The key to writing period fiction is being able to transport the reader into the time and place where your story takes place. Fort Wayne author Jon Anthony Hauser has that gift.In his first two novels Road to Byzantium and Beyond Byzantium, Hauser writes about the middle ages and Crusades as if he were actually there. When immersed in good historical fiction, the reader feels caught up in distant times and far-away places totally disconnected from the here and now. It’s can be a lovely and welcome distraction.
Depicting the past requires extensive research and a mental grasp of the of the era one is chronicling. Fortunately, the well-educated Hauser is more than up to he task.
He grew up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin and attended Monmouth College in Illinois. By the time he was 21 he had graduated cum laude with honors and as a Senate Scholar, earning bachelor’s degrees in history and political science. In college Hauser was a member of the International Historical Honor Society. He spent the decade following graduation highly involved in public affairs and political campaigns.
Fast forward 10 years, and once again Hauser is drawn to his scholarly pursuits, discovering his passion for historical research and writing.
“I wrote Road to Byzantium because I enjoy a good tale about adventure and intrigue, and this is one such tale,’’ Hauser said.
“The First Crusade was the very first holy war between Christians and Muslims. From an Arab perspective, their current jihad (our “war on Terrorism”) is simply a continuation of that struggle which began so long ago.
“I also find character studies fascinating,” he adds, “and I endeavor to do a number of them, including several on real people who lived during this period and figured prominently in the shaping of it. But most importantly, I am utterly and passionately devoted to the panorama that is history, all the more so because it’s about what actually happened. History is what shaped all of our worlds of today. No matter who we are, we cannot escape it. It’s part of us. The heart and soul of this story is the collection of actual events in history that took place over 900 years ago.
“Ultimately, my goal ... was to provide a story that could hold a reader’s interest in a setting that uses as its foundation and road map an accounting of history that is as accurate as possible. I also aspired that those who read it and are, like myself, fascinated by the subject of history, might learn some things from it. I certainly did in the course of writing it.”
Aside from being a talented author, like many of us, Hauser has endured his own share of personal setbacks and struggles, most specifically with alcoholism. Thanks to the Intensive Restoration Program at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, Hauser is alcohol-free and a productive author. He also volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne and had recently completed the Fort for Fitness half-marathon, finishing 111th overall in a field of over 3,000 participants.
Early on in life, Hauser had much going for him. He was well-educated, maintained an exciting political career and had the world at his feet. Substance abuse threatened to derail all that, but instead of letting addiction steal his dreams, he faced it head-on and has since done a very impressive 180-degree turn.
He makes no excuses, preferring instead to make the most of his experiences.
“Along the way, I believe many of these experiences contributed to making me a better writer of the human condition,” he says.
Hauser’s books have achieved American Author award status and are available through www.amauth.com.