The Writers Who Read series continues this week with historical romance author Elizabeth Cole.
Who are you?
I’m Elizabeth Cole. I write kissing books—mostly set in the past. They are also very sexy and witty, and have smart, scientifically-minded ladies who are way ahead of their time. So if you despise pithy dialogue or steamy sex scenes, you should totally avoid my stuff.
Which book or series was your gateway into the world of reading?
I think it was fairy tales that got me into reading. I loved my picture books with all the pretty princesses, but then I got into strange and wonderful world of the Brothers Grimm and Perrault and so many others. That led to Tolkien and fantasy! And of course, I grabbed whatever romance novel I could get my hands on, because they were verboten.
Nowadays, what makes you crack open a book instead of pressing play on your favorite Netflix show?
Oh, I love curling up with a book. *Clicks away from window where Daredevil is playing yet again* In all seriousness, it’s sometimes hard for me to read for fun while I’m writing or reading for research. I do have a stack of “reward” books that I read when I need a break…or when my cat needs to cuddle.
Which authors are auto-buys for you? Why?
It’s not so much authors that I auto-buy, but subjects that will grab my attention. I’ll look into any fairytale adaptation, any mention of Beowulf, or anything about maps. I also love unexpected pairings. Did you know Kareem Abdul Jabbar just published a Sherlock Holmes novel? I so bought that.
What is your book kryptonite–those unique settings, tropes, or character types that make you unable to resist reading?
I may have just answered that, but I love character and voice the most. Give me a snarky narrator facing impossible odds, and I’m in. Give me a scrappy team that fights on the side of good, and I’m there till the end.
What is your ideal time and place to read?
Whenever I can relax. I can’t read bit by bit — I need a couple hours, and (preferably) a lot of tea.
Are you a re-reader? Why or why not?
OMG, yes. There are books I read every year, usually at a particular season. Not always the whole thing, but at least a bit. I read the Dark is Rising in early December. Cordelia Underwood gets read in July. I read the Anne of books any time I need to reconnect with a kindred spirit…sometimes you just feel Anneish!
Which books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Mmm, hard to say. I grew up reading and watching a lot of mysteries, and most of my books have a mystery structure or element, even though they’re romances. I love Agatha Christie — she was so precise with her plots and could be so evocative, sketching out a whole character with just a phrase or two. Sometimes less is more.
What makes a book a satisfying read for you?
It’s got to have a strong emotional core. A book can have gorgeous prose or a gripping plot, but if I don’t love the characters and feel for them and want those crazy kids to make it through…I put it down. Life’s too short to read books you don’t love.
What are you reading right now?
At this very moment, I’m reading He Drank, And Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe (for the first time), The Rake by Mary Jo Putney (for the *mumble* time), and The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer (that’s for work…no, really!).
Elizabeth Cole is an author of historical romance. She can be found hanging around museums, coffeeshops, and graveyards…but not after dark. She studied English literature and medieval European history in school, but quickly found that not many job postings required knowledge of the quadrivium or the Crusades (shocking, right?). She is a full-time writer now, but before that she worked in bookshops, libraries, archives, or anywhere there were books to be read. When not writing, she cuddles her cat, watches extremely bad movies, or—ideally—does both as the same time.
Find out more about Elizabeth:
Author Page: elizabethcole.co
Newsletter (you should totally sign up for this)
Elizabeth Cole Facebook page
Latest novel: Beneath Sleepless Stars
Go here to learn about more romance writers who read!