A nice review from the Historical Novel Society:
“This read immerses the reader in the 18th– and 19th-century world of La Serenissima, the beautiful Venice. Burns does an excellent job highlighting the different tones of each century in her writing; Gozzi’s memoirs recount the 18th-century portion of the tale, while Violet narrates the 19th-century portions. The contrasting personalities of Sargent and Paget, as well as their deep friendship, are convincingly portrayed, and Burns obviously knows her characters well. Hints of the paranormal waft elusively through the tale, and although most of the mysteries are satisfactorily resolved, other possibilities may linger in the reader’s mind, as tantalizing as the scent of oranges.” – Historical Novel Society Journal, Review August 2019
Historical fiction thrills me. It’s where I live, especially when writing it. Many authors will tell you that once you’re really into writing a book, the characters take over–you just write down what they’re telling you. This happens a lot, especially with characters I write about more than once, like John Singer Sargent and Violet Paget. Their lives and thoughts and challenges are so interesting I can’t resist writing their stories!
When I write Biblical fiction, there’s an added layer of Time and Eternity talking to each other–the characters on earth, living their lives, and their interaction with G-d, angels, other spiritual beings. There are windows into Eternity that open up from this time-bound earth we live on, and the glimpses of the eternal verities, seen sometimes in a flash of light in the dark of night, are awe-inspiring.
And finally, there’s Literary fiction. I feel the most “writerly” when I’m creating a story from pure air, people who come from somewhere deep inside me, touched and formed by all the people I’ve met and loved and despised and wondered about throughout my life. Their stories grow organically–I never know how a novel I’m writing is going to end up until I get to the last page.