Want to find new authors and learn more about the authors behind the books? Check out Joyana’s Author Highlight section! Read interviews with authors and learn about their writing process and their own favorite books and reading habits!
Looking for some Black historical fiction books? Here is a roundup of some fantastic Black historical fiction authors!
Black Historical Fiction Authors
I’m always looking for diverse voices in the historical fiction market. For so long it seemed to be a genre saturated with castles and royalty. Those stories are still entertaining and even important in their own way. I’m interested in the Tudors as much as the next girl. But there are so many other important stories out there! I’m loving that the market is expanding so dramatically! In the last year alone I’ve been exposed to so many new cultures and historical periods. I’m loving it! Today I want to focus on some amazing Black historical fiction authors I’ve found. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
Beverly Jenkins has made a name for herself as the “Queen of Black historical romance”. She is a recipient of the 2017 Romance Writers of America Award, the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in literature. She has also been featured on NPR, CBS Sunday Morning, the Wall Street Journal and People Magazine.
Since her first book, Night Song, debuted in 1994, she has been trail blazing the way in writing historical romance stories with Black and multicultural characters.
You may have seen her most recent book- The Attic Child hitting the bestseller lists and getting attention with Book of the Month etc. But before this haunting story, Jaye was already writing thought provoking historical fiction.
Wartime Sweethearts is a unique multicultural take on the popular WWII time period of historical fiction and Orphan Sistersis an immigration story as well as a deeper look at life in 1950s London.
Have you read Island Queen yet? This book floored me and was one of my top historical fiction reads of 2021! But before this groundbreaking true story about a former slave girl who becomes one wealthiest and powerful landowners in the West Indies, Riley had already made a name for herself in the historical fiction market.
Her work as classified as straight historical fiction as well as historical romance and historical mysteries– all taking place in Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras.
Her books have been featured in Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Publisher’s Weekly and more!
Gyasi has become a legend in the historical fiction world. Her debut novel, Homecoming, came out in 2016 and at the tender age of 26– won her the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 honors, and the American Book Award. She also received a Vilcek Proze for Creative Promise in 2020.
To say this woman is talented is an understatement. But more importantly, she makes us think. Not only does she write about large sweeping periods in history to understand the ripple effects of events over time and generations, but she has also written and offered interviews in multiple publications about what reading in general does for us. How we read, why we read, what effect reading has on society etc.
Joyana’s Author Spotlight Series is Back! This month meet historical
cozy mystery writer- Jolie Tunnell!
Author Highlight– Meet Jolie Tunnell
By this point, I hope you all know how much I love building a thriving book community. My favorite way to do that is by offering new introductions to writers. So, here we go- this month’s Author Highlight- Meet Jolie Tunnell, a fantastic historical cozy mystery writer!
Jolie began writing as soon as she could hold a pencil, however she waited fifty years and five kids later before she finally began her career as an author!
Jolie launched her Idylwood Mystery Series in 2020 and is now an award-winning and Amazon best-selling novelist in multiple categories! Just goes to show, it really is never too late to follow your dreams!
Her books are described as containing mystery, history and a pinch of poppycock! And seriously, her main protagonist, Loveda Brown, is fast becoming one of my favorite cozy mystery detectives!
Not only has Jolie recently released a new book, Loveda Brown: Hide and Seek,which is the eighth in her series and available on Kindle Unlimited! But, she is also kind enough to share a free exclusive copy of the first of her Loveda Brown books- Loveda Brown: The Boston Burglar.
You can claim this offer by signing up for her Newsletter. This is the murder mystery that Loveda Brown had to solve before she left her hometown of 1911 Boston forever.
Now without further ado- my interview with one of my favorite Indie Authors- Jolie Tunnell, everyone!
Jolie’s Writing Process:
So, as stated earlier, Jolie knew she wanted to be a writer from a young age. She apparently even made her own handmade books as a child!
She states that her handwriting is atrocious so she will only write on her computer. Her favorite place to write is an interesting one. 🙂 She created her own desk area in her closet and writes in there with the door closed! She does this with a hot cup of Yorkshire Gold black tea with sugar and milk.
