Sunday, December 1, 2013

How Not To Write Historical Fiction

I remember how piqued I was when a Publishers Weekly reviewer criticized my first novel, My Father Had a Daughter. She didn't like the book -- a fiction based on the life of Shakespeare's youngest child, Judith -- because it didn't end with the girl's death, like the sad fantasy about Shakespeare's sister spun by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One's Own. Woolf's protagonist was also named Judith, and Woolf's Judith killed herself. The critic thought mine should have, too. Yet it wasn't this puzzling critique that sparked my ire. What got to me was this critic's disparagement of my novel's