Meeting Brenda Rickman Vantrease

currently playing on my iPod: Tighten Up by The Black Keys

On Saturday morning, I was lucky enough to meet with the author of THE HERETIC’S WIFE, Brenda Rickman Vantrease. During a small group talk, I was relieved to hear that she too hates to cut scenes that include history just for history’s sake. We hist fic writers just love history, but we must remember that not all of our readers are dying to hear every little tidbit concerning some obscure holiday from ages past. To really help readers get into the moment and experience moments in other times/cultures, writers should focus on one thing there and make that one thing very specific. The feeling of veracity lies in the specificity. I recalled a scene from Mrs. Vantrease’s latest novel in which a hostess has difficulty deciding whether or not to serve a bowl of custard, sprinkled with sugar. The clergyman’s visit is important enough to warrant presentation of such a costly treat, but the hostess worries its richness could offend the churchman. Scenes like this aid readers in understanding the culture of the time without slowing the pace of the story. I hope to speak with Mrs. Vantrease again in the future. She was kind and approachable. Professional and intriguing. Thanks to The Council of the Written Word’s writing critique group coordinator, Sally Lee, for making this meeting possible.

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