Over the past two years, I have spent considerable time in the company of the
inspiring historical women at the heart of my two novels THE THE OTHER EINSTEIN and CARNEGIE'S MAID, and
although the women hail from different times and different places, they have
taught me countless shared lessons. Sometimes their instruction focuses upon the
writing process — the particular conundrums inherent in writing historical
fiction — and sometimes their tutelage concerns life itself. Whittling that
voluminous list of lessons down to five is a daunting task, but I hope their
One of the delights and challenges in writing historical fiction is the research
material, which can be simultaneously overwhelming and sparse. This might seem
contradictory, but if you've ever gone down a historical rabbit role in search
of a specific answer, only to emerge with an abundance of information about a
seemingly fruitful, but ultimately tangential topic and nothing that answers
your original question, then you know what I mean. One of my favorite authors —
Kate Atkinson — has some excellent advice on this problem, which I've adopted
with modifications in my own writing process. I begin by immersing myself deeply
in the historical time period at hand — the politics, the social issues and
strata, the food, the key events, the clothes, the science, the leaders, the
religion, you name it — and then I try to forget the minutiae, allowing my
characters to take the lead on the story. Now, I do keep a timeline with all the
historical details I've gathered to use as reference, but I try to keep with the
pace of the story and the characters' motivations and not mired in the endless
The tales of historical women almost always contain timely issues, and in fact,
have the capacity to throw those issues into bold relief. Oddly enough, readers
sometimes see systemic problems — and the impact of those problems on their own
lives — more clearly in a story set in a time period that isn't their own.
In writing about a woman that comes from a different era, it is critical to be
mindful of the period's sensibilities. The character must be examined through
the lens of her own time, or her actions, behavior, and choices might be
misunderstood or mischaracterized.
Historical events that seem like backdrop for the stories I'm writing often have
far-reaching implications for my characters, even if those characters aren't
entirely cognizant of the impact. As the writer, I must be intimately familiar
with those events and understand their relationship o my characters.
Echoes of history reverberate all around us, oftentimes in ways we do not
realize, and we operate on a continuum in which past events and decisions
interact with the present. We only need to look.
From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of
woman could have inspired an American dynasty.
Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She's not the experienced Irish
maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh's grandest households. She's a
poor farmer's daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the
other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might
get Clara some money to send back home.
If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady's maid in the
household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn't have, answering to an
icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara
does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for,
coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on
her. But Clara can't let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something
more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future -- and her
With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie's Maid tells the story of one
brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie's transformation from
ruthless industrialist into the world's first true philanthropist..
Historical [Sourcebooks, On Sale: January 16,
2018, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492646617 / ]
One of PopSugar's "25 Books You're Going to Curl Up with this Fall."
In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us
a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's
enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in
her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly
debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal
Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most
twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich
university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But
Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than
marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and
the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the
heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.
Historical [Sourcebooks Landmark, On Sale:
August 29, 2017, Trade Size / e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9781492647584 / eISBN:
Married The Wrong Man and history forgot her contribution
Once a New York City lawyer, Marie Benedict had long dreamed about a
fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of the past as an archaeologist
or historian -- before she tried her hand at writing. While drafting her first
book, she realized that she could excavate the possible truths lurking in
history through fiction, and has done so in THE OTHER EINSTEIN, the story of
Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein's first wife and a physicist herself. Writing as
Heather Terrell, Marie also authored The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of
Kildare. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of
Law, and lives in Pittsburgh with her family.
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