Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon at The Poisoned Pen

In this captivating virtual event hosted by The Poisoned Pen’s Barbara Peters, renowned authors Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon share their insights on Kearsley’s The Vanished Days, in an insightful discussion that delves deep into the world of historical fiction. 

The authors discuss various aspects of their writing process – Diana’s kaleidoscope approach and Susanna’s puzzle-like method, that allows her to “find inspiration in the hidden corners of history”. Her words echo the charm that permeates The Vanished Days, a tale that bridges time and imagination and can be considered a prequel or companion book to Kearsley’s The Winter Sea.

They both agree that characters drive the plot, and they often let them dictate where the story goes. Kearsley emphasizes how historical characters can present challenges since there are gaps in their stories, but highlights that research helps fill in those gaps. They both acknowledge the need for historical accuracy and the importance of crafting a cohesive narrative, where each character and plot point fit together to create a compelling story.

Best-selling author Diana Gabaldon, renowned for the ‘Outlander’ series underscored “Susanna’s ability to blend history with emotion” which she described as “unparalleled.” As the conversation unfolds, they discuss the characters who navigate through history’s twists and turns. “Books like ‘The Vanished Days’ ensure that history lives on,” Susanna emphasizes, while Diana adds, “It’s like whispering to the past and the future simultaneously.”

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And if you’re eager to explore more literary wonders and connect with fellow historical fiction and mystery enthusiasts,  join The Poisoned Pen’s Historical Fiction book club to discover great books curated by our founder Barbara Peters.