Tracy Barrett

Learning from the Pros

by tracybarrett August 20, 2013
Learning from the Pros

by Tracy Barrett (W&M contributor) A few weeks ago I attended the 42nd annual Summer Conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The keynote speakers were stars—writers, illustrators, editors, agents, publicists—and the breakout sessions covered every aspect of the industry from craft to publicity to how to negotiate a contract, and more. […]

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Reading Women, and Reading Women

by tracybarrett May 20, 2013
Reading Women, and Reading Women

by Tracy Barrett (W&M contributor) That is, reading women (the act of reading works written by women) and reading women (women who read). When I received a grant from the NEH to study texts about women written by women in the Middle Ages, many of my friends were puzzled that this was possible. “Medieval women […]

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Book News

by tracybarrett March 20, 2013
Book News

by Tracy Barrett (W&M Contributor) I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve joined HarlequinTeen with a deal for two books, the first slated for release in July, 2014, and the second a year or so later. Random facts I’ve learned about HarlequinTeen: they don’t publish only romance they’re a very new imprint of Harlequin Harlequin is […]

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Getting My Books Into Readers’ Hands

by tracybarrett February 20, 2013
Getting My Books Into Readers' Hands

by Tracy Barrett (W&M Contributor) Historical fiction has devoted—sometimes rabid—fans. In the case of historical fiction for young readers, that fan base is still devoted, but it tends to be pretty small. Most kids are interested in reading about their contemporaries—whether human or zombie, or whatever the beast du jour is—rather than about the past, […]

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Greek Myths You Never Heard Of

by tracybarrett January 20, 2013
Greek Myths You Never Heard Of

by Tracy Barrett (W&M Contributor) Nonfiction was my first love in writing for younger readers. I had published seven nonfiction books—mostly American history and biography—before my first novel came out, and since then I’ve published three more. A vase in the Getty Villa in Malibu was the inspiration for my current project. It shows a […]

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12 Days of Books: Twelve

by tracybarrett December 10, 2012
12 Days of Books: Twelve

by Tracy Barrett (W&M contributor) Twelve days of Christmas. Twelve months in a year. Twelve inches in a foot. Twelve hours on a clock and 12 x 2 hours in a day. Twelve apostles. Twelve gates to the city. Twelve animals in the Chinese horoscope. Twelve Sanskrit names of God. Twelve disciples of Mohammed and […]

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Ariadne, Theseus, and the reader—and a giveaway!

by tracybarrett November 20, 2012
Ariadne, Theseus, and the reader—and a giveaway!

by Tracy Barrett Recently an interviewer asked me why young readers would be interested in historical fiction, specifically, how a teenage girl today could relate to Ariadne, the priestess of the moon-goddess (and future goddess herself) in Dark of the Moon. The story is set in the Bronze Age, after all—how much can a modern […]

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Two Medieval Women Physicians

by tracybarrett October 20, 2012
Two Medieval Women Physicians

by Tracy Barrett Most people think of medieval women healers—if they think of them at all—as herb-women, maybe midwives, basically uneducated even by the standards of their time. But as I reported earlier, there’s evidence that a few women in the Middle Ages managed to get the same kind of training as their male counterparts. […]

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Dialog in Historical Fiction

by tracybarrett September 20, 2012
Dialog in Historical Fiction

Last month, I presented a session on “The Ten Commandments of Writing Historical Fiction” at the Summer Conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (Many thanks to the readers of this blog who gave me suggestions for a tenth commandment—“nine commandments” doesn’t have the right ring to it!) The session was very […]

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Medieval Women as Physicians

by tracybarrett August 20, 2012
Medieval Women as Physicians

by Tracy Barrett Since at least Classical times,[i] European women have generally been in charge of their family’s health.  In Medieval romances and lais, women are often portrayed as healers, not only in their homes but also in the community.  Nursing the sick fell within the purview of the charitable work that nuns (and monks) […]

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I Need Your Help—Again!

by tracybarrett July 20, 2012
I Need Your Help—Again!

Last month I asked readers of this blog what irritated them when reading historical fiction, to help me prepare for a talk on “The Ten Commandments of Writing Historical Fiction.” I got some great responses, especially Vrmarvin’s dislike of “the over abundance of language describing costuming. Really, does it matter what color they were wearing? […]

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I Need Your Help—And a Giveaway!

by tracybarrett June 20, 2012
I Need Your Help—And a Giveaway!

In August I’m giving a talk at the SCBWI Summer Conference entitled “The Ten Commandments of [Writing] Historical Fiction [forYoung Readers].” Here’s a sample: Thou shalt not repeat falsehoods. Don’t say that Columbus took his voyage west to prove that the world was round; don’t say that spices were used in the Middle Ages to […]

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Cool Vikings

by tracybarrett May 20, 2012
Cool Vikings

Some cool facts about Vikings: Investigation of mitochondrial DNA shows that about 70% of the women in modern Iceland are descended from Irish women, but few Icelandic men are descended from Irish men. The most likely explanation for this is that when the Vikings pillaged Ireland, they killed the men and took the women home […]

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The peril of torphuts

by tracybarrett March 20, 2012
The peril of torphuts

by Tracy Barrett, W&M contributor Ah, the joys of research. You find exactly the detail you need to round out a character’s personality, or an artifact that will enable your plot to develop in the way that you want. Or you stumble upon something that you hadn’t been looking for, but which takes you in […]

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Medieval Metafiction

by tracybarrett February 20, 2012
Medieval Metafiction

by Tracy Barrett, W&M contributor In 1924, the linguist Luigi Schiapparelli discovered some lines in the margin of a religious text, scribbled in a Veronese hand in the late eighth or early ninth century, probably to test the scribe’s newly cut pen. They read: Se pareba boves                           He led oxen alba pratalia araba                    he plowed […]

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