Q&A With Colin Mustful
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Q&A With Colin Mustful
I have the pleasure of doing this Q&A with editor & founder of History Through Fiction Colin Mustful. We started following each other this past weekend after New York Times Bestselling author Alina Adams and History Through Fiction shared my Q&A with her online. History Through Fiction represents many authors and I’m thrilled to be speaking with the editor and founder!
Q: Colin, would you like to tell the readers and I about History Through Fiction and how you conceived of the idea? As I understand it, it’s a publishing house that publishes historical fiction.
A: Yes, we publish historical novels that are well-crafted and well-researched, with the goal of helping readers learn about real historical events and people. I started History Through Fiction in 2019 with the publication of my own novel, Resisting Removal. At the time, I had just completed my MFA program which included a concentration in publishing. After years of self-publishing (and one very bad experience with a vanity press), I decided to use my experience and knowledge to start my own press. I also believed that, as someone who came to fiction as a historian, I had a niche within historical fiction that wasn’t being represented. Our novels, though fictionalized, include some element of transparency about our sources in order to help readers distinguish fact from fiction. For example, some of our novels include bibliographies, some you don’t often see in fiction novels.
Q: Other than Alina Adams, which other authors does History Through Fiction represent?
A: We now represent eight authors, many of whom are debut novelists. We have seven American authors and one British author. All of our authors are very accomplished writers and can boast of many other skills and experiences outside of their work as authors.
Q: What’s it like being the editor and co-founder? What is your advice for anyone wanting to become an editor like you are?
A: It’s the best thing ever! It’s certainly a lot of work, and I’m learning as I go, but it’s extremely rewarding to be able to take the press in the direction the fits my interests while also satisfying the appetites of our readers and fulfilling the dreams of our authors. I really enjoy working with authors to shape their stories, and I love reading the obscure and fascinating stories and manuscripts that are submitted to our press. My advice for anyone interested in working as an editor is to make your own path. See what others are doing, learn from them, and then put yourself out there.
Q: What is your advice for anyone wanting to submit work for History Through Fiction?
A: Follow the submission guidelines—whether you’re submitting to us or somewhere else. It’s a simple step, but you’d be surprised how many writers ignore the guidelines. Aside from that, I would suggest that you just be confident in yourself and your story…no matter how many rejections you may have received. Your story has value. Your work has value. Be yourself in your query letter, confident and secure in what you have to offer. You don’t have to boast of your accolades. You don’t have to make it sound like a mistake if we reject your submission. Just be kind, be brief, and be yourself.
Q: Would you yourself ever attempt to write a historical fiction novel? If so, what would the topic of your historical fiction novel be about?
A: I’ve actually written five. I write about the U.S. – Dakota War of 1862, a tragic event in American and Minnesota history that led to the exile of the Dakota people from the place they call home. I’ve been studying the Dakota War and its related history of settler-colonialism for about fifteen years now. My goal is to better understand the history and the implications it still has for us today while helping my readers do the same. You can learn more about my work as an author at my author website, www.colinmustful.com