Jolie’s Reading Life:
As most authors are, Jolie is also an avid reader! Her favorite place to read is curled up in her recliner with a quilt and cup of tea.
She likes spunky female characters and could see herself being best friends with Jo March from Little Women. She would also love to get stuck in an elevator one day with Lula from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series and a tub of fried chicken!
Other Things About Jolie:
She is most fascinated by the year 1912 right now and the pioneer days leading up to the Progressive Era.
Her favorite places to travel are New Zealand and Italy.
Her top bucket list item is to write 100 books! (I’d say she’s on her way!)
Jolie’s Full Author Bio– Jolie Tunnell brings the past to life in a historical mystery series with a voice all her own. Author, freelance writer, blogger, and professional mom, she lives in Southern California with her hubby, five kids, and a pear-shaped cat. Minus the murders, Idyllwild has been her summer retreat for years.
Cozy up with a cuppa and enjoy her mountaintop mysteries with a feisty small town community, hidden villains, and the unsinkable Loveda Brown. She offers readers a historical whodunnit with the flavor of turn-of-the-century Wild West. Visit JolieTunnell.com to find her blog, newsletter, sales calendar, and upcoming new releases!
Are you a Gatsby Fan? Learn About the “Real” Great Gatsby!
Are you a Gatsby Fan? September 24th is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday! Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Gatsby fan. This was actually one of the first things my husband and I bonded over. We even had a Great Gatsby-themed wedding, and well anyone who follows my social media knows my yellow furry friend- Gatsby 🙂
Some have questioned why I’m drawn to such a supposedly depressing book or why we’d choose to highlight our happiest day with a theme that ended in such catastrophe. But what I tell any of those people is I strongly believe both the novel and Fitzgerald himself were tragically misunderstood.
The Man Behind the Writing- The “Real” Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald took to writing at a young age. He was published for the first time at thirteen. He continued writing short stories and plays to the point of neglecting his studies at Princeton and soon found himself failing his classes and unlikely to graduate.
Fitzgerald joined the Army in 1917. Convinced he would die in war, he wanted to leave a piece of himself behind, so he rapidly wrote his first novel, The Romantic Egoist, which later became, This Side of Paradise.
It took years to bring This Side of Paradise to publication. However, when it did publish, it literally made him famous overnight.
By this point, Fitzgerald had also made a name for himself, writing short stories for magazines. He was fully supporting himself with his writing. It was his dream come true, followed by his long-time love, Zelda Sayre, finally agreeing to marry him.
They married in March of 1920 and began what became known as a famously tumultuous marriage. They traveled the world and lived an extravagant lifestyle while often leaving chaos in their wake.
Fitzgerald wanted to be taken seriously in the literary world; however, his drinking, partying ways, and chaotic marriage damaged his reputation with critics. They began to dismiss him as irresponsible and a flaky writer. This, however, was far from the truth. Although Fitzgerald was definitely an alcoholic, he always wrote soberly and was a critical perfectionist. He belabored over drafts, revising each line until he deemed it perfect.
Despite critics’ opinions of him as derelict or irresponsible, or perhaps because of it–– Fitzgerald’s name soon became synonymous with the Jazz Age in which he lived. He embraced this and even wrote about it in his novel, Echoes of the Jazz Age.
Fitzgerald’s writing mirrored his personal life in other ways as well. Many would argue he was, in fact, the real Great Gatsby in his story. Like Fitzgerald, Gatsby and his other characters possessed his idealistic, romantic soul. They were also often seeking the American dream, striving for something better. However, they were often plagued as Fitzgerald himself was, with a lack of control and loss.
Like his characters, Fitzgerald continued to strive for more-– constantly chasing his next dream-– to write for Broadway, to write for Hollywood. He attempted both of these and yet, never fulfilled the opportunities the way he envisioned. Much of this was due to his drinking and inability to handle his finances. He and Zelda always burned through money faster than he could make it. Zelda also suffered from mental health issues and was eventually hospitalized in a care facility.
