Jeff Shaara Brings Famous Faces, New Stories on Thurber House VisitJune 1, 2015 3:47 pm Tyler Clementi
“I enjoy telling a story you haven’t heard,” says Jeff Shaara. The historical fiction author will be at Columbus’s Thurber House on June 3 for an Evenings With Authors session, where he’ll read from his new book and answer readers’ questions.
Shaara enjoys telling those unfamiliar stories with familiar faces. His newest release, The Fateful Lightning, is the fourth and final installment of his series exploring the Civil War while following Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.
Assuming the voice of these famous historical figures has brought some readers to criticize Shaara. One said, “How dare you?” to Shaara while confronting him about putting words in Robert E. Lee’s mouth. Writing the voices of Grant, Lee, and Sherman is no small responsibility.
“Challenge accepted,” says Shaara. The author respects the concern of his fact-checking readers and performs painstaking research to ensure the legitimacy of his characters and stories.
“I’m taking you with me and putting you into the character’s head. That’s a risky thing to do. And if I don’t get it right, you’ll know that immediately. So that’s the biggest challenge, to do the research,” says Shaara.
Though he tends to write about wars and soldiers, Shaara doesn’t care to be reduced to that: “I sort of bristle when someone describes my work as ‘war books.’ They’re not war books. They’re books about people that happen to be at war.”
Why stick to soldiers, then? “They were ordinary people that responded to an extraordinary circumstance,” says Shaara. The author thinks that the adversity of war brings out true character: “What’s more extraordinary than being placed in the middle of the war?”
Got an answer? Tell him in person at Thurber House on June 3.
More information about Shaara’s June 3 visit and his complete interview can be found on crafttheshow.com.