Books a Historical Fiction Author Reads – Interview with Elizabeth Pye

Books a Historical Fiction Author Reads – Interview with Elizabeth Pye

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:

  1. A Nicholas Le Floch Investigation– are mystery novels are set in the period leading up to the time of the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century. The author, Jean-Francois Parot, is a diplomat and historian. Many of them have been translated into English (at least six of them, I know because I have copies).
  2. The Victor Legris Mysteries series is set in Paris in the late nineteenth century. This series takes the reader from the Legris’ bookstore along the Seine to various locations in the city. The author Claude Izner is the pen name of two sisters.
  3. An Aimee Leduc Investigation series is set in Paris in the 1990s with each story set in various quarters of the city. The author Cara Black lives in San Francisco, but she travels frequently to France.
  4. Seasons of Storms is penned by Susanna Kearsley (this is one of many of her historical novels), New York Times best-selling author.
  5. The Lavender Garden is set in France in the late 1990s. Internationally best-selling author, Lucinda Riley, lives in England and France.
  6. Mistress of the Revolution – a story about the turbulent time of the French Revolution. For the King is set in Paris in 1800 during the time of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule. These two historical novels are authored by Catherine Delors, an attorney with an international practice.

New and seasoned historical fiction writers can all learn from reading books by authors in this and other genres. Perhaps you are seeking to expand your personal library. If so, the recommended list and the video of my interview may give you additional ideas for your own historical fiction writing.

My Interview – “Books Elizabeth Reads”:

Elizabeth Pye’s video about books she reads

This recorded video took place on a beautiful sunny Southern California day in Elizabeth’s lovely garden-style courtyard.

The video was recorded by Angie Horn, author, writer, and blogger at,, and

Type of Books Elizabeth Reads

Angie: Do you also like to read historical fiction? What other types of books do you like to read?

Elizabeth: Of course, I like to read historical fiction. And it’s true when I’m writing about France – I am very selective, I read once about France. But I love English history and Scotland and love any historical novel, really; I enjoy them very much.

I like architecture books. That sounds strange in a sense, but I have books about architecture and old homes (and) have a lot of books about them. I enjoy poetry books. So I study and try to improve my poetry. I like mysteries of any kind.

Favorite Authors

Angie: Are there any particular authors that are your favorites?

Elizabeth: Oh, yes. Susanna Kearsley is one of my very favorites. And then there is another author that writes about a detective in Paris, and I really like her very much.


Some of the older stories like Maigret – there are 75 books in Georges Simenon’s Maigret series, and it has been made into a television series several different times. I like reading all of those, and there were tons of those about a French detective in Paris.

Margaret Truman

I remember reading the mysteries written by Margaret Truman. The one that sticks in my mind I really liked was the one about the cathedral in Washington D.C.

So I go through these periods of I find an author I like, and I buy every book I can of theirs and have a stack to catch up on and read, but I, sort of, read that way. I get fixated on a particular one, and then I exhaust them and their writings. Then I go to another one. I’m always looking for new ones. That’s the kind of stories I like to read, and I like biographies a lot.

Angie: Do you incorporate your love for the building of old homes, from what you read, into your own stories?

Oh yes, if it fits. I am quite familiar with many of the great houses in Ireland, England, Scotland – there’s a series of books about The Great Houses Of – and France and all those. I certainly do incorporate things from those into my stories. That’s what makes stories interesting.

Angie: It does. The places you travel, even around where you live, a lot of people have never been there. There are people who have never been to California, the gorgeous weather out here, the sun that shines all the time, very little rain.

Other Writing Interests

Elizabeth: Now you’re bringing to mind I wanted to write about the citrus era here in Southern California and maybe one of the old Spanish style houses and the groves. So that’s another story I’d like to write.

Some of the Spanish or Mission style homes were just beautiful in the 1920s and ‘30s, and I’d like to write about that.

The other thing that I’d like to write…it doesn’t mean I’d like it, but I am so interested in the World War One and World War Two era. I’ve collected books that are stacked up to be read that are about that period. I don’t want to go into all the gory details. I don’t like that, so I’m not going to describe all the battles that the men were in. Some of the women were involved, too, in the gory part. But as a backdrop, how it disrupts their lives and their families’ lives and that kind of thing, I enjoy that sort of book, too.

Angie: So maybe that would be your next series? We’ll be looking for those.

Elizabeth: It could be. So much of the fighting went on in France in both of those world wars, but I could get back in France with that.

Angie: (It’s) something to think about.

Elizabeth: It sure is.

Ange: Thank you very much for this time today with the interview. You’ve got a beautiful place with all your flowers, and I look forward to reading more about flowers. I know you’re going to have gardens in your books.

Elizabeth: Of course.


See the video on why authors write historical novels.

Thank you for visiting my blog today! If you are interested in seeing more from me on writing historical fiction, see my video “Why Do Authors Write Historical Novels?” on this site.

Want to become a member of my Facebook page?

Find more additional quotes and inspiration on writing, historical fiction, and France-related facts and historical information at:



Comments are closed.