For the Love of Historical Fiction

January 6, 2012

There are a small number of people in the world who will overlook–much less appreciate–the glazed, distracted, off-putting self-absorption of an author whose eyes are still gleaming with the euphoria of having just finished a book. Kate Quinn is apparently one of those people. After finishing a piece late last night before collapsing in a heap, it occurred to me this morning that I had a lunch date with the smart, sassy, bestselling historical author. Given the stature of my lunch-date, it behooved me to drag myself into the shower, brush my teeth, and make some attempt at forcing my hair into a style. (Having failed at the latter, I adopted a furry white hat instead.)

We decided to meet at a local B&N, where we were hailed like conquering war heroes treated to the awkward apathy that so often accompanies a stock signing. After some creative Shelf-O-Mancy on Kate’s part, we got down to the more serious business of food. We visited an Amish Market where we were taunted and tempted by every wholesome heart-clogging delicacy known to man, chatted over traditional fare, then–as goat was not available on the menu–we decided to risk it all on the throw of a dice and have a vanilla pie. (Which was awesome.)

What was more awesome, of course, was the details of Kate’s upcoming work that I got out of her. (And cannot share. But would really like to, because you historical fiction fans are going to die!)  Another awesome thing was the way Kate let me be not at my best. I rambled on about my forthcoming projects without ever once catching the inevitable glaze of boredom fall over her eyes. (She’s just that good.) Even better, she instinctively understood what the story was about, where it should go, and the challenges of shaping it.

Ahh, kindred spirits. This is why I’ve been trying to spearhead the local Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the Historical Novel Society. Because how many people can you really tell, with full enthusiasm, about the sexual ramifications of a World War I fighter-plane technique, juxtaposed with ancient Rome and unsung tales of American revolution history, all in the same conversation? Not many, I promise you!

And apparently I’ve been starved for historical novel conversations. Starved! I practically stalked Kate to her car after she treated me for lunch. So, if you’re ever lucky enough to be invited out to lunch by a historical novelists (or, if you’re super lucky, by Kate Quinn), then go.

Next time, Kate, the treat’s on me!

8 Responses to For the Love of Historical Fiction