although I did not particularly think of it as that. I have lived through the times I am writing about. It is not so very different from now - although different enough.
Yesterday a neighbour introduced me to one of her visitors with the words, "This is Cat - you know the one who writes to the papers - oh and she writes other things too." The visitor, waiting for her partner to inspect the solar panel installation on the neighbour's house, started to ask the usual questions.
Eventually I gave her a very brief outline of the plot of the last novel. She listened, nodding and then said to me, "It sounds great, really exciting, but why didn't they just use their mobile?"
It brought me up with a jolt. I had not told her what year the action takes place. She assumed it was the present day.
I explained that the action takes place in 1969. There are no mobile phones.
"Oh, you're writing historical novels!"
I suppose I am. If I set the story in the present day the plot would have to be different. There would be mobile phones. There would be e-mail, Skype, long distance telephone calls would be common place etc
I considered whether I should set the story in the 21st C. It is based on a real life event told to me in the course of doing some research about something else entirely. I wondered if it would be better to bring it into the present day. The answer had to be no. It would be possible but less probable.
When I wrote another book, the one for the Whirlwind, her father said to me, "She tells me there are no computers in it." For the Whirlwind it was a novelty that a book written now should have no mention of computers. The action takes place in the 1950's. There is no need of computers.
I like using a computer. It allows me to work from home and care for my father. I like e-mail and Twitter and I post the occasional note on Facebook. My cousin 'phoned from London last night and talked to me for almost half an hour as we sorted out a problem with his father. Friends and neighbours have Skype. News can circle the globe in a matter of seconds.
It is possible to write hugely successful novels using all these things but the plot has to fit comfortably into the landscape. My landscape was different.
So, am I writing "history"? Perhaps I am. What I am trying to write is the story.