The question is this: Is Historical Fiction still a genre in and of itself? Barnes & Noble has apparently decided just to blend Historical Fiction in together with its General Fiction shelves and I think this has happened for good reason.
As the author of the historical fiction series, The Illyrian Chronicles, I have really had a hard time accepting that I should be pigeon-holed into a genre that contains such diverse examples of great fiction.
Historical Fiction isn’t just for your grandmother anymore. Within this broad category a reader can find almost everything they are looking for; action, adventure, romance, mystery, horror, and thrillers. The only unifying characteristic is that these are novels set sometime in the past.
Setting and circumstances have changed over time but human nature remains much the same.
That my novels have begun to receive word of mouth praise among a young adult following temps me to switch genres and try getting an agent again. But my most enthusiastic readers are people, male and female from all ages.
I would be that J.K. Rowling didn’t foresee what an adult following she would gain well beyond her original target audience, but don’t we readers, first and foremost, want to read something that keeps us turning the page late into the night?
Maybe we should examine our need to even have the historical fiction genre at all. The descriptions could just say – setting: American Civil War, or Macedonia 400 BCE, etc. and let the other descriptive attributes convince the potential reader to pick it up.