This was a really hard letter to decide on. In the end I have gone with Ken Follet because he is the only historical fiction writer that fits in this A-Z, and historical fiction has been a huge influence on me; both in my personal growth and in my growth as a writer.
Ken Follet is a Welsh author who has written 32 books, in the historical fiction and thriller genres, at the time of this post. You may recognise his name from the very famous Pillars of the Earth novel which was adapted for television by the BBC in 2010.
Historical fiction is one of those genres that can be quite difficult to read. There is often a lot of fact and sometimes it can read like a history text book: very dry and flat. However, good historical fiction that finds the balance of history and story can be incredibly engaging. Ken Follet achieves this in the few of his books that I have read.
Before embarking on the narrative itself I read his writer’s blurb at the beginning. It isn’t something I often do, I must admit, but within those pages he described the journey he embarked upon as a writer. Writer’s are those people who are compelled to write, and he describes how he had the idea for Pillars of the Earth early on in his career but struggled for years with the plotting and structure of the piece. It was a mammoth project that he was not ready to complete at the begining of his career, but he persevered, putting it down and coming back to it every so often, until it was finally finished it.
He had inspiration, he had a knowing that there was a story there somewhere, and he knew he had to write it. That is how I often feel about my own writing projects. Reading about his journey helped me see how its not failing to pick up and put down different writing projects before completing them. I have since learned to have faith in myself and to ‘just keep writing’ is the most important thing I can do to achieve success.
List of Works
The Big Needle The Big Black The Big Hit
The Shakeout The Bear Raid The Pillars of the Earth
World Without End Fall of Giants Winter of the World
Edge of Eternity Amok:King of Legend The Modigliani Scandal
The Mystery Hideout The Power Twins Paper Money
Capricorn One Eye of the Needle The Man from St. Petersburg
Triple The Key to Rebecca On wings of Eagles
Lie Down With Lions Night over Water A Dangerous Fortune
The Third Twin The Hammer of Eden A Place Called Freedom
Code to Zero Jackdaws Hornet Flight
Whiteout The Heist of the Century (Non-fiction)
The Pillars of the Earth is an epic tale about the building of a cathedral and as such it spans nearly fifty years. It begins in 1123 with tragic love story, and a curse. There is poverty, pride, arrogance, honour and corruption. There is love, tragedy, hope and faith. It is both a tale of religious power and sinful couplings. It has it all. Ken follet did his research on the era and it shows in his attention to details, in what the characters wear, how they behave, and the opportunities they take or waste.
A Place Called Freedom is about a boy, Mack McAsh who refuses to a slave in a mining community in Scotland. First he attempts to change the bye laws to preserve his freedom, however, he is cited a trouble maker for his efforts. Mack is forced to run away to London to save himself with the unlikely help of Lizzie the attractive, arrogant fiance to the Landowner’s son. Their lives become entwined and his spirit of freedom leads to the poor uprising of 1768. Sentenced to death he is spared the noose and transported as a slave to America where once again he must struggle for freedom in the dangerous world of the New Frontier.