By Rachel Campbell

Fascinating discussions were in abundance during Wednesday night’s launch of Raise Dragon by L.A Kristiansen. Beginning with some fantastic readings by both Janie Munro and Paul Ryan, all in attendance were brought back in time to the 14th Century, through Kristiansen brilliant reimagining of events during the Scottish Wars of Independence.

It was clear the audience were fascinated by the premise of Raise Dragon as well as Lynda’s writing process, with our Q&A session producing many questions both on the Zoom Webinar and from our Facebook audience. A point Lynda made that I found particularly interesting was that adding an adventure element, in this case the search for Alaric’s treasure, to a historical event can help bring excitement and colour to historical fiction, giving the reader a reason to root for the characters, rather than just retelling fact. Lynda shared some great advice to budding authors, encouraging them to write something they’re passionate and not to be disheartened when it doesn’t fit with a certain publisher, and to have faith that a great story will get picked up. She encouraged historical fiction writers to think ahead to potential series for their work (Lynda has planned for Raise Dragon to be the first in an eight-part series) which can catch publishers’ attention. Invaluable advice for anyone looking to bring to life a historical event as Lynda has done so masterfully in Raise Dragon.

We then moved on to our panel on Scottish Historical Fiction with Lynda Kristiansen, Flora Johnston (What You Call Free) and Rob McInroy (Cuddies Strip). Here we heard about the excitements and challenges of writing Scottish Historical Fiction. They spoke of how historical fiction is intriguing because it gives you the opportunity to uncover strong resonances with today’s society and years, or even centuries ago. However, I found it particularly interesting when the panel spoke about how the point of historical fiction should be to tell a story which readers can then interpret with their own experiences and background, rather than imposing a specific contemporary message upon a historical event. With a wealth of Scottish history to be explored and challenged, the panel undoubtedly got us all thinking about how exciting it is to reimagine the stories that brought us to where we are today.

Thanks once again to everyone who came along. If you missed the event, you can still catch the recording on our Facebook page!

To hear more discussion from L.A. Kristiansen and Flora Johnston about Scottish Historical Fiction, come along to our in-person event on 15th November at the Beehive Inn in Edinburgh, where we’re sure to hear even more lively discussions about bringing the past into the present through writing. If you haven’t already, make sure to pick yourself up a copy of Raise Dragon here and be a part of the captivating adventure to secure Alaric’s treasure and bring it home for Scotland.

Buy your own copy of Raise Dragon here.