Here's the full article at the Carroll Country Times on the James Fenimore Cooper Prize nomination for my historical fiction novel, Albemarle -- which started out its life as a nonfiction, but the story was too compelling not to turn it into a novel. Here's from the article:
"Nonfiction is basically scholarly. If you put it down, you have to be able to support it all," Stempel said. "I started as a novelist, and I've written short stories, and I've found it more enjoyable. You can put a lot more into it. In nonfiction, you can't put down what people were thinking or feeling unless you can completely justify it."
Stempel said he feels the ability to get into the characters' heads allows historical fiction to connect more strongly with the reader.
"Historical fiction makes it more like life, and it connects with people better. It allows you to write good history," Stempel said. "The only creative stuff is in conversations between people. I don't change any of the facts in the stories. Everything happens how it happened."
The nonfiction version of this story was published as CSS Albemarle and William Cushing.