Monday, January 1, 2007


My 2007 resolution is to not let obstacles stand in my way (so long as I'm certain I'm following my calling.) Therefore, I've set up this temporary blog so that we can continue our great discussions on Favorite PASTimes. Thanks for hanging in there with us. Please help us spread the word so others can find us.


We have had some ups and downs with the operation of the blog and we’ve been away on Christmas vacation. But it’s a new year, and we’re looking forward to some great interviews and discussions on historical fiction in 2007. We also have a new host. Welcome, Kaye! And we will have a new guest host at the end of the month, Jenny Cary.

This week, as promised, I will be bringing you a Q&A with two editors and two literary agents. Let’s get right to that, okay?

Welcome to our guests!
Terry Burns: Terry is a native Texan Living in Amarillo, Texas. For more than twenty-five years he represented businesses, making deals and doing promotion. As a writer he sold much of his work himself and helped some of his friends publish before going with Hartline Literary. He has six novels in print, work in a dozen short story collections, four non-fiction books and numerous articles and short stories.

Judy Geary: Judith Geary joined Ingalls Publishing Group founders Bob and Barbara Ingalls in forming the company in 2001. She is senior editor of the High Country Publishers imprint, which publishes primarily mystery and historical fiction. Her background is a MA in Education from George Peabody College and continued graduate work in writing, editing and literary criticism as well as a twenty year involvement in a regional writers' group and teaching at the university level. In her other life, Geary teaches at Appalachian State University.
GETORIX: The Eagle and The Bull is her first published novel.

Chip MacGregor: Chip MacGregor has been in publishing for two decades, starting as a copyeditor on a small magazine in Portland, Oregon. He has authored or co-authored dozens of books, edited even more, served as a Senior Editor at two CBA houses, and as the Associate Publisher for Time Warner. He is perhaps best known for his years as a literary agent – a job he now does from his own company, MacGregor Literary.

Jan Stob: Jan is an acquisitions editor of general fiction at Tyndale House Publishers. She could have told us all about her illustrious life, but I guess she’s modest because she didn’t give me anything to share. I can tell you that she’s a nice lady. I met her in person last summer at the Write to Publish Conference.

Q: The popularity in genres seems to go in cycles, with perhaps the exception of romance, which always seems to sell well. Where in this cycle do you see the historical fiction genre right now? In the near future?

JS: I think historical fiction is a hard sell right now, unless you are an established/known author or you have a story with an incredible hook.

TB: Those who don't learn from the past are destined to make the same mistakes in the future. We know that, and people have always been fascinated with the past. It does cycle, granted, but there's always a place for a good story, well told.

CM: Historical fiction goes through a cycle with publishers: produce some, watch it grow, produce more, produce too much, cut back, start selling again, produce some, watch it grow, etc. Right now one could argue that there are fewer historicals being sold than there used to be, but I agree with you -- that’s simply a cycle. People love reading about other eras, so while we may be trending down a bit right now, it will trend back up.

JG: Wonderful question. I wish I knew the answer.

Cindy: I may have started off with a trick question, huh? I suppose it is hard to predict the future. Like my husband tells me when I ask him questions like this: Hold on. Let me go get my crystal ball! But I like Chip and Terry’s optimism here! (Keep in mind, they are the agents!)

Q: Is there a certain sub genre of historical (fantasy, romance, thriller, mystery…) that you thinking is selling best now?

JS: I think it’s more about the hook than the sub-genre. What makes your story not only unique but marketable. What is it about your historical romance set during the Civil War that is unique from other historical romances with similar settings? What is it about your story that sets it apart from the other historical novels that are available and why would readers need to read it?

JG: Historical mysteries seem to be selling best right now.

TB: Watching the charts, mysteries seem to be selling better than anything right now regardless of the genre.

CM: A sub-genre that seems to be trending up is the mystery/thriller novel set in a historical period. Historical romance continues to sell (thanks to my forebears – what is it about 18th Century Scots that makes everyone love us?).

Q: Since trends do seem to come and go, would you advise a writer of historical fiction to write in other genres as well?

Come back tomorrow for the answer!

1 comment:

Lori Benton said...

LOL, to Chip MacGregor's comment about 18th C Scots.

Guilty as charged.

Although, the characters in my historical WIP are mainly 18th C Scotland-born Americans.

Perhaps it can all be blamed on Diana Gabaldon? *s*