How One Author Blends Fact and Fiction
Writing novels and knowing how to blend fact and fiction is an art, one that Author Elizabeth Pye accomplishes in the historical fiction book, Silk or Sugar, the first book in The French Connection series. The sequel, Return to Chateau Fleury, is to be published October 2017.
How do you tell what is fact and what is fiction in a historical fiction book? Or can you? Fiction writers include dialogue that seems to fit, according to the research of a particular era. On the other hand, part of the dialogue might actually have been recorded in a diary. It must be considered, however, that even diary authors write with a biased opinion. One event told by three individuals produces three accounts, expressed with different viewpoints. Finally, it is up to the reader which report to believe.
Find out how Elizabeth blends fact and fiction in her novel writing in this interview:
Elizabeth Pye is the author of Silk or Sugar and its upcoming sequel, Return to Chateau Fleury.
Interview with Elizabeth Pye by Angie Horn:
Fact and fiction:
Angie: How do you determine what is fact and what is fiction in your books?
Elizabeth: I write historical romance fiction, so presumably everything is fictional, even when I am writing about historical figures. That needs to be made clear right up front. That’s my perception of those people and what I have read about them. Basically, I think it’s a fact that, yes, Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine, he was First Counsel, and then he became Emperor; and those kind of things are factual.
But, basically, there’s really… fact is not an important element. It’s just important not to misrepresent anyone that is a historical character and to make them as real as possible. And so that way I read memoirs and other books that are available. There may be direct quotes about what Napoleon said. I may not use the direct quote, but I get the essence of how his demeanor was when he said that in the presence of the memoir writer, so I would say he was short-tempered about something. I can say that because it was known to be. It’s how he was.
So basically, most of my characters are fictional, strictly from my imagination. But as I shared earlier, Marie and Janine were not just in my imagination. They were the result of something I saw in my past life regression. But that said, some people would say, that’s in my imagination. That’s basically how it is. I’m not writing a story, trying to tell you about history as it actually should be written. I’m telling you about a story as I imagine it took place in an historical setting. So that’s pretty much how it is as far as I know.
Elizabeth’s Hypnotherapy Experience:
Angie: Do you have an anecdote to share about a reading or fan interaction?
Elizabeth: Well, it’s neither a fan nor a reading, but I think this is somewhat interesting that I got interested enough in hypnotherapy that I took a course in it. I completed that course and became a certified hypnotherapist. I kept that status for two years because that’s what it (the certification) was issued for. I really didn’t do it to help people stop smoking or even to do past life regressions. I did it because of my personal interest, and so I did some regressions and things on family and friends but never went into the business.
That was in 2006, by the way. At the end of the two years, I didn’t renew my certification because I thought, well, I’m not going to be doing this all the time. You had to take new courses and keep up with the field which made sense. But I thought it was sort of interesting. I actually was a certified hypnotherapist.
Angie: That is news to me. I did not know.
Elizabeth: I knew you didn’t. Most people don’t know. Very few do.
Angie Horn: Which makes sense as far as how you’ve explained what made you want to write historical fiction to begin with.
Elizabeth: Yes, and like I also mentioned, in Return to Chateau Fleury, there are regression scenes in that story, and I feel I’m prepared to write them because I’ve gone through the course and I’ve been regressed and regressed others so I know about it.