Spyderwort Press

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Susanne Alleyn


Historical Fiction & Nonfiction

The short version:

Susanne Alleyn
has loved history all her life, aided and abetted by her grandmother, children's author Lillie V. Albrecht. Happy to describe herself as an insufferable know-it-all about historical trivia (although she lost on Jeopardy!), Susanne is the author of eight books of historical fiction and nonfiction, and has been writing and researching for nearly three decades.

Contact Susanne or visit her website

The longer version:

The granddaughter of 1960s children’s author Lillie V. Albrecht, and a self-admitted "insufferable know-it-all," Susanne Alleyn definitely doesn’t write for children.

Well, perhaps for slightly warped children who, like her, 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 earning a B.F.A. in theater at New York University, she eventually came to the conclusion that, as an actor and singer, 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, still sing a high C when requested.) Having been unwholesomely fascinated by the French Revolution since she read the Classics Illustrated comic-book version of A Tale of Two Cities as a child, she set out to write about it. Her debut novel, A Far Better Rest, a reimagining of A Tale of Two Cities (what else?) from the point of view of Sydney Carton, was published in 2000.

She had never considered writing mysteries, however, until she suddenly found herself creating a historical mystery plot suggested by an actual series of murders committed in Paris in the early 1800s. Police agent Aristide Ravel made his first appearance in Game of Patience and returned in A Treasury of Regrets (both set in Paris in the Directoire period of 1796-97). They were followed by prequels The Cavalier of the Apocalypse, set just before the Revolution in 1786, and Palace of Justice, the fourth Aristide Ravel novel, set in the middle of the Reign of Terror.

Susanne recently completed her sixth novel, The Executioner's Heir, biographical fiction about real-life 18th-century Parisian executioner Charles-Henri Sanson, and she intends to cover the entire French Revolutionary period in future Ravel novels.

In the works: the sequel to The Executioner's Heir, provisionally titled The King's Executioner; more Ravel novels; and other nonfiction projects, following the surprise success of her writer's guide Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders: A Writer’s (and Editor’s) Guide to Keeping Historical Fiction Free of Common Anachronisms, Errors, and Myths, a No. 1 Amazon bestseller in Fiction Writing, in which she demonstrates just how much of an insufferable know-it-all she actually is.

She would like to add that she speaks French very badly.

Susanne and her cats live in New York State.

"That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger," said Snape coolly. "Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all."
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Books by Susanne Alleyn

The Cavalier of the Apocalypse
Historical Mystery (Aristide Ravel Mysteries #1)

St Martin's Press, 2009
Spyderwort Press, 2014

The Executioner's Heir
Historical Fiction
Spyderwort Press, 2013

A Far Better Rest
Historical Fiction
Soho Press, 2000
Bella Rosa Books, 2010

Game of Patience
Historical Mystery (Aristide Ravel Mysteries #3)
St Martin's Press, 2006
Spyderwort Press, 2011

Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders
Spyderwort Press, 2012
Third edition, 2015

Palace of Justice
Historical Mystery (Aristide Ravel Mysteries #2)
St Martin's Press, 2010
Spyderwort Press, 2014

The Annotated A Tale of Two Cities
[Originally published as A Tale of Two Cities: A Reader's Companion]
Spyderwort Press, 2014

A Treasury of Regrets
Historical Mystery (Aristide Ravel Mysteries #4)
St Martin's Press, 2007
Spyderwort Press, 2011
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