Fitzgerald’s last unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, again mirrored many of his beliefs about his own life. Fitzgerald, unfortunately, passed away from a heart attack before finishing the novel and died believing himself a failure wasting away in literary obscurity. Indeed, for years, that did appear to be the case. However, somewhere in the late 1940s, his work went through a “resurgence” period until he was solidified in 1960 as an enduring American writer. So much so that his novel, The Great Gatsby, has been listed most often as a novel that defines an American classic.
I’ve always felt that Fitzgerald’s writing, The Great Gatsby, in particular, is one of those books that needs to be read more than once. It needs to be unpacked for the multiple layers that are there. Fitzgerald was a master at symbolism, and his themes do withstand the test of time. After all, aren’t we still obsessed with status and money? Will unrequited love ever go away? Or sadly, even the treatment and lack of choices for women is still an issue today.
What are your thoughts on Fitzgerald? Literary classic? Idealistic waste? Have you read any of his other novels aside from The Great Gatsby?
Have you read any of Fitzgerald’s other books? Check out my Fitzgerald Book List Below!
This Side of Paradise is the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1920. The book examines the lives and morality of post–World War I youth. Its protagonist Amory Blaine is an attractive student at Princeton University who dabbles in literature.
The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status seeking, and takes its title from a line of Rupert Brooke’s poem Tiare Tahiti. The novel famously helped F. Scott Fitzgerald gain Zelda Sayre’s hand in marriage; its publication was her condition of acceptance.
It’s title taken from John Keats’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, Tender is the Night (1934) is Fitzgerald’s best-known and most widely read novel after The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald actually considered Tender is the Night to be his greatest novel. It was his fourth novel, and the last novel he completed before his death in 1940.
Set in the south of France in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic tale of a young actress, Rosemary Hoyt, and her complicated relationship with the alluring American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth pushed him into a glamorous lifestyle, and whose growing strength highlights Dick’s decline.
Lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative, Tender Is the Night was one of the most talked-about books of the year when it was originally published in 1934, and is even more beloved by readers today.
This is probably Fitzgerald’s best-known short story, especially since it was made into a movie in 2008 by David Fincher, with Brad Pitt in the starring role.
Although better known today for his novels, in the 1920s F. Scott Fitzgerald ranked among the top writers of magazine fiction. Fitzgerald represented the dreams and aspirations of the post-World War I generation in his life as well as his works. With his glamorous wife, Zelda, and his cosmopolitan social circle, he projected the perfect image for narrating tales of restless youth in a hectic world.
These short stories offer insights into many themes, characters, and techniques that emerged in Fitzgerald’s later works. The title tale, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” reflects his preoccupation with life’s fleeting nature. “Winter Dreams,” written three years before The Great Gatsby, shares the concept of commitment to an idealized dream. “Babes in the Woods,” developed during the author’s Princeton days, evidences the roots of This Side of Paradise. Thirteen other selections offer further insights into the author’s growing skills as well as examples of his sparkling prose, understated wit, and deft characterizations.
Are you a Gatsby Fan? Then you also need to check out this more recent retelling of the famous tale-
“Jillian Cantor beautifully re-crafts an American classic in Beautiful Little Fools, placing the women of The Great Gatsby center stage: more than merely beautiful, not so little as the men in their lives assume, and certainly far from foolish. Both fresh and familiar, this page-turner is one to savor!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code
“Jillian Cantor’s shifting kaleidoscope of female perspectives makes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of Jazz Age longing and lust feel utterly modern. A breathtaking accomplishment.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
On a sultry August day in 1922, Jay Gatsby is shot dead in his West Egg swimming pool. To the police, it appears to be an open-and-shut case of murder/suicide when the body of George Wilson, a local mechanic, is found in the woods nearby.
Then a diamond hairpin is discovered in the bushes by the pool, and three women fall under suspicion. Each holds a key that can unlock the truth to the mysterious life and death of this enigmatic millionaire.
