The next free talk (on zoom) will feature the real people who become fictionalized characters in my historical novels. See www.KarmaKitaj.com for information about all of my books.
Writing about real people from history can be challenging, sensitive, exciting, and informative. A writer needs to do research as if she were writing the person’s biography; yet she uses only a select few characteristics, behaviors, and historical experiences in the final story. As a writer of historical fiction, loving to read historical fiction, but never having studied much history before, this has become a passion for me.
Fortunately, the Internet provides an excellent starting point to look for information, but it’s only a beginning. Then one must go to original writing, oral histories, court proceedings, photographs, to really get a sense of who the person was in their lifetime.
One example, and probably the most important to my protagonist Miriam Levine Butler in Becoming a Woman of Substance, is the ebullient director of the Federal Theatre Project. Her name was Hallie Flanagan. She became Miriam’s boss for a short time when Miriam worked for the FTP, a new career and lifesaver for her at a challenging time in her life.
Miriam and the fictionalized Hallie became close friends that extended until Flanagan’s death from complications of Parkinson’s disease. I’ll be discussing the myriad ways in which I researched Hallie’s life and times during the next zoom session. (date to be announced soon).
Photo of Hallie Flanagan, Director of the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939, when funding was terminated on pressure from Rep. Martin Dies, Jr. House Unamerican Activities Committee, who successfully convinced Congress that Flanagan and the FTP were dangerously subversive .
Watch for Save the Date for the next zoom lecture about my historical novels, Beguiled (2018) and Becoming a Woman of Substance (2021)