The Historical Novel Society Reviews ISLAND OF EXILES

Well, I suppose if you're writing historical novels, it's a very good thing if the Historical Novel Society reviews your latest and praises it. I'm grateful. I like all my reviews. In a way I live for the reviews.

My connection to historical novelists is tenuous at best, though. To me the Akitada series are mysteries first of all. Even my current book (set in 18th century Germany) I look at as somewhat off-genre -- a novel about two young people, brother and sister, facing their individual loneliness (while an assassin draws them into his scheme -- I do want to sell books).

Amazon does some bundling of books and shows your ranking amongst similar books. Strangely enough, some of the Akitada novels are under historical mystery, some under historical novel, and some under political novel. Watching those lists has taught me a good deal about historical novels and their popularity. Historical mysteries are not anywhere near as popular as modern mysteries, for example. And popular historical novels range from utter shlock to some very good stuff. Mostly, though, the shlock prevails. If I had any sense, I'd write some present-day mysteries.

The trouble is, I'm fascinated by how people used to cope with life in the past.

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