Here’s a segment of the transcript of the BookCrawl Interview concerning my historical novel Chronicles of War.
BC) Our interview today is with Darin Michael Shaw, author of the best-selling eBook Big Buts of the Bible: A Revealing Look at Jesus Christ—but today we want to talk to him about his brand new book, Chronicles of War. Welcome! DMS) Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.
BC) Chronicles of War is not a follow-up to Big Buts. In fact the two titles are quite different, aren’t they? DMS) That is true. Big Buts is a non-fiction Christian Living title—sort of a ‘how to get more out of reading you Bible’ book. Chronicles is a work of historical fiction.
BC) Will you clarify for us, what is historical fiction? DMS) Historical fiction places a creative fictional story into a real historical setting or on real historical characters. A great example that comes to mind everyone would recognize is the movie Titanic. A very real historical setting, filled with real people—and then the make-believe characters and story of Jack and Rose is set in. Chronicles is a story set in the very real context of Iowa’s 26th Volunteer Infantry and the Battle of Arkansas Post in January of 1863.
BC) The lead character in the story, Job Trites—he is a real historical figure? DMS) Yes. Job Trites is actually an ancestor of mine. So it was a lot of fun getting to know him in researching and writing the story. For the most part, all of the characters in this story were real, although I did combine some people and create some backstory for them that couldn’t have otherwise been known.
BC) Do you feel tension about combining the historical elements with the creative? DMS) I’m a storyteller spinning a tale. I work as hard as I can to make sure the historical parts are not misrepresented—I’m not a revisionist. But at the same time, I’m not expecting that my story will become a textbook for history classes. It’s fiction.
BC) Tell us the story’s backstory. How did this book come to be? DMS) I’ve always been interested in my family history. There was a lot about Job that intrigued me—his arrival in America from Canada, for instance; the farm in Iowa that survived generations in the family; his military service and the unit he was assigned to—they really had an interesting story far beyond Job’s involvement.
I actually started to create a story about Job a few years ago to practice writing. I never anticipated doing anything with it. I wanted to work on the old writer’s adage ‘show don’t tell’ and practice dialogue. The more I did, the more I liked the story.
Things really started to happen when I decided to make segments of the story into little podcasts and post them on iTunes. I still have no idea how, but they took off. Thousands of downloads—and email asking, ‘So where’s the rest of the story?’ I figured I better do something.
BC) You mention the podcasts. Do you think those who’ve heard the podcast will enjoy the book? Or have they already heard it? DMS) The podcasts are only the first third of the story—so there’s a lot more in the book. That said, I am making new podcast episodes now, to carry that audience further. A new episode went up this week.
BC) I confess, I’ve listened to the podcasts and enjoyed them. Will reading the book be as engaging? DMS) I hope so. I mean—I was reading the book as we made the podcasts, so… I suppose the difference is that the podcast can go with you wherever you are, the book you’ll need to set aside time and place to read. But… that’s what people do with books.
BC) Why $.99 when most eBooks in the category go for much higher price? DMS) My desire is to get this story in people’s hands. I’m new to fiction. I’m known for Big Buts of the Bible—that won’t necessarily help the fiction world give me a chance. So I’m asking folks—take a chance, a small investment chance… $.99 and see what you think.
BC) For your Big Buts fans, is there Bible in this story? DMS) Yes, but in a very different manner. It’s not the point of the story. Job was a man of great faith. He and his family—much of America in the 1860s—questioned their faith in the context of the Civil War. Both sides claimed God was on their side. So in this story Job’s faith and his wrestling with it all comes through. So I think Bible and faith are in there in compelling and thought provoking ways, but they’re not the focal point.
BC) Chronicles of War due out …? DMS) Ready to order now at Amazon. com, Smashwords.com, iTunes, and just about all other eBook sellers.
BC) So what’s next from Darin Michael Shaw? DMS) The follow up to Big Buts of the Bible is nearing completion. I hope to have it out in 2014. And of course, there is more to the Chronicles story that’s crying to be told. I’ll just keep working on them and we’ll see.