I have had a modest interest in historical fiction as a reader that goes back a long time. I've thought about writing historical fiction, going so far as to write about a historical figure, but not in his period. So I was interested in a two-part article by Bobbi Miller at Children's Literature Network.
A Conversation: Why is Historical Fiction Important? is very conversation-like with quotes from a large number of people on what historical fiction is. One of my favorites is from Avi: "“Ultimately, what is most important is the story, and the characters.” Facts, according to Avi, do not make a story. “Believable people do…Truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction makes truth less a stranger.”
Conversation Continued: Why is Historical Fiction Important? is more analytical. "Other popular genres have distinct rules that govern basic premises...In contrast, historical fiction defies easy explanation and definition.
For some, historical fiction is first and foremost fiction, and
therefore anything goes. Others condemn the blending of invention with
well-known and accepted facts and consider the genre contradictory at
the very least..." is just one example.
Both pieces are followed by a resources with links and recommended readings.