Today I’m welcoming author Liza Perrat on to my blog for an interview. Wolfsangel, the second book in her series L’Auberge des Anges launched last Saturday, and she’s here to tell us more. (Click here to read my review of the first book in the series, Spirit of Lost Angels.)
What was the inspiration behind Spirit of Lost Angels and Wolfsangel?
The idea for Spirit of Lost Angels, the first book in L’Auberge des Anges historical series, published under the Triskele Books label in 2012, came on a Sunday afternoon walk. I was following the pathway of the nineteen crosses in the rural French village in which I live, and, on the banks of the Garon River, I reached cross number fifteen –– a small, granite cross named croix à gros ventre (cross with a big belly). Engraved with two entwined tibias and a heart shape, it is dated 1717, and commemorates two children who drowned in the Garon River. I was intrigued. Who were these children? How old were they? How had they drowned, and where are they buried? I hiked up to the local historical organization and learned the children were four and five years old, and are buried in the cemetery of a neighbouring village. I felt the urge to write the story of these lost little ones –– to give them a family, a village, an identity. The village of Lucie-sur-Vionne was born, as was the Vionne River and the family farm –– L’Auberge des Anges (The Inn of Angels). Thus began my foray into an historical series that encompasses different generations of this same family.
Wolfsangel stemmed from a visit, many years ago, to the site of a terrible WWII tragedy. This burned-out village haunted me, and I knew one day I would write a story based on this factual event.
Can you tell us a little about how Wolfsangel follows on from Spirit of Lost Angels?
Despite being a standalone novel, Wolfsangel is also the second in this series. I wanted to keep the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne and this family alive, exploring the effects of different historical upheavals on village and family life. The link that binds these women, across the ages, is a bone-carved angel pendant, passed down through the generations.
How long do you spend researching your books?
Oh, quite a long time! I usually spend about 3-4 months or more pre-reading and making notes. Then once the first draft of the story is down, I embark on another frenzy of research. And I keep checking and double-checking facts along the way.
Do you have more books planned in the same series?
I am currently working on the third, and final, book in L’Auberge des Anges series –– Midwife Héloïse – Blood Rose Angel –– which is set in the same rural French village, during the 14th century Black Plague years.
Who are your favourite authors?
Oh there are so many of them, but I’m currently enjoying the works of Karen Maitland, Edith Pargeter, Kate Grenville, Zoe Saadia, C.P. Lesley, Geraldine Brooks, Sarah Waters and Maggie O’Farrell. And, of course, those of my fellow Triskele Books authors: Gillian Hamer, JJ Marsh, JD Smith and Catriona Troth!
I love to hear what other people are reading, so what book is on your nightstand at the moment?
As usual, I’m reading several books at once: a large pile of 14th century research books is beckoning me. For pleasure, I’m reading, and enjoying, The Hangman’s Daughter, Dear Life, and The Snow Child.
Do you ever base characters or elements of their personalities on people you know?
Not consciously, I’d be too afraid people would recognise themselves! Though I’m sure that certain personality traits do show up in my characters, without my being aware of it.
What part of the novel writing process do you find most challenging?
I find getting that first draft down is like wringing blood from a stone. Once I have the storyline set, I can relax a bit, and start my favourite part: tweaking and editing.
Are there any other genres you would like to try writing in?
I’d love to be able to write very gritty, noir crime novels, but so many do it so well, I wouldn’t even try.
- – -
Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years. When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her husband and three children for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine and France Today.
She has completed four novels and one short-story collection, and is represented by Judith Murdoch of the Judith Murdoch Literary Agency.
She is a co-founder and member of the Author Collective: Triskele Books.
Triskele Books Blog (for information on writing and publishing).
Spirit of Lost Angels is available in paperback and e-format at:
Wolfsangel is available in paperback and e-format at:
Friends, Family and Other Strangers From Downunder (a collection of humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia) is available as an e-book at: