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Posts Tagged ‘Kiki Hamilton’

Today we welcome the incredible Kiki Hamilton.

Kiki Hamilton is the author of the YA historical fantasy series THE FAERIE RING. Book 1, THE FAERIE RING and Book 2, THE TORN WING are both out now. Book 3, THE SEVEN YEAR KING releases in May of 2013.

 

Writing Historical Fantasy

by Kiki Hamilton

Thanks for inviting me over to STEAMED! Though I’m not a writer of steampunk fiction, I do write historical fantasy (THE FAERIE RING (2011) and THE TORN WING (2012) )which has some notable similarities with steampunk, such as life in the Victorian era.

One of the questions I’m frequently asked is how much research do I have to do for my books?  The short answer is A LOT! The longer answer is that I do spend quite a bit of time researching Victorian England, as well as British faerie lore, but luckily, I find it fascinating. The goal of any writer who sets their story in the Victorian era is to make the reader feel like they’ve stepped back through time (or taken a time machine…) and are walking the foggy, cobblestone streets of the past along with the characters.

How does one accomplish that?

In my case, it’s a combination of setting, character definition (which includes description, dialogue, backstory and behavior), weaving  fact with fiction, as well as using language that is suitable to the time period.   I’ll share some brief thoughts on each of those below:

Setting

Setting can be much more than the physical attributes of the scene. In some instances, setting can almost become a character within the story. Setting is an opportunity to set a mood. Here’s an excerpt from THE FAERIE RING that I like:

“The World’s End had a packed house tonight. The wooden plank floor of the pub was slick with spilled ale and the rich, yeasty smell of beer hung thick in the air. A row of sailors sat shoulder to shoulder along the wooden bar, hunched over their drinks as though fearful their glasses would be snatched away. Big mirrors lined the walls, etched with the names of ales or whiskeys, reflecting the bright lights in the room as well as the cloud of tobacco smoke. Barmaids and prostitutes, with their skirts partially tucked up in their waistbands, worked their way through the thick crowd milling between the full tables, smiling and joking with the customers. The tinkling notes of a piano were a backdrop to the cacophony of accents that clashed above it all, like an instrument with several strings out of tune.”

Hopefully, the reader can see the interior of the pub, along with the patrons, can smell the spilled ale, can hear the notes of the piano and feels immersed in this world.

Character Definition

This is a critical part of any story.  Characters need to be described in a way that is suitable to the era. Character definition is an opportunity to further immerse the reader into another era. Dress, language,  backstory and motivations each play a part in creating  a mental image for the reader.  Tying each of those to the time period reinforces the setting and mood you’ve established.

Weaving Fact with Fiction

For me, this is one of the most enjoyable parts of writing THE FAERIE RING series – finding ways to weave actual history with the fantasy story I’m telling.  I like to think of the books as ‘what if…’ stories which is similar to the alternate timelines that many steampunk novels employ.

Anachronistic Terms

Using language that is suitable to the timeframe is an important piece in creating the world of your novel.  Using language or terms that are too modern for a Victorian setting (anachronistic) is one of the fastest ways to pull your reader out of the ‘dream’ and remind them that they’re reading and not living your story.

So, that’s a quick look at some of the considerations I put into writing historical fantasy.  Hope you found it interesting and helpful! Any others we should add to the list?

~Kiki Hamilton

http://www.kikihamilton.com

http://www.thefaeriering.com

 

 

 

 

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Today we welcome author Kiki Hamiltom.

Kiki Hamilton is the author of the YA historical fantasy series: THE FAERIE RING, and a YA contemporary story entitled THE LAST DANCE.  Visit her at http://www.kikihamilton.com

Just the Facts, M’am….Blending Historical Fiction and Fantasy

by Kiki Hamilton

When writing my YA historical fantasy, THE FAERIE RING, my goal was to try to immerse the reader in Victorian London, make it as real as possible, but then add a slightly fantastical twist. To that end, I worked hard to make all of the historical facts accurate and true to London 1871.

My research was multi-pronged as I had to research both Victorian London and the history of faeries in the British Isles. Luckily, I found both to be fascinating topics! While I wrote the first draft of The Faerie Ring in a fairly short amount of time, I spent quite a bit of time in revision enriching the historical details and checking for accuracy.

