Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mixing fiction with history

Hello YA fans and welcome to the blog. I'm excited to help promote YA fiction in Digital First format and hope it becomes "the next big thing".

Yes, there's a lot going on in paperback/hardback YA releases but for the "niche" stories--books that are too short/too long or too "different" for traditional corporate publishers to invest in, e-publishers will be the go-to places much as they were for the adult romance readers who craved the type of stories it took the "Big 6 publishers" a long time to embrace.

Enough blathering on business models, let's talk cool book characters ^_^

I've loved all things history and paranormal ever since I can remember. The most fun I have in writing is being able to combine the two the way I did in Falling Through Glass with Emmi & Kae (names presented in western order firstname, lastname)

Emiko (Emmi) Maeda

A descendant of the powerful Maeda family who once ruled over the Kaga-han, the most wealthy domain in Japan. Historically a family's wealth was measured in the amount of rice they could produce and sell. This was measured in units called koku. Kaga-han was known as the Million Koku domain. The Maeda estate in Edo (now Tokyo) was so vast that their mansion contained an indoor lake.

The Maeda of Kaga were allied with Japan's rulers from the days of Toshiie Maeda who was a general under warlord Nobunaga Oda.

The family would eventually align itself via marriage with both the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Imperial Court. It was Maeda money from the dowry of the bride of Prince Toshihito which funded the completion of Kyoto's Katsura Imperial Villa where Emmi stays with her ancestor Takehito. Emmi wears a gold dragonfly pendant in honor of the dragonfly which adorned the front of Toshiie Maeda's war helmet.

Kaemon (Kae) Nakagawa no miya

The son of Prince Asahiko, adopted brother to Emperor Komei as well as his closest advisor. The Emperor said that he and Asahiko were like "two different branches that had grown together". Not wanting his son to be merely a "useless longsleeves" court noble, Kae's father would have sent him to be educated in a domain like Aizu-han which boasted the Nisshinkan school for boys of Samurai rank. There he would have studied not only martial arts but also astronomy, Confucianism and medical science from both Japanese and Dutch sources.

While Emmi, her ancestor Takehito, and Kae are fictional Falling Through Glass does include many real historical figures such as Kae's father, Emperor Komei and his son Prince Sachi who would later become Mutsuhito, the Emperor Meiji.

A few members of the Kyoto patrol group The Shinsengumi also play a part in Falling Through Glass.

A major historical event was also used as a backdrop in the book. The Ikedaya Incident (also known as the Ikeda Affair).


Rebecca Royce said...

Kit--I have your book on my Kindle and I can't wait to read it. I think your brief discussion on the business model was right on. Great blog!!

Kimber An said...

Very cool, Kit. I've always enjoyed mixing history and fantasy/science fiction too. And I'm glad to see another Asian hero! We don't have enough of them, I think. Mine's Chinese American.

Kit Forbes said...

Thank you Rebecca. e-Publishing is great for the "niche" stories and the odd length ones. An earlier version of FTG was agented a few years back and shopped around with comments on "Smooth writing, nice plot, great characters but..."

Hopefuly the book will ind it's audience. ^_^

Thanks #2 to Kimber. Under my adult pen name I've done a lot of Asian heroes. The influence of those TV shows and music. ^_^ I'm hoping to do a sequel to this with Em's brother.

J.A. Campbell said...

Thanks for sharing! I bet the research involved in writing that story was a ton of fun.


Anonymous said...

Wishing you much success, Kit!!