Daisy Buchanan once thought she might marry Gatsby—before her family was torn apart by an unspeakable tragedy that sent her into the arms of the philandering Tom Buchanan.
Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend, guards a secret that derailed her promising golf career and threatens to ruin her friendship with Daisy as well.
Catherine McCoy, a suffragette, fights for women’s freedom and independence, and especially for her sister, Myrtle Wilson, who’s trapped in a terrible marriage.
Their stories unfold in the years leading up to that fateful summer of 1922, when all three of their lives are on the brink of unraveling. Each woman is pulled deeper into Jay Gatsby’s romantic obsession, with devastating consequences for all of them.
Jillian Cantor revisits the glittering Jazz Age world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, retelling this timeless American classic from the women’s perspective. Beautiful Little Fools is a quintessential tale of money and power, marriage and friendship, love and desire, and ultimately the murder of a man tormented by the past and driven by a destructive longing that can never be fulfilled.
Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, these are some of the most classic mysteries ever written. And who hasn’t heard of the famous Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple? Agatha Christie books are legendary, as is the author herself. Is that what has made her pop up so much again now in new recent writings? Let’s explore why Agatha Christie is the Queen of Mystery.
Born on September 15th in 1890, Agatha Christie became and remains the best-selling novelist of all time. She was a prolific writer, writing 66 detective novels, 14 short story collections, and the world’s longest running play of all time, The Mousetrap.
Agatha Christie- The Early Years
Agatha Christie had a difficult start in life. She had an unorthodox upbringing where she was homeschooled and told she was not allowed to learn to read until she was at least eight years old. She taught herself at the age of five instead. Her father died when she was eleven and she and her mother were left with major financial problems. They were forced to leave their house relying on the hospitality of friends until eventually traveling to Egypt for Agatha’s “economized” coming out season.
Although Agatha received many marriage proposals in Egypt, it was not until she met a young pilot, Archie Christie, that she first fell in love. It was a whirlwind affair that ended in a wartime marriage.
Agatha Christie Books
It was during the war that Agatha took to writing detective stories. She used her newfound experience in poisons (she worked at a hospital dispensary during the war) as a basis for the plot of her debut novel,The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The murderer’s use of poisons in the book was so accurate that she received an unusual honorable tribute- a review in The Pharmaceutical Journal.
Despite Agatha’s newfound success, her personal life was in shambles. Her marriage was falling apart, and there were rumors of a nervous breakdown. After a mysterious disappearance, Agatha decided it was time to start anew. She fulfilled a lifelong goal of traveling on the Orient Express, and spent time on an archeological dig in Baghdad. It was there she met a young archeologist in training, Max Mallowan, who became her second husband.
In the years that followed, Agatha finally found happiness. She and her husband divided their time between England and digs around the world. She devoted her time to writing, enjoying success until her death in 1976.
“If you’re one of the few who haven’t experienced the genius of Agatha Christie, this novel is a stellar starting point.” — DAVID BALDACCI, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
An exclusive authorized edition of the most famous and beloved stories from the Queen of Mystery.
Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to an isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island, they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…
Which among them is the killer, and will any of them survive?
“Agatha Christie is the gateway drug to crime fiction both for readers and for writers. . . . Just one book is never enough.” — VAL MCDERMID, Internationally Bestselling Author.
The exclusive authorized edition of the most widely read mystery of all time. Now a major motion picture directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh.
“The murderer is with us—on the train now . . .”
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.
Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies before the murderer decides to strike again.
This edition includes a photo insert of images from the film.
One of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels, featuring her beloved detective Hercule Poirot—and her most surprising twist.
The story that made Agatha Christie famous ends with one of her most dramatic twists. The villagers of King’s Abbot are shocked when a wealthy local widow commits suicide, and the very next day her fiancé, Roger Ackroyd, is stabbed to death. Dr. James Sheppard, the local physician, discovers the body of his friend and narrates the ensuing hunt for the killer. All the guests and staff at Ackroyd’s country house seem to have solid alibis—except for his missing stepson. But as the authorities home in on their most obvious suspect, the recently retired detective Hercule Poirot unexpectedly turns up and joins the fray. Dr. Sheppard gamely assists the legendary Poirot as he untangles one of the most fiendish mysteries in Christie’s extensive oeuvre.
