The construction of historical fiction requires the attributes of good story telling plus some important additional components. Novelist David L. Robbins – whose most recent political thriller, “The Assassins Gallery,” imagines the assassination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt – will discuss the building blocks of historical novels in a lecture at the Library of Congress.
Robbins will present “The Nuts & Bolts of Historical Fiction” at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 24
, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed. “The Assassins Gallery” will be available for purchase, and Robbins will sign books after the presentation.
Part of the Books & Beyond author series sponsored by the Center for the Book, the lecture is co-sponsored by the Virginia Center for the Book, which is supported by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in Charlottesville.
Robbins will discuss the importance of research, the role of time and place, narrative pacing and character development. According to Robbins, the novel’s backdrop, which needs to be built as clearly and accurately as possible, plays a far more important role in historical fiction than in regular novels.
A graduate of the College of William & Mary with a bachelor’s degree in theater and speech, Robbins obtained a law degree from William & Mary in 1980. He practiced environmental law in Columbia, S.C., for one year before turning his energy into a career as a freelance writer in 1981. He began writing fiction in 1990 and subsequently has published seven novels, several of them with World War II settings. The audio version of his book “The War of the Rats” (Bantam, 1999), set during the battle of Stalingrad, was nominated for an Audie as one of the top three recorded unabridged novels of 2000. His eighth book, “The Betrayal Game,” will be published by Bantam in January 2008.
Robbins, who frequently travels to Europe to research his novels, is a founder and board member of the James River Writers, a nonprofit group in his hometown of Richmond that helps aspiring writers and students work and learn together as a writing community.
Established by law in 1977, the Center for the Book uses the resources of the Library of Congress to promote books and reading. To learn about its events, projects and publications, visit www.loc.gov/cfbook
. For information about the Virginia Center for the Book, see www.virginiafoundation.org/bookcenter/index.html