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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Is there a doctor in the house?

Doc Holliday is famous – and was so in his own lifetime too, long before ‘celebrity’ became a lifestyle choice. Author Victoria Wilcox has taken on the task of writing about Holliday and the first of her trilogy of novels is already out now – Southern Son – and later this month is followed by the second – Gone West – both from Knox Robinson, (who happen to be the publisher of Wings of the Overlord (out in June) written by yours truly and a long-time friend Gordon Faulkner).

Victoria is garnering praise for her book and the latest issue (May) of True West magazine features a full page on her – a regular back page item, ‘What history has taught me’.
Half page from True West
I think she sums up much of what appeals about the western genre: ‘I learned to love Western history through story, which is why I value historical fiction.’ So true: the western is a genre, certainly, but it’s also historical fiction.

Victoria points out that often it’s difficult to glean the facts about people who perhaps kept themselves private; that’s when you need to weave fiction into the narrative – that’s what makes it a novel rather than a history book.

My medicinal view on writing western fiction is that maybe some facts might be distorted where details are confused or conflicting – well, critics should try enjoying the story for its own sake. Fiction, in the end, is story, not fact.

Some books featuring doctors in the Old West:
Adventures from the casebook of Dr Marcus Quigley by Clay More
They called her Mrs Doc by Janette Oke - Dr Quinn Medicine Woman by Teresa Warfield
and two non-fiction works...

 The Doctor wore petticoats by Chris Enss - Bleed, Blister and Purge by Volney Steele, MD


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