Wow. Time flies, doesn't it? This marks my twelfth Ask An Author 3.0 article, and I'm so glad I messaged Renee a year ago. This has been an absolute blast!
But enough of that. It's the first Wednesday of the month, and we have another set of questions for one our gifted authors! @Kong Wen Hui brings fantastic answers for this week's AAA. Let's get into it!
Status: In Progress / Sub-genres: Historical Romance, Alternate History, Dragon Fantasy, Mythic Fantasy / Rating: Mature
Wanted criminal Hong Shen finally meets his end after being stabbed in the back by a comrade. As he makes his final resting place under a dead plum tree, he submits to death.
Instead, he receives two choices: die, or be given a second chance.
To take the second chance means he must complete a trial in the past in order to return to the present. But what he doesn't know is that the trial isn't only difficult for him, but even more difficult for the person he must be to fulfill it.
The Spirit of the Plum Blossom Tree is a unique take on second chances. How did you come up with the idea to put Hong Shen in the past?
Putting Hong Shen in the past was not actually my original intention. At first, I was going to have the whole story take place in Ancient China, but I had a wonderful idea when I was drinking my morning coffee a couple years ago. There is a concept commonly taught in America that we must learn from history if we do not wish to repeat it. What better way to have a modern criminal learn from his previous ways then to experience the hardships of a historical prince?
Of course, I was also heavily influenced by MXTX's novels, and I simply love the ancient cultures in general. ( ´∀｀)
You’ve built a vibrant and believable world set in ancient China. Is it all part of the fictional setting, or is there any ‘true’ history included?
The world of the Guan Dynasty in my story is a fictional setting. However, there will be true history incorporated into the story.
I think of the Guan Dynasty as a mirror time period that existed at the same time as the historical Song Dynasty. They were two different Empires, one fictional and the other true, but some accurate events that occurred in the Song Dynasty will affect or influence the Guan Dynasty in different ways.
They may not all happen in The Spirit of the Plum Blossom Tree, though, as I plan to have multiple stories set in my fictional dynasty in the future.
What advice do you have for authors looking to write stories in the historical fiction genre?
For those who are interested in writing stories of the historical fiction genre, I will warn you now - it is difficult! If you wish to write something historically accurate, a lot of research is recommended. Specific people are the hardest, for if you want to portray them correctly you have to know almost everything about them to the point you could live them. Same with time periods and scenery; you have to imagine you live in your own story. What would you see? What would you wear? What were the cultural trends of the time? What is your purpose?
The purpose is probably the most important aspect of historical fiction. After all, if your characters have no purpose and meaning in the past, why are they there?
As difficult as writing historical fiction is, it is also incredibly fun, and I believe it gives you a better understanding of certain times in history than most other people, besides maybe historians. If you have a passion for it, then you will continue to grow and improve, and nothing is better to read and enjoy than a story filled with an author's love! (｡•̀ᴗ-)✧
• • • • •
I loved the last Q&A! Historical fiction is a genre I would consider a great challenge. I'm not sure I have the skill to produce a piece, but I'll check back after another twelve AAAs. As always, we're looking for more questions! If there's a story that has captured your attention and you want to learn more about it from the author's perspective, shoot me a PM with three questions.