Press & Media: Historical Essays

Between 2003-2004, Deborah O'Toole was a staff writer for Ambermont Magazine. She wrote several Historical Essays on a variety of subjects for the online publication, re-prints of which are now available in multiple e-book formats.


How did you pick topics when writing articles for Ambermont Magazine? Or were the subjects chosen for you?

Ambermont Magazine gave me a great deal of freedom in choosing subjects for my articles. Each month, I'd select a topic, do the research and then write the article. Topics were varied because my interests are rather eclectic. Whatever I wrote about held a fascination for me to begin with, so it was enjoyable to undertake the necessary research and then write my findings and views on the subject.


If my editor Reen liked the content, Ambermont would publish the article and pay me accordingly. There was only one time they didn't run one of my articles, which was the piece about Jack the Ripper. My editor thought the content and imagery was too grisly for their readers. Class act that they were, Ambermont paid me for the article even though they never used it in their magazine.


After Ambermont Magazine switched their content to gaming in 2004, why didn't you continue to write for them?

I wasn't really interested in writing game reviews or articles about the current trends in gaming. Ambermont Magazine was very understanding about my decision, so there were no hard feelings when I resigned as their staff writer.


What did you do with your articles after leaving Ambermont?

I sort of shelved them for a long time. A few years ago, I decided to include them in the Class Notes Research Catalog. Since August 2012, a selection of my articles became available in e-book format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


How is researching and writing an article about a specific subject different from writing fiction novels?

It's as different as night and day. In some ways, writing an article is more difficult because the author is hemmed-in by historical facts, along with length constraints. Although it takes longer, writing fiction is more enjoyable because the author can allow their imagination to run free.


If you were to write an article today, what topic do you think you'd choose?

Probably the life and times of Michael Collins, or a piece about Lizzie Borden.


Historical Essays by Deborah O'Toole


Historical Essays Excerpts/Q&A (PDF, 1.2 MB).


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