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  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

How to Write Historical Fiction by Stacy Nockowitz and The Prince of Steel Pier Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Stacy Nockowitz here to share about how she writes historical fiction and about her MG historical The Prince of Steel Pier. I love historical fiction, and the time period and Atlantic City setting in Stacy’s book really appeals to me, so I’m excited to read it.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

A Young Teen Falls in with the Mob, and Learns a Lesson About What Kind of Person He Wants to Be

In The Prince of Steel Pier, Joey Goodman is spending the summer at his grandparents' struggling hotel in Atlantic City, a tourist destination on the decline. Nobody in Joey's big Jewish family takes him seriously, so when Joey's Skee-Ball skills land him an unusual job offer from a local mobster, he's thrilled to be treated like "one of the guys," and develops a major crush on an older girl in the process. Eventually disillusioned by the mob's bravado, and ashamed of his own dishonesty, he recalls words of wisdom from his grandfather that finally resonate. Joey realizes where he really belongs: with his family, who drive him crazy, but where no one fights a battle alone. All it takes to get by is one's wits...and a little help from one's brothers.

 Follower News

First, I have Follower News to share. An Insecure Writers Support Group Anthology
Romance – Clean & Wholesome/Contemporary/Historical

First Love: The Art of Making Doughnuts was recently released. Here’s a blurb: Featuring the talents of Linda Budzinski, Melissa Maygrove, Michael Di Gesu, Sylvia Ney, Katie Klein, Kim Elliott, Templeton Moss, S.E. White, Denise Covey, and Sammi Spizziri. Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will touch your heart and rekindle lost feelings. Prepare to return to that first love…

Barnes & Noble 


Deniz Bevan recently released Druid’s Moon. Here’s a blurb: Archaeologist Lyne Vanlith discovers an ancient Druidic curse on her first dig. When a Beast rescues her, she kisses his snout and he transforms into a man. Lyne is meant to be Beauty to his Beast. She must take up her legendary role, to defeat the curse and monster after them, and save Frederick—and herself.
Fantasy – Romance  / Paranormal  / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Print ISBN 9781939844866 / EBook ISBN 9781939844873

Apple - 
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HRDWJZ8
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165040276


Sandra Cox recently released Geller’s Find. Here’s a blurb:

It’s summer break and Dr. Luke Geller history prof and part-time archeologist is in Nevada looking for potsherds. What he finds is an antique rifle and a portal in time.

Buy link: https://tinyurl.com/GellersFind


Nick Wilford is releasing Reckoning, part 3 of a YA dystopian series tomorrow. Here's a blurb: The time has come for those who perpetrated wrongdoing and suffering on the land of Loretania to face their judgement, but nothing is that simple. Lunkin, the psychotic former Chief Scientist, has one more trick up his sleeve and is wreaking havoc even from behind bars. Can Welles and Ez, the kind and benevolent new rulers of Harmonia, turn the tide of public opinion and secure justice for the people of Loretania before it’s too late? Here are a few link:  

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Barnes & Noble / Kobo 

Now here’s Stacy! 

How and Why I Write Historical Fiction

I’m a debut author, but I’m no spring chicken. I’m 55, the age when many children’s authors are well-established in the industry, with a good number of books already out in the world. I don’t mind being on the older side. I’ve had a long and satisfying career in education that began when I was only 23 years old. Right after undergraduate school, I earned a Master’s Degree in education from Columbia University Teachers College. I started out teaching 4th grade in New York City and went on to teach middle school language arts for many years in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Fourteen years ago, I decided to go back to school for my Master’s in Library Science, and I became a middle school librarian in 2010. I’ve been around for a while.

            From the time I was about 6 years old, I dreamed of being a writer, and I wrote consistently over the years. Most of this writing was in notebooks that I didn’t show to anyone. I wrote Star Wars fan fiction when I was a kid, and I even wrote a couple of short novels in my twenties and thirties that I showed to maybe three people.  

            In 2017, an idea came into my head for a story about a kid who gets involved with some mobsters. I loved the movie A Bronx Tale, and I thought that the basic premise for that movie would make a great children’s book, if it was written right. I saw a scene in my mind: This kid is playing Skee-Ball, and the mobsters surround him and start betting on his score. I’m from New Jersey, so mob culture is something I grew up with. The Sopranos was set in New Jersey for a reason. So, I had my idea. But I had to decide on the setting, the when and the where.

