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A Guise of the Sea Hype Week: Historical Fiction & World Building

Good morning readers and welcome to HYPE WEEK for our nautically influenced historical summer release, A Guise of the Sea from Jenna Mandarino. Jenna is here to take over the blog for the next two weeks starting with today's post on world building in Historical Fiction.

A Guise of the Sea Hype Week: Historical Fiction & World Building

Historical fiction writing was not my first love. I, in fact, first published in the fantasy and paranormal genres. I would scarcely read a non-fantasy novel. Until I fell in love with historical fiction.

For a long time I likened historical fiction to literary, self-inflated books or dry non-fiction. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Once I delved into the world of Historical Fiction, I realized it is often more like fantasy than not. And the common theme: immersive world building.

World building for historical fiction is often like fantasy world building, except there are more rules. In fantasy, you can create religions, laws, government, economies, creatures, people, etc. And unless you are writing alternative history, you can’t do that with Historical Fiction. But the key to both is immersion.

If you are reading a space odyssey or dragon filled epic fantasy, you want to feel like you are on a space ship and see and feel and smell and hear all the things you would on a space ship. You want to know what a dragon smells like, how their scales might feel under your fingertips, what the breeze from the flap of their wings feels like on your face. With historical it is much the same. I want my readers to feel like they’re in 1756.

I chose 1756 because the 1700’s is an intriguing century. We have the French and American revolution, the industrial revolution, the invention of the steam engine, Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon, Voltaire, Mozart, and a central part (although passed), the Battle of Culloden. There was so much change: social change, governmental change, societal and philosophical change.

My first goal of chapter one, beyond capturing the reader’s attention, was to make the reader feel as though they are there with my protagonist Emme, living her life in 1756. I want them to think of things they hadn’t considered, like the inconvenience of chairs while wearing a pannier, or how a droplet of ink off a quill might spread on a piece of parchment. The additional layer of A Guise of the Sea is that for the majority of the book, they’re well, at sea on a ship.

I hope readers will enjoy the setting of A Guise of the Sea as much as I enjoyed writing it!!

An Unexpected Bookshop is featuring A Guise of the Sea in one of their delectable book boxes. Keep your eyes peeled as boxes go on sale August 11th!

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