Nic Bishop is an award-winning, well-known photographer of the natural world. Having traveled all over the world to document scientists on expeditions, Bishop has his share of stories. He also goes to great pains to capture action-packed photographic images of mammals, insects, and reptiles in his own studio.
Historical fiction is a complex genre. It can strive to be as absolutely accurate as the writer can make it (as I attempted in Crispin: Cross of Lead) or it may go no further than to create a general sense of time and place (as in Midnight Magic). The work that is merely dressed up in a general sense of time and place is rather like a musical comedy. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, and in fact there are some real advantages. The primary advantage is that one can deal with very modern ideas and simply place them where one can have the most fun.
Powerful photographs helped change the tide of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. Some of these very photos moved author Elizabeth Partridge (goddaughter of the influential photographer Dorothea Lange) when she saw them 40 years later. Consider the role that photographs, books, and interviews play in historical research as Partridge discusses her process of selecting viable sources for Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary (Penguin, 2009).
I went to Ghana several years ago and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the land and people, as well as the history of the place that hovered just out of reach. When I visited the slave castles, where millions of Africans were housed like cattle before being shipped as cargo and sold as slaves, I felt their spirits crying out to me. Crawling on my hands and knees through the Door of No Return, which led from the darkness of the prison to the incomprehensible vastness of a beach, I knew I must tell the story of someone who had passed that way.
Claudette Colvin, in 1955, was a 15-year-old African American girl growing up in Alabama. She refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama a full nine months before Rosa Parks later became famous by doing the same thing.
Why memorize poetry? For the sheer joy of it! If there is a poem you love, nothing is more satisfying than committing it to memory. You’ll get to know the work far more deeply when you have read it aloud a number of times and familiarized yourself with its rhymes, rhythms, and repetitions as part of a living composition.