            One thing I knew for sure. This story was not going to take place in 2017. The scene in my head was old school. These mobsters did not have cell phones. This kid was not tethered to a screen. That was when I realized that my writing future is fixed in the past. I wanted to write historical fiction. 

            I read somewhere that you shouldn’t write historical fiction just because you don’t want to deal with cell phones, but that’s exactly why I write it. I’m no Luddite, but I find 21st century technology to be stifling to my writing. I don’t like that a kid can get out of a situation just by looking something up or using an app or texting mom. I like a lot of one-to-one interaction, face-to-face dialogue, and even some back-to-the-wall, real world tension that only comes from being “in the room where it happens.” Also, technology shifts and morphs so quickly these days that some tech tool I write about today might be obsolete tomorrow. And kids don’t like to read about obsolete technology in contemporary fiction. 

            I prefer to immerse my readers in another era and get kids excited about history. In my library, students are passionate about books set in the past– medieval times, the Wild West, World War II. My goal is to introduce kids to eras that they’re not as familiar with, like the 1970s or the 1950s. At some point, I may tackle pre-20th century history, but for now, I’ll stick with the past 100 years or so.

            Doing research for historical fiction is one of my favorite parts of being a writer. It’s essential to get all of the historical details right. Obviously, I couldn’t write about a 1970s kid using a cell phone, but what about other, smaller details? For example, in The Prince of Steel Pier, the main character, Joey, keeps all of his arcade prize tickets in a grocery bag. In my first draft, that was a plastic grocery bag. But after some research, I learned that plastic bags hadn’t been introduced into grocery stores yet in 1975. So, the bag became a paper bag. My book is filled with all kinds of period details that required research far beyond Wikipedia. Joey uses a big Nikon camera in one scene, so I had to find out what features Nikon cameras had in 1975 to make that scene authentic. Even though I was a kid myself in the 70s, I couldn’t rely on my memory to get those details right. Might Joey’s older brother have attended a Pink Floyd concert in 1975? I had to find out if I was going to have him put on a Pink Floyd concert shirt.

But I also had to know when to stop doing research, too, or else I could continue seeking out resource after resource and never get to the actual writing! How does a writer know when to put on the brakes? In grad school, I attended a workshop about writing historical fiction led by the great author Anna-Marie McLemore. She said you should only do enough research so that you could comfortably time travel back to that time. Then STOP. In other words, you don’t have to know everything. You don’t have to know when toilet paper was invented if you’re not going to show a character using a toilet. But if a character is going to eat candy, you’d better know when that Snickers bar became available!

Chances are pretty good that your book is going to have dialogue in it, no? So, you will definitely need to research things like slang from that era or dialects or regional speech variations. I moved from Massachusetts to Ohio 25 years ago, but I still call soda “soda.” Here, they call it “pop.” If my book takes place in Ohio, I need to call it pop in the manuscript.

Being a librarian helps a lot when I’m doing research for historical fiction. I know how to dig deep, find information, and verify it. If you don’t have those kinds of information literacy skills, I have a few tips for you. First, consider doing the majority of your research at a library. If you have access to a university library, that’s great, but public libraries are wonderful, too. If it’s a decent library, the librarians there should know their stuff. Try to work with a librarian, not an aide or volunteer. Next, if you choose to do research at home on the Internet, be sure the sources you use are reliable, authoritative, current, and well-presented. Is the site trying to sell you something? Is it biased? Are there a bunch of ads all over the page? Avoid those sites if at all possible. And finally, understand that good research involves working horizontally in your web browser. In other words, when you read a fact, open another tab and verify that fact in another source. 

So, I’m an older debut author. That’s the way things worked out for me, and I’m thrilled. I know that if I hadn’t had 30 years of experience as a middle school teacher and librarian, I would not have written The Prince of Steel Pier. Or at least, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good as it is. At 55, I’m okay with tooting my own horn a bit. 

My website: www.stacynockowitz.com

Twitter: @snockowitz

Email: snockowitz@gmail.com

 Giveaway Details

Stacy has generously offered an ARC of The Prince of Steel Pier for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by October 1st. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter or Keely or Tara on their social media sites, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. The ARC giveaway is U.S. and Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog. 

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Wednesday, September 21st, I have an agent spotlight interview with Jazmia Young and a query critique giveaway

Monday, September 26th, I'm reviewing Alba Dobb's MG historical The Other Side of the River and doing an ARC giveaway

Wednesday, October 5th, I’m participating in the Howloween Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, October 5th, I have an interview with debut author Kim Bartosch and a giveaway of her YA mystery/ghost story Ask the Girl

Monday, October 16th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Sarah Stephens and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, October 16th, I’m participating in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 17th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Eve Adler and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Wednesday!





Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I can totally understand writing historical fiction to avoid modern technology and its deus ex machina! Love the idea of Skee-Ball and the mob. :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks for mentioning my book!

Beth said...

What great tips on writing HF, Stacy! They all make sense. One BETA reader critiqued my 1950’s epistolary MG novel for hiding pen pal writing from the MC’s parents! How unsafe! We all had school assignments for penpals or wish we could correspond with someone from a different state or country (forever). It was realistic for the time period and I thought it worked. Unfortunately, I put my novel in a box and still think about completing it, even though I was crushed that my premise was squashed. Can’t wait to read your book. Thanks for sharing Stacy’s tips, Natalie!

Valinora Troy said...

I've read some reviews of this book and it sounds super! Congratulations and best of luck to Stacy. I really enjoyed her article on writing historical fiction, something I am always keen to try out although I'd probably blend it with some fantasy... Thanks for the great research tips!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations to all the authors with new books.
Taking a story back to when cell phones didn't exist - good idea. (Sometimes I wish they still didn't exist.)

Eileen said...

Great article, and congratulations from a 57-year-old woman querying her debut novel! (-: I appreciate the encouragement.

Carol Baldwin said...

This book sounds terrific. I beat you by a few years, Stacy...and am still working on my first novel. COngruatlions on never giving up!!

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for the interview--I have this book on my TBR as I love historical middle grade. I follow Natalie on Twitter and shared on tumblr: https://at.tumblr.com/yesreaderwriterpoetmusician/how-to-write-historical-fiction-by-stacy-nockowitz/uw0lmojrzsiu

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Congratulations, Stacy, on your lovely book!

As always, Natalie, what a great interview!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Wow, so many great books coming out this month. I truly admire anyone who writes historical fiction. It's so great to see all the wonderful reading material available for young readers.

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats Stacy! I really respect writers of historical fiction due to the level of detail involved. Thanks for featuring my book today.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats, Stacy. One of my upcoming releases is set in the 80's so it can include VHS tapes but no cell phones.

Thanks for featuring First Love and Druid's Moon, Natalie.

Greg Pattridge said...

I loved this book! The main character was fully realized and perfect for the story. Stacy's thoughts on becoming a writer and the path to creating this plot was quite compelling. No need to include me in the giveaway, but thanks for being a part of MMGM this week.

Patricia T. said...

What a fun book to research! I love historical fiction and I particularly love how very different your novel is. It sounds like it will engage readers from the start. Also enjoyed learning more about your writing journey!

Liz A. said...

It's all that research that makes me avoid writing historical fiction. It's hard to do right, so I leave that to those that know what they're doing, research-wise. I do enjoy reading historical fiction, though. I appreciate the work that went into it.

Rosi said...

Well, I can certainly relate to this post. I'm older than Stacy, don't have my first book out yet, and the story of my heart is historical fiction. The research can be a real rabbit hole. I love it too. Thanks for such a fun post. I will pass on the giveaway. I have a review copy and hope to get it read in the next week or so. Can't wait.

Andrea Mack said...

So great to hear about debut authors in their 50’s…gives me hope! I appreciate all the info about writing historical fiction, too. This sounds like a good read.

Angie Quantrell said...

I'm also in the more mature category with a similar background, but I write for the younger crowd. Loved reading about your journey. Congratulations!!!

I follow by email at angelecolline at yahoo dot com. I also tweeted this and am off to follow on Twitter. Thanks, Natalie!


Sue Heavenrich said...

Great interview! Going to put this one on my list for sure. [my list that is already too long....]

Sandra Cox said...

Stacy, So glad you realized your dream. I can relate:)
Congrats to everyone with new releases.
'Lo, Natalie. Thanks for the inclusion. Luke and I appreciate it:)

Computer Tutor said...

Nice to meet you! There are a lot of us out here who started writing late so you have lots of company. And writing historical fiction to avoid tech--hadn't heard that one before but I love it. Tech changes so fast, it is easy for even a recent release to sound dated. I too write historical fiction.

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post today, would love to get a copy!

nashvillecats2 said...

Some great aurhors here Natalie, very interesting to read albeit a little late.
Thanks for a wonderful post.

Nancy P said...

Fabulous covers. Following on several platforms including Twitter. positive.ideas.4youATgmail.com