Susanne Alleyn

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Susanne Alleyn

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The granddaughter of children’s author Lillie V. Albrecht (author of Deborah Remembers, The Spinning Wheel Secret, and three other historicals, all now available for Kindle), Susanne Alleyn definitely doesn’t write for children, unless, like her, they have found guillotines, high drama, and the French Revolution fascinating since the age of ten or so.

Susanne grew up in Massachusetts and New York City. After studying acting and singing, and earning a B.F.A. in theater from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Susanne eventually came to the conclusion that, as an actor, she was quite a good writer, and that sending out manuscripts to editors and agents was still easier on the nerves than going to auditions. (She can, nevertheless,
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Susanne Alleyn Hi Renee, and thank you!

I suppose the short answer to your question is simply "Read, read, read." In the end, there's not a lot of difference between…more
Hi Renee, and thank you!

I suppose the short answer to your question is simply "Read, read, read." In the end, there's not a lot of difference between researching for HF and for writing nonfiction history. Primary sources are always ideal, always taking into account any possible bias on the part of the author.

Once you know which period you're really passionate about, start general and quickly go specific. Find a corner in a local college library, if you can, and hit the stacks. I started learning about the French Revolution by reading a comprehensive layman's history of the period, cover to cover. Then I branched off by reading about specific people whom I found particularly interesting, biographies cover to cover. Read firsthand period memoirs/autobiographies if you can find them (primary sources rather than secondary sources). I'd begin there.

Then, depending on which period you are researching and the sources available, go into the primary sources -- most useful for our needs are newspapers and/or magazines (if available), and fiction and/or drama, epic poetry, etc -- FROM the period, not ABOUT the period, as I stress in the book. The "Daily Life In ___" books are always helpful; they condense the material you'll find in the primary sources, but don't stop with them.

Newspapers before the mid 19th century are not terribly reliable for facts about the historical events they're reporting, but are great for "daily life" details because the ads, the personal columns, announcements, etc, are perfect little glimpses into the past. Because of 1790s newspapers, I can tell you who was the major seller of sheet music in Paris at the time, or that a certain lady was making enough money from her miracle hair lotion to make it worth her while to advertise it. You can see the progression of attitudes during the Revolution from, in early 1789, court circulars giving fawning details about the king and queen's routines; to, a couple of years later, as the Revolution went on, a review of a play that definitely was about the "little guy" fighting and triumphing over the Establishment; to announcements (during the Terror, after the monarchy was overthrown) of plays that were all about ridiculing kings and aristocrats. This is the sort of research you do that eventually will make you feel entirely at home in the period you're writing about, and once you're that comfortable in the period, the background of your historical fiction will be convincing.(less)
Susanne Alleyn Hello Dona,
Thank you so much for your kind message. I'm so pleased you are enjoying "A Far Better Rest." As for the ending, all I'm allowed to tell…more
Hello Dona,
Thank you so much for your kind message. I'm so pleased you are enjoying "A Far Better Rest." As for the ending, all I'm allowed to tell you is, well, the endings of most of my books are bittersweet . . . never fear, you can do it! Chin up and carry on! :-)

Take care,
Susanne(less)
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The Cavalier of the Apocalypse Palace of Justice Game of Patience A Treasury of Regrets
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The Just-About-Cocky Ms M added a status update: I'm staying away from historical fiction for a while--need the rest from critiquing what amounts to every other paragraph. Love Greg Iles because he's so dark!
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“The English criminal code, later known as the "Bloody Code," was brutal in the late 18th century. By the time the first legal reforms were enacted in 1826, 220 crimes—many of them relatively petty crimes against property as Dickens describes in the rest of the paragraph—were punishable by death.”
Susanne Alleyn, A Tale of Two Cities: A Reader's Companion

“Everybody present, except the one wigged gentleman who looked at the ceiling, stared at him. All the human breath in the place, rolled at him, like a sea, or a wind, or a fire. Eager faces strained round pillars and corners, to get a sight of him; spectators in back rows stood up, not to miss a hair of him; people on the floor of the court, laid their hands on the shoulders of the people before them, to help themselves, at anybody's cost, to a view of him—stood a-tiptoe, got upon ledges, stood upon next to nothing, to see every inch of him.”
Susanne Alleyn, A Tale of Two Cities: A Reader's Companion

“turning an immense pecuniary Mangle.”
Susanne Alleyn, A Tale of Two Cities: A Reader's Companion

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17740 Q&A with Beth Groundwater — 413 members — last activity Mar 13, 2015 09:44AM
Feel free to ask me a question here any time. I'll try to answer it as quickly as possible. Also, I'm available to Skype or speakerphone with book clu ...more



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Susanne Reading and writing, cool! Thanks!


Jeannie and Louis Rigod Susanne,

Thank you for your friendship. Your books look interesting. Have a happy Spring/Summer of reading/Writing.

Jeannie and Louis


Susanne Thanks, Beth!


message 2: by Beth

Beth Hi Susanne,
Thanks for befriending this fellow Goodreads author!


Daniel
Susanne, I've added Game of Patience, A Treasury of Regrets and your other book A Far Better Rest to my to-read list.


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