Historical Fiction

An Interview with James May

James L. May holds an MFA from Florida International University, along with a BA from Cornell University. He grew up in New Jersey, has lived in Miami and New Orleans, and now resides in New York City. His short fiction has appeared in Tigertail, and he has reviewed fiction for The Florida Book Review, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine and New Orleans Review.

I had the pleasure of interviewing James L. May, a historical fiction writer who just recently published his very first novel, The Body Outside the Kremlin, this year. I actually got a chance to meet James at a wedding a little more than a year back, and we talked about his book while it was still in the final stages of publication. He was so excited about his publisher spending the extra dough on getting the gold leaf embossed cover. Talking with him now, now that his book has completed its marketing cycle, it’s been enlightening and reassuring to see where reality and expectations align. —Michael Hamilton

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Book Review: She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun book cover

My interest in Shelley Parker-Chan’s debut novel, She Who Became the Sun, was piqued on Twitter by Tor Books and Parker-Chan’s own tweeting. However, it was Parker-Chan reading Chapter Three of her novel on Tor Book’s Instagram that solidified my interest in the novel as a must-read—the lavish details and personal struggle of different sides in a singular conflict on the material and emotional scales.

Ghanima Emmanuelle Sol

Marketed as The Song of Achilles meets Mulan, Parker-Chan’s historical fiction novel follows the peasant girl Zhu as she takes up the name of her brother, Zhu Chongba, and his foretold great fate. The novel moves from peasant villages to grand monasteries and walled cities to the gers—or portable dwellings—of the Mongol rulers of fourteenth century China. Zhu, while disguised as her brother, survives first as an apprentice in the Wuhuang Monastery before becoming a horse thief and a leader in the Red Turban Rebellion campaigning to retake southern China from Mongol rule.

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