In this official authorized edition from the Queen of Mystery, Hercule Poirot sets out on the trail of a serial killer.
There’s a serial killer on the loose, working his way through the alphabet and the whole country is in a state of panic.
A is for Mrs. Ascher in Andover, B is for Betty Barnard in Bexhill, and C is for Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. With each murder, the killer is getting more confident—but leaving a trail of deliberate clues to taunt the proud Hercule Poirot might just prove to be the first and fatal mistake.
FYI: This was the first novel ever to follow the trail of a serial killer in a “whodunnit” mystery.
In this exclusive authorized edition from the Queen of Mystery, the indomitable Miss Marple turns ghost hunter and uncovers shocking evidence of a perfect crime.
Soon after Gwenda moved into her new home, odd things started to happen. Despite her best efforts to modernize the house, she only succeeded in dredging up its past. Worse, she felt an irrational sense of terror every time she climbed the stairs.
In fear, Gwenda turned to Miss Marple to exorcise her ghosts. Between them, they were to solve a “perfect” crime committed many years before.
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER!
AN AMAZON BEST BOOK OF 2021!
“A stunning story… The ending is ingenious, and it’s possible that Benedict has brought to life the most plausible explanation for why Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1926.”―The Washington Post.
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room returns with a thrilling reconstruction of one of the most notorious events in literary history: Agatha Christie’s mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926.
In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues are some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car―strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.
The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.
What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?
Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.
Fans of The Secrets We Kept, The Lions of Fifth Avenue, and The Alice Network will enjoy this riveting saga of literary history, suspense, and love gone wrong.
Why would the world’s most famous mystery writer disappear for eleven days? What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage? How deeply can a person crave revenge?
“Sizzles from its first sentence.” – The Wall Street Journal
A Reese’s Book Club Pick
In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.
It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.
What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.
Joyana is excited to continue her Author Highlight series to build a true Book Community between Authors and Readers.Today’s featured Author Highlight- Meet Gina Danna, a historical fiction romance writer!
Gina’s book, Authentic Stormis a MUST READ! And as a perk for our Reading Community, she’s offering it to us for FREE! Read below for information both about the book and how to partake in this free offer and the author behind the scenes!
It’s 1856: The forbidden love between an abolitionist New York senator and a freed Louisiana Colored woman could set the country on a new course – or wreck their lives. As the American Civil War looms ahead, they must find a way to survive the oncoming storm.
A USA Today Bestselling author, Gina Danna was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has spent the better part of her life reading. History has always been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, always dreaming of writing one of her own. After years of writing historical academic papers to achieve her undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, and then for museum programs and exhibits, she found the time to write her own historical romantic fiction novels.
Now, under the supervision of her dogs, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.
Favorite Period in History: That’s Tough: American Civil War era & Ancient Rome
Favorite Place to Travel: Rome! (Italia basically)
Thanks Gina for joining our community! To follow her on social media check out her accounts and website here! To take advantage of the FREE download of her book, check out the link below. Have a great day everyone!
Welcome to another Installment of my Author Interview Series.
Today’s Author Highlight- Fiona Knightley!
Joyana is excited to continue her Author Highlight series to build a true Book Community between Authors and Readers.Today’s featured Author Highlight- Meet Fiona Knightley, a historical fiction romance writer!
About Fiona Knightley:
Fiona is a descendant of Scottish immigrants. As a youngster, she recalls various great aunts, uncles and cousins visiting her family home and speaking strange words with a beautiful accent. Unbeknownst to her, that would be the beginning of a life-long love affair with the highlands.
Fiona LOVES to connect with her readers and loves sharing her work with the historical fiction community. As a result, she’s offered to share a FREE copy of her book, Seducing the Seamstress, with all of MY readers as well! You can get it below!
Just want Book Recommendations and not the Interviews? Check out my Book Review page!
Calling all History Fans!
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