Session Description

Participants will hear about and discuss the pros and cons of researching and writing historical mystery fiction as compared and contrasted with modern-day mysteries, answering the following questions (and anything else that comes up): Why write about the past instead of a contemporary novel? What is the definition of the Modern Historical novel? How does it compare to the traditional historical novel? How does a writer handle dialogue from the past? What language was acceptable then and is not now? (Do you need a sensitivity reader?) What are the six steps a writer should take before writing a historical mystery?

Paul A. Barra

Paul A. Barra’s new novel, Sgt. Ford’s Widow, set in eastern Wyoming of 1969, will be released by The Permanent Press on June 28, 2024. Barra’s middle grade historical adventure novel, Samson and the Charleston Spy, will be published by Level Best Books on August 13, 2024. His novella of old Charleston, “Death of a Papist,” was runner-up for the 2023 Black Orchid award, and his novel, Westfarrow Island, published by The Permanent Press, was called “exciting” by Publishers Weekly. PW said, in part: “The relentless action in the dual story lines keeps the reader engrossed. Barra offers it all: murder, smuggling, chase scenes, romance, and international intrigue.” It was a finalist for the Silver Falchion award. His short story, “Assignment: Sheepshead Bay,” was selected for the MWA anthology “When a Stranger Comes to Town,” released by Hanover Square Press in April 2021. Barra has had five novels published, plus many short stories. He is a decorated former naval officer, was a reporter for local papers and the senior staff writer for the diocese of Charleston, and a chemistry teacher. He and his wife, the former Joni Lee, have eight children and live in Columbia, South Carolina.