The material for fiction, says Elizabeth Kostova, tends to occur to the writer by chance, like the accidents of heartbreak, homesickness, inspiration.
The source can also be lodged in real events, a big event that rocks a community, and changes the course of history.
Like Tony Jones in his debut novel, The Twentieth Man, Kostova digs into political history to plant the fictional seed for her new book. The Shadow Land.
They talk with Claire Flanagan Smith about how novels can transmute the past, and what the novelist owes to history and the real people who lived it.