I’d never been to London when I started writing, and actually didn’t know much about the City.  It was really quite fortuitous that I had set my main character living in Charing Cross railway station, which is the true heart of London and the point from which all distances are measured to this day.

The Faerie Ring is set in 1871 because that’s the year one of my characters, Prince Leopold, (Queen Victoria’s youngest son, was 18.) My research was conducted through a variety of sources – several books were a wonderful resource: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool (Simon & Schuster 1993) and Victorian London, The Tale of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard (St. Martin’s Griffin 2005). Additionally, I used online resources including Google Earth.

After I’d sold the book, but before I’d worked on any editorial revisions, I had the opportunity to visit London for the first time. It was a wonderful experience and so helpful in writing this book. As everyone knows, London is an ancient city with so much history oozing out of the buildings and sidewalks, it can’t help but to inspire a writer! I got to walk in my main character’s footsteps from Charing Cross to St. James Park to Buckingham Palace and more.  The trip was surreal and fantastic (!!!) and very beneficial in filling in some of the more oblique, but very important concrete details.

For faeries, I did a ton of research into the wide and varied history within the British Isles through a combination of online research and books. Additionally, part of the world is completely imagined – one that I’ve envisioned and created – based on folklore and the lives of my characters.

Of course, some of the challenges in writing historical fantasy is that the author is faced with writing about an era that they can never actually visit and in the case of THE FAERIE RING, a race (faeries) that are imagined.  But for a fantasy writer – that’s the fun part!

~Kiki Hamilton

http://www.thefaeriering.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First off, we have some winners to announce.

The winner of  The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer is:

Teawench

The winner of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells is:

Rebecca RyalsRussell


Congratulations! Email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.

Now, on to Book Monday.


The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

(ARC Provided by Tor)

I have a huge soft spot for young adult faerie books, since I write about faeries.  I have an even larger soft spot for Victorian faerie stories.

This book didn’t disappoint me one bit.

Hamilton skillfully combines faerie lore with Victorian London weaving together an enchanting tale of magic, mystery, and mayhem.

Tiki is a teen-pickpocket living with her “family” of orphan thieves, including little Clara, who’s often sick.    When Tiki steals a ring from the palace she thinks first of Clara and how the ring could buy the medicine they need for the littlest and frailest member of their band.  Only the ring Tiki stole binds the treaty between the royal family and the fey.  Away from the safety of the palace, the ring–and Tiki–become a target.  If the ring is destroyed then the treaty is broken and the fey can do as they will, probably at the cost of mortal London.  In order to save the treaty–and humanity, she must figure out who to trust, which includes the handsome rascal Riecker and the young Prince Leopold.

This fast-paced action-packed story is full of twists and turns that had me glued to my chair.  I fell in love with Tiki from the very beginning.   She’s plucky, and resilient, and even though life hasn’t dealt her the best hand, she’s not bitter, rather, she rolls with the punches and does what she needs to do to survive–and protect her family.  I love how loyal she and the other orphans in their little band really take care of each other — even little Clara.

Hamilton’s version of Victorian London comes alive–complete with the grit, despair, and poverty all-too-common in that era.  However, thanks to Tiki and her resistance, even when the story gets dark, there’s always a glimmer of hope.  It’s also quite fun to journey through London with Tiki–from the streets of London to the palace and thanks to the brilliant descriptions you feel like you’re *right there*.

And Riecker.

Oh yes, there’s Riecker.

Again, I loved the way Hamilton seamlessly melded faerie lore–and even Gaelic–into her Victorian world.  Like in faerie lore, these faeries aren’t always nice, especially those of the dark court.  There’s something for everyone in this story–a little historical fiction, a little romance, a really good story, faeries, action, and mystery.  I highly recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of either faeries or Victorian stories.

Since I love this story so much and am going to buy a final copy, I’m going to give away my ARC.  All you have to do is leave me a comment and tell me what sort of faerie (dark or bright) is your favorite.  Contest open internationally, ends October 9th, 2011, at 11:59 PM PST.

Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens.  Her debut novel, Innocent Darkness, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux. Visit her personal blog for more adventures.

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