Who’s telling the story

During the Author Carnival at the Mechanics Institute lounge Tuesday, I’ll discuss how Cakewalk: an historical novel about the unsung creators of jazz was written in 22 days during the 2009 National Novel Writing Month.
The most important decision is choosing the narrator.
In my three novels, that voice comes from different places. Grampa Jack’s Secret is the story of nine generations of an African-American family, from West Africa to North Carolina in the 1960s. The narrative is told through DNA.
The story looks at a 30-second episode in the life of a 16-year-old and shows how the previous 400 years lead to that instant.
A group of very observant Canadian geese tell the story in Lake Merritt: What Goes Around Comes Around. This plot revolves around the interconnections of the people who revolve around Lake Merritt in Oakland.
Cakewalk is told through the 14-year adventure of an historian digging into the first jazz club in the world.
That viewpoint describes a 14-year period of history between 1906 and 1921 between the San Francisco earthquake and the forced expulsion of 1,400 persons from the Barbary Coast in 1921.
The characters are actual historic figures, located at buildings which still stand today interacting in actual historical events.
In each of my novels, there is a real story to be understood through the characters.
Using the novel format makes history much more identifiable for readers as they see events through the eyes of the people who live them out.