Elizabeth Pye

Books a Historical Fiction Author Reads – Interview with Elizabeth Pye

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Six Books/Series Elizabeth Recommends to Writers Who are Interested in Writing Historical Fiction

Actually, authors of historical novels are not cast from the same mold. If you asked ten of those authors about the books they prefer to read, you’d probably get ten different answers. They share an interest in history, I do believe.

Historical novels that are part of a series carry me along in the history of the period of which they are written, and I especially enjoy these type of novels.

Silk or Sugar

Elizabeth Pye, Author of Silk or Sugar

My List of Recommended Six Books/Series:

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Interview with Elizabeth Pye, Historical Fiction Author of Silk or Sugar

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interview with a historical fiction author

Elizabeth Pye, Author of Silk or Sugar

Why Do Authors Write

Historical Fiction Novels?

Elizabeth Pye shares in an interview how she became interested in writing about historical France. Ask ten authors why they write historical fiction novels, and you’ll receive ten varying answers. In this article, however, Elizabeth gives her readers insight as to her own reason for writing historical fiction novels.

Silk or Sugar is the first historical fiction novel by Elizabeth, and publication of the sequel is expected in November 2017. Elizabeth Pye is a member of California Writers Club, High Desert branch.

The interview has been published in several segments as a series of videos. Beginning May 1, 2017, you may view the next video in her interview series here on epye.com.

Part One, Interview Video Series with Elizabeth Pye:

Angie: Elizabeth, when did you become interested in writing historical fiction? And when did you become interested in writing about France, Napoleon, and/or French history?

Elizabeth: I’ve always loved history. I grew up in historic Virginia, that really colonial Virginia. When I would go into Fredericksburg, I would pass James Monroe’s law office, the old apothecary shop, and so many interesting places.

When I was in high school, I first became interested in writing. But it wasn’t fiction. It was journalism. I was editor of the school paper. Then as I started working, I had several newsletters and things like that I edited. When I wrote anything myself, it was more like short stories or articles about true things. Not fiction. Fiction came much later in life.

“What really prompted me to write historical fiction”

And I’m going to share with you what really prompted me to write historical fiction. That was, I had a past life regression. I actually went somewhere and had lots of visions like a movie, really, about a woman named Marie in the 1700s in France.

My husband and I talked about that. Then he said, “Well, why don’t you write a novel about it?”

I thought, Boy, he always tries to push me beyond my limit. I said to myself (I don’t know if I said it out loud to him), “No, I don’t write novels.” But he didn’t let me forget it.

I became very interested in France in that historical period. I read memoirs and books, and I was trying to validate some of the things that I had seen in this regression that I had. I then took a course at Gotham Writing School to write romance novels. It’s in New York City…. I took the online course. I met some really interesting people there and started writing Return to Chateau Fleury. Now that’s my second novel that’s going to be out in November of this year. It’s a complex novel because I’m writing about two lifetimes – a current lifetime and also one in the 1700s, about Marie’s life basically.

So I really didn’t feel I had the skills to put it together properly, and I set it aside and did Silk or Sugar, a follow-up novel on their daughter, on Marie’s daughter who was caught in the horrors of the French Revolution.

“Main Thrust of Novel”

Now I’m confessing that I had a past life regression that I’ve never really talked about. But I think it’s important because that is going to be the main thrust of this novel, the two lives and trying to reconcile them because Claire, who is the heroine, is also experiencing flashbacks to her previous life. Then she eventually has past life regressions and is trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on in her life.

Now she is a descendant of Marie de Fleury. She has family heirlooms, a locket, and a diary. So that factors into the Return to Chateau de Fleury as well.

So basically, I didn’t start out thinking I was going to write historical novels. Nor did I plan to. But eventually, I did, and I’m enjoying it very much now.

Angie: So would you say that writing historical fiction, for you, is really learning more about yourself?

Elizabeth: I think so as well as combined fascination with France and the life that I have found that people had there. I like reading different memoirs that were written by various people that lived there at that time.

“I always loved things French”

And the other interesting thing is, although I grew up in Virginia around all the American historical places and things and my mother loved Colonial furniture and all that, I always loved things French. I wanted to learn to speak French, and there were no French people in my community at all. Louis XV style always appealed to me. I didn’t know why, but I knew what I liked. I think, too, that is another reason that I wanted to write French stories.

What I’m writing now is part of my French Connection series. And so I love doing the research on each of the specific periods such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine. That’s been a lot of fun and interesting for me to do the research on their lives because I didn’t know anything about them, and I’ve learned a lot.

