“Once upon a time it was now”

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I’ve always enjoyed this quote.


“Once upon a time it was now.” – James Alexander Thom, 2010

Storytelling through the form of historical fiction bridges generations. Novels based on history offer more than the traditional escape; they encourage readers to imagine the lives of their ancestors and how those lives connect to the present.  Or as James Alexander Thom describes in the Art of Writing Historical Fiction, “once upon a time it was now” (2010, p. 2).  No one who woke up on Hawaii on December 7, 1941 thought that day would forever shape the American psyche. From the hindsight of history the attack on Pearl Harbor is now seen as a naïve moment in American history, but a novelist can bring it to the present. Even though their words are fiction, novelists can help us internalize the abrupt and brutal reality of the attack. Because of this ability to make connections between now and the past, historical novelists have an obligation to their readers to present as true a history as possible.


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