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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

'Historic' is a state of mind


“I've never been very attached to genre labels and never set out intentionally to write historic fiction. Besides, what you consider historic depends on how far back your memory extends.” – Charles Frazier

Born on this date in 1950, Frazier none-the-less has been one of the historic fiction genre’s top writers, including winning the National Book Award for his masterpiece Cold Mountain – a Civil War tale of a wounded Confederate deserter.  The book, adapted for the big screen, also won a handful of Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Renee Zellwinger.

“While writing Cold Mountain, I held maps of two geographies, two worlds, in my mind as I wrote. One was an early map of North Carolina. Overlaying it, though, was an imagined map
 of the landscape Jack travels in the southern 
Appalachian folktales. He's much the same Jack 
who climbs the beanstalk, vulnerable and clever 
... and opportunistic,” Frazier said.

Frazier’s writing is rich in the culture and sensibilities of the North Carolina mountains where he sets most of his work based on local history and stories.  He also likes to include music from the area and the era in which he writes – another feature that sets it apart. 
  
“It always helps me connect with characters, to think about what music they respond to,” Frazier said.  “I love music.  If I had to give up reading or give up listening to music, I suspect I'd stick with the music.”  Thankfully, for those of us who enjoy history, historical fiction and great writing, he doesn’t have to choose.


 
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