Angie: That’s the neat thing about research. You learn so much.

Elizabeth: That’s what I enjoy. In future writings, I do want to write about my surroundings in Virginia. I was born in a brick plantation house. I moved away, or my family did and took me with them, so I really don’t really remember anything much. But I have been back to that house, seen it, and visited the room I was born in on the third floor…. I miss the architecture of back east.


Article was written by and interview conducted by Angie Horn,

Author, Blogger, & Social Media Specialist, angelahorn.com



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Historical Fiction – a Look at Why Authors Choose to Write in this Genre

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Historical Fiction and My Interest in Writing the Genre

historical fiction

Elizabeth Pye Author of Silk or Sugar

Have you ever wondered why authors write about the genres they do, such as historical fiction? They either have a purpose or interest driving them to write in their areas of expertise and/or research.

In my case, I have always been attracted to France since childhood. This seems unusual because I grew up in rural Virginia and was not surrounded with much of anything French. Regardless of my lack of exposure, I wanted to learn to speak and read French. My writing passion came later when I became obsessed with French history after my husband and I traveled in Europe. Now I write historical fiction and interweave places we visited and all things French into the settings of the series I’m currently writing. It’s my way of being there in that time and place.

Plotting the story-getting started

I’m beginning to plot the third book in my French Connection series. So far all of the work has been done in my head. Now I am at a point I can begin to rough out my ideas on paper. This approach is because I don’t work from a detailed outline when writing. But what I have done is determined that Anne and Adrien, from the Silk or Sugar novel, are the main characters. The story opens in 1804 France with Adrien still serving in Napoleon Bonaparte’s Republican Army. New Orleans comes into the story and will involve plantation life and bring forward characters found in Silk or Sugar. I always start out using the working title of the main character, in this case, Anne’s Story.

As I write the chapters, the story comes more and more into focus. It goes without saying, I research each chapter for the fine details to enrich each scene. That’s when my muse kicks in any time of the day or night and, I receive inspirations for new scenes for twists and turns in the novel. It’s as if the pieces of the puzzle come together before my mind’s eye. Now how do I explain that process? One bit of advice I must emphasize is that when the muse speaks, you better record it immediately. If you delay, it will be lost forever.

Why Do Authors Write Historical Fiction?

Ask ten historical fiction authors why they write in the genre, and you will receive ten different answers. Reasons may include replies such as:

  1. I’m curious about history and the people of the past.
  2. I love to imagine what life was like in past eras and places.
  3. Writing historical fiction is a way to make the connections from past eras to the present.
  4. Readers buy historical novels.

Author B. J. Hoff, formerly a church music director and music teacher, chose to write historical fiction because she loved reading, listening to, and making up stories from early on in life. When the preacher in Sunday School said, “Let me tell you a story,” he had her attention. B. J. enjoys creating communities in historical settings where “people can form relationships, raise families, and pursue their faith.”

What type of historical novels do readers like?

Walk into a bookstore, and you’ll find numerous genres to choose from. Writers are encouraged by their mentors to learn which of the genre categories the title of their books would be located in.

Historical fiction is a broad category. Since genres overlap, it is a good idea for authors to carefully study the appropriate category and sub-category sections in which readers will discover their published titles. The historical fiction genre may include any of these subgenres:

  • Historical Romance
  • Historical Mysteries
  • American Historical Fiction
  • Historical Novels
  • Fictional Biographies
  • Historical Fantasy
  • Children’s Historical Fiction
  • Young Adult Historical Fiction

How do authors determine if their books are considered historical novels?

Answers certainly vary according to each author. Historical Novels Review defines a “historical novel” as set fifty years or more in the past and written from research, not personal experience. A teenager would consider the 1950’s to be old.

Old takes on different meanings, depending on the age of the writer. The 1950’s may sound old to young people but not to older individuals. One thing can be agreed on, however. A novel can fall under the category of historical fiction if it is about events or people set in the past.

Anybody can make history; only a great man can write it.

Oscar Wilde


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Write Inspiring Historical Fiction by Following These 4 Tips

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Find Inspiration to Write by

Following Your Interests

tips for authors who write historical fiction

Courtyard Inspiration

Each author tells a little different story when relating the process used to kick-start and write their book. What I am going to share with you is my unique experience that may be useful to you– at least I hope so. The genesis of the process takes place within my head. Characters tumble around in my thoughts like kernels of corn popping open in the microwave. Of course, in my case, the characters come to life out of the shadows of history, primarily from eighteenth- or nineteenth- century France.

So what do I do to join them in their surroundings? Read more ›

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