Tuesday, March 6, 2018


Creating Believable Heroines in Historical Fiction l Malia Zaidi @maliazaidi #historical #fiction

Creating Believable Heroines in Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and my novels, The Lady Evelyn Mysteries, combine this passion with another, my love for mysteries. Yet with the task of writing in this genre before me, I have to face the obstacle of writing historically realistic characters, in particular heroines as I envision Lady Evelyn to be. I want her to be sassy, smart, independent, ulnerable, in other words, I want her to be like a rounded human being. That being said, I have to take into account certain imitations history placed on women. My books are set in the 1920s in Europe, and this time between the wars both offered women greater freedom and took away some of the responsibilities and occupations they took on during the war years.

Do get a sense of how women moved through the world in the 1920s in post-war Europe, I read a lot of books, btoth fiction and non-fiction. I wanted to learn what obstacles they faced in their day-to-day, as well as greater, societal hurdles. For example, women under thrity only got the vote in England ten years after women over thirty. Or, of particular interest to me in my latest novel, I discovered the limitations of women when it came to higher education. Universitities such as Oxford were very stingy when it came to accepting female scholars. I thought a lot about how these limitations could exits, but also how women who had both means and motivation could find ways to thrive nonetheless. I wanted Evelyn to be a woman modern for her day, and relatable even to readers in the present. The more I thought abut this, the more I realized that women have, throughout history, had many aspects of their lives in common. Laws may have changed, but especially in the current climate, when I think of the women’s movement, I realize that historical heroines share many qualities of modern heroines. They live in different times and Lady Evelyn certainly would have benefitted from a smartphone every once in a while, but in the end of the day, we all just try to make the best of our lot. Lady Evelyn is a historical heroine, but she is a woman in whom I hope readers can find a little of themselves as well. The past and the present are bound by what we share and that is how we learn and grow.

About the Author

Malia Zaidi is a writer and painter, who grew up in Germany and lives in the US. An avid reader and traveler, she decided to combine these passions, and turn her long-time ambition of writing into a reality. The Study of Silence is the third book of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries.



About the Book:

Author: Malia Zaidi
Publisher: Bookbaby
Pages: 448
Genre: Historical Mystery

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has returned home to England, where she is completing her degree at St. Hugh's, a women's college in Oxford. Her days are spent poring over ancient texts and rushing to tutorials. All is well until a fateful morning, when her peaceful student life is turned on its head. Stumbling upon the gruesome killing of someone she thought she knew, Evelyn is plunged into a murder investigation once more, much to the chagrin of her friends and family, as well as the intriguing Detective Lucas Stanton. The dreaming spires of Oxford begin to appear decidedly less romantic as she gathers clues, and learns far more than she ever wished to know about the darkness lurking beyond the polished veneer. Can she solve the crime before the killer strikes once more, this time to Evelyn's own detriment?



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