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    My name is David Smith. I’m a novelist and amateur historian, living in southern Oregon.

    My work is primarily historical fiction. I seek out stories about pivotal events in our collective past that can give us insight into the human condition, in ways that both resonate with and differ from our contemporary perspective. I am particularly interested in exploring the untold stories of history - the tales of people, places, cultures, and events that have disappeared from mainstream history.

    There is nothing more fascinating to me than a beautifully written novel that brings long-dead people, cultures, and places to life, lets them speak to us and move us and show us what it was (and is) like to be human. The past can teach us, entertain us, make us laugh and gasp and cry. Approached with an empathetic ear, an active imagination, and a genuine effort to tease out the voices of those who have been written out of the dominant narrative of history, fiction can help us reach a greater understanding of the full range of the human experience, in a way that academic (or even popular) history is rarely able to achieve.

    That is my ambition, my objective, and my joy.

    I invite you to explore the “Projects” tab for a description of the project that has consumed much of my free time for the past few years:  a historical novel centered around the great Arab siege of Constantinople in 717-718 CE. This event is, in my view, one of the most significant forgotten events of the past two thousand years - one of those turning points where, if the outcome had been different, our world would be a dramatically different place today.

    You will also find links to resources that you may find interesting – for writers, for those interested in the times and places that are the focus of my current work, and for readers looking for new authors to read. I also hope to share some of the trials and tribulations of a writer struggling to slog through his first novel . Hopefully someone, somewhere will find something that they can use – even if only as an object lesson on “what not to do.”

    Trying to write a 200,000-word tome on a relatively obscure period of history, from a rural area far from any reference library or major university, while taking care of three little kids, for example.

    Welcome! I invite you to join me on my adventure.