Review of Alt Hist Issue 2 at Fantasy Book Review

Alt Hist Issue 2 just received a very good write-up at the website Fantasy Book Review. Alt Hist is described as containing “engaging and well-written short stories with a historical setting that portray actual events or events that could have happened”.

I particularly liked the last paragraph of the review:

In music there is nothing better than finding and liking a band that is as-of-yet pretty much unheard off, only for them to go on and become a world-renowned name. I believe that this is why readers may also enjoy Alt Hist – the authors mentioned above will likely be new to 99% of readers but we may be catching them right at the beginning of their career and find that we can embark on a great journey with them.

You can read the whole review of Alt Hist Issue 2 at Fantasy Book Review.

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Interview with N. K. Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Alt Hist’s next author interview is with N. K. Pulley, who wrote ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ for Issue 2.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I work for Cambridge University Press in the maths and astronomy departments, where I write a lot of blurbs and steal cake from the production editors. In September, I’ll be starting a creative writing MA at the University of East Anglia. I hope, at some point after that, to go to Japan.

How did you get the idea for the story?

Keita Mori coelesced one evening while I was watching Dr Who. I built everything else around him; I read through some old editions of the London Illustrated News to see what was happening in the 1880s and found that there had been an Irish bombing campaign, and that there had been a Japanese presence in Knightsbridge in the form of a show village. One of the lovelier things about historical fiction is that it practially writes itself.

I understand that your story is part of a series. What does the future hold for the characters of Watchmaker of Filigree Street?

Gilbert and Sullivan, a clockwork octopus and some suffragists, although possibly not all together.

Do you write exclusively historical fiction or do you stray into other genres? If so what do you think the main challenges are of writing historical fiction compared to other genres?

I write fantasy too. In some ways it is much easier than historical fiction, because you can make up your own timeline and your own rules; in others, historical fiction is a gift to plotting because often the things that actually happened, or could have happened if somebody hadn’t had toothache, are much more extraordinary than something completely imaginary. I think the main difficulty is finding the line between fiction and biography. It doesn’t do to get too bogged down in whether the Earl of Salisbury grew petunias or not, but at the same time, there needs to be enough research involved to avoid any howling errors.

Don’t forget to check out N. K. Pulley’s story ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ in the second issue of Alt Hist.

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Interview with AshleyRose Sullivan, author of ‘In Cappadocia’

AshleyRose Sullivan, author of ‘In Cappadocia’ from Issue 2 of Alt Hist is next up for an interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Los Angeles now but I grew up in the mountains and foothills of Appalachia. I have a degree in Anthropology with minors in English and Theater and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. Aside from writing, I founded and run a Shakespeare Institute for children in rural Kentucky.

What attracts you to historical fiction?

I’ve always been a huge history fan but when it comes to fiction, I prefer alternate history. I like looking at the tapestry of our past, getting really close to it, and asking, “What would happen if I were to pull at this single thread? What sort of effect might that have on the larger piece?” And, of course for me, thinking about it isn’t enough. I have to come as close as I can to actually pulling the thread and running with it. Writing alternate history is a way for me to do that.

Tell us a bit more about the background to the story ‘In Cappadocia’.

I’d heard about the Cappadocian civilization before but had never seen it until I caught a special about it on The History Channel. Once I got a look at the amazing caverns that make up the underground cities and the alien landscape above them, I was transfixed. I thought about how terrifying and captivating a place like that would be to an invader from antiquity and wanted to get close to a person like that – to show how scary the unknown can be.

One of your stories has been turned into a musical. How did that come about and what did you think of the results?

At Spalding, I got to work with a number of really talented writers. One of the playwrights, Tommy Trull, liked my work and asked if I had any stories that might work as a musical and I sent him “Silent Pictures” which is about an immigrant actor at the end of the silent film era who’s in danger of losing his job because of his accent. The play premiered at the Greensboro Fringe Festival in North Carolina. Tommy did an amazing job converting the story to a musical, especially considering the fact that the main character didn’t have a single line of dialogue in the original piece. It’s a fresh, multimedia production and I love what he’s doing with it.

What are you currently working on?

I recently finished an alternate history young adult novel which I’m beginning to shop around and I just started research on a new novel that mixes contemporary paranormal elements with events and people from history.

Don’t forget to check out AshleyRose’s story ‘In Cappadocia’ in the second issue of Alt Hist.

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