Guest blogger Robert Craven on the travails of historical fiction.
I still pinch myself. It took Get Lenin five years to grow from an idea to the novel. It started as a dream, then became a journey. Along the way I grew. As with all journeys, it had rough parts as well as smooth parts. The final destination remains unknown.
The idea started when I read a book review about Lenin’s Embalmers, revealing that Lenin’s mausoleum was shipped out of Moscow to the Ural mountains during the German advance in 1941. The first thought that came into my head was “What would happen if...”
Get Lenin finished as a novella clocking in at a modest 26,000 words as a straight adventure, then I started to pitch it. The subject matter of a stranded German unit in Russia during WWII was always going to have limited appeal. As the rejections clogged up the in-box, my wife pointed out that the main female character (Eva Molenaar) was quite unsympathetic. I went back and developed Eva from an innocent caught in the wrong place at the wrong time to an assured heroine. During the course of the pitches, I posted to the peer-review site authonomy.com. From there I found Night Publishing.