’t remember what period of history we were studying.) That night, I dutifully read my chapter.

For me reading wasn’t a chore, so as horrible as doing my homework could have been, it was almost a pleasure. The next day at school, I went to my history class ready to discuss the chapter. Mr. Forgettable took out the textbook and proceeded to read the assigned homework chapter to us. My experiment concluded, I never bothered doing my homework for that class again.

Of course, I also didn’t learn much history either, but then I had my favorite authors teach me instead. My first history lesson was by John Steinbeck, who taught me quite a bit about the depression. Anything I didn’t know, I could ask my parents who, although they were young, lived through the constraints of the time. My next teacher was Herman Wouk, who I may have read under my desk during that same boring history class. (You know that old trick.) Even though my parents lived through WWII also, they failed to provide me with Wouk’s romantic tales, such as War and Remembrance. During that same time, Leo Tolstoy taught me about nineteen century Russian society. I’ll never forget Anna Karenina.

Michener taught me about various times in U. S. history. Since the Chesapeake Bay is geographically near to me, I took interest in the events leading up to the Civil War in Chesapeake.

In the early years of the twentieth century, Conrad Allen gave me a peek at the social divide among the English classes and the philosophical divide between England and the U.S. by way of his luxury liner series featuring ships’ detectives. Susan Albert Wittig showed me the attributes and detriments of the English upper class during this same time by way of her series on Beatrix Potter. Stephanie Pintoff’s detective series, located in New York City, during these years illuminates the life, technology and social strata going from new immigrants to the opulent homes of the nation’s wealthiest citizens.

Hemmingway gave me mad glimpses of WWI, as has Jacqueline Winspear in her recent Maisie Dobbs investigative series. I’ve come to wonder if WWI wasn’t worse than WWII for its long lasting effects such as supplying demand for the drug black market and for spurring the development of psychiatry, both continue today.

The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini taught me about Afghanistan’s political and racial tensions over the last forty years, giving me insight into our current war. I know that only his writing, which bridges the gap between the Afghanistan and American cultures, overcame my ethnocentricity. How our soldiers are coping, I don’t understand.

What I loved the most about learning history through my authors was not only being presented the facts, but also living through those times via their characters. History taught in school droned in dates and engagements, while my authors taught history in a 3-D Technicolor experience that I imagined. If I remember the storyline, then I also remember the historical premise for those plots, which is how I recall history. Yes, there is a reason for the phrase “annals of the mind.” Everyone stores their records in eccentric ways. Like remembering history through plots, I also automatically remember lyrics given a melody—the two are never separated.

Are there any novels that have taught you more than you’ve ever learned in school? And what lessons have you learned?


Warren Bull said...

One of my instructor about the east was James Clavell who taught me about Japan in Shogun and Tai-Pan and about being a prisoner of war in KIng Rat. Of course To KIll a Mocking Bird was instructive about the deep South. There have been many more

Pauline Alldred said...

I had a high school history teacher who encouraged us to read historical novels so I learned famous aristocratic figures in history had brown teeth, fleas, and smelled bad. And I think you may be right about WW1. Soldiers spent months in dirty, stinking and dangerous trenches. My grandfather lost his hearing in one ear from being close to guns and he lost strength in one arm. He told my mom, when my dad went overseas in WW2, don't expect him to be the same when he comes back.