A Song for Bellafortuna is a Historical Fiction novel. I am often asked why I write for
that genre. My easy answer is that I always loved history and was a history major in
college at Loyola in New Orleans. I remember vividly one of my professors who brought
history to life for us students. No longer were we just reading facts on a page, but instead
history was brought to life.
When he taught about the Civil War, muskets, bugles and swords were brought in to class
as our professor would go into character and we were back in 1861. Or when we studied
about the D-Day landings, and he gave a class along the levee of Lake Pontchartrain
where the Higgins boats (which were built in New Orleans) were used in 1944 to practice
for the landings. History came alive.
So what is historical fiction? The academic definition is historical fiction is a literary
genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past.
A great historical fiction novel should tell a story, but, and here is the key, place the
reader in a time and place from a long time ago.
Sir Walter Scott’s novel Waverly is often recognized as the first historical fiction novel.
After Waverly, many authors begin writing historical fiction works.
My contribution to this genre, A Song for Bellafortuna, takes place around the year 1900
in Sicily. As one reviewer put it, “The author paints a picture of the era before motorcars,
when agriculture provided the most employment. One gets the feeling of the slower pace
of life. Journeys take longer. Distances feel greater.
What I love about this genre is historical fiction can also have elements of romance,
mystery, coming of age, or a thriller. It really cuts across all genres and incorporates all
these genres together, and at that same time, teaching us something about the period.
As for me, my two novels are regarded as Italian Historical Fiction. Hopefully, for a few
hours while reading, you will be transported to Italy, and see and feel the sights and
sounds of that culture and time.
Author of A Song for Bellafortuna and Tempesta’s Dream