Here is the beauty (and difficulty) in writing historical fiction. We are creating our characters within a time period that actually occurred and must stay true to the real events within that period. First of all it requires a bit more research than other genres. There is, however, plenty of room for interpretation and it is our responsibility as a writer to understand the difference between imagination and interpretation. For the sake of clarification I will use an event that I came across in the writing of my novel. Daniel Knight is my protagonist. He was born in 1950 and the novel centered on one very dynamic year of his learning about his destiny. The year spanned 1963 to 1964 and as I wove my way through the tale I realized that Kennedy got assassinated during that time. That was an event that any person living in America (and the entire world) felt a huge impact from. The author gets to decide how his characters viewed such a world-changing event. The political landscape of the times needs to be considered carefully. How are my characters impacted by such an event? How does it change their own lives? I must write about the growing distrust of government and the resulting unrest that led up to the counter-revolution of the sixties and seventies. 
            There is also the looming escalation into a very unpopular war in Vietnam. My characters will grow to be young men and women, many of who will be going to war. Daniel Knight was born to destiny as a battle warrior in the ancient ways of his Nez Perce ancestors. As a result, this young lad, growing into manhood, understands very well that he will be involved directly in the conflict. He must define his own reasons for why he must fight a war in a land not his own. 
            Book one is dedicated to the ancient traditions of honor, courage and loyalty embodied by the great Nez Perce people. In book two Daniel will be going to war when he comes of age (for him this is when he turns seventeen late in 1967). 
            There is a gap in time that I needed to cover so I am working on a novella that covers 1965 through 1967 and is very much a warrior’s tale in the Vietnam conflict. I need to write this very carefully because I have to hold true to the traditions of honor that much of the military embodies (from my perspective) while taking into account the political realities of the times. I promise to do my best. This novella (The Return of Coyote) and Book Two (Destiny’s Warrior) will be dedicated to the Vietnam veteran and I hope to do them proud. When I speak of soldiers I include the brave men and women on both sides of the conflict. It takes not only a lot of research but requires a great amount of empathy. Wish me well. Semper Fi!!!

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