Saturday, March 12, 2011
Alaska Historical Fiction
Alaska Historical Fiction by Lynn Lovegreen
I write historical fiction set in Alaska. There are so many good stories here that it is easy to come up with ideas. The hard part is deciding which story to work on next.
I am working on a Gold Rush series. I chose that period because there are so many great things that happened during that era and lots of dramatic events to weave into plots. I usually come up with a setting first (ie. Skagway in 1898), then research to find important events and details that would be interesting to readers. Once I know enough, then I start daydreaming about how a young lady might end up in that place and what might happen to her. For example, with the Skagway novel, I knew I wanted the infamous con man Soapy Smith to be featured, and came up with real events that my heroine could witness to anchor that part of the plot. And with a high ratio of men to women, there’s lots of opportunity of romance too. My heroines always end up meeting their special someones on their Alaska adventures!
Once I have a basic plot line, then I write a draft, doing research to fill in gaps as needed. Some people ask, “Isn’t it hard to do all that research?” Not for me--I enjoy it. There are lots of great books on Alaska history, plus historic photographs and visits to sites that give you the little details that can make a place come alive for the reader. So for me, the research is part of the fun of writing.
I’ve got three Gold Rush books so far: set in 1898 Skagway, 1900 Nome, and 1906 Fairbanks. My next idea is early-1900s Kantishna, in modern-day Denali National Park. If I get tired of the Gold Rush one day, there are lots of other dramatic time periods in Alaska. It would be great to do a series about Russian America, when we were Russian territory. And so many interesting things took place during World War II here. Alaska is perfect for historical fiction. I feel lucky to live in this fascinating place.