Today I’m delighted to revisit my Five on Friday interview with Liza Perrat which was first posted in April 2018. It’s been brought up to date to reflect Liza’s latest publications. I first corresponded with Liza when I reviewed her novel The Silent Kookaburra. Since then we have stayed in touch and thanks to shared experiences have become friends.
Liza grew up in Australia, working as a general nurse and midwife. She has now been living in France for twenty-five years, where she works as a part-time medical translator and a novelist. She is the author of the historical The Bone Angel series. The first, Spirit of Lost Angels is set in 18th century revolutionary France. The second, Wolfsangel is set during the WW2 Nazi Occupation and the French Resistance, and the third novel – Blood Rose Angel –– is set during the 14th century Black Plague years.
Her latest novels are set in Australia. The first is a psychological suspense set in 1970’s and the following 2 books are based on ‘shameful’ real events in (not too distant) Australian history.
Over to Liza:
Which piece of music/song would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
I seem to have got stuck in the 1980s as far as music goes, and haven’t really appreciated much music since this era. These are a few of my favourites, which I still love listening to:
Enola Gay by OMD
Heroes by David Bowie
Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds
Avalon by Bryan Ferry
Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.
What (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Dark chocolate from the Chocolaterie de la Fontaine, artisanal chocolate shop in the French village in which I live, reminiscent of Joanne Harris’s Chocolat.
A cool glass of the French wine, Viré Clessé.
Holidays featuring uncrowded beaches. In short, swimming. I only feel good when in the water.
My microwave (I detest cooking, so always make a huge amount at once, to freeze and microwave during the week).
Can you offer a piece of advice for your younger self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff; life is too short.
Enjoy the moment; life, and moments, are short.
Lose weight BEFORE menopause sets in.
Don’t EVER start smoking. Thankfully a non-smoker these days, but it took years to finally kick that foul habit.
After high school, study what you want, not what you think you should, ie, follow your dreams. Otherwise you might regret it.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
I hate snobby people.
I love spending time on my own
I don’t suffer fools gladly
I’m not keen on French food, even though I’ve lived in France for the past 25 years, and it’s the gastronomic capital of the world.
Breast cancer almost-survivor!
Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.
Visit South America
See the Northern Lights
Go back to live in Australia permanently
Write lots more novels
Have a film made out of one of my books
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The Lost Blackbird
London 1962. A strict and loveless English children’s home, or the promise of Australian sunshine, sandy beaches and eating fruit straight from the tree. Which would you choose?
Ten-year-old Lucy Rivers and her five-year-old sister Charly are thrilled when a child migrant scheme offers them the chance to escape their miserable past.
But on arrival in Sydney, the girls discover their fantasy future is more nightmare than dream.
Lucy’s lot is near-slavery at Seabreeze Farm where living conditions are inhuman, the flies and heat unbearable and the owner a sadistic bully. What must she do to survive?
Meanwhile Charly, adopted by the nurturing and privileged Ashwood family, gradually senses that her new parents are hiding something. When the truth emerges, the whole family crumbles. Can Charly recover from this bittersweet deception?
Will the sisters, stranded miles apart in a strange country, ever find each other again?
A poignant testament to child migrants who suffered unforgivable evil, The Lost Blackbird explores the power of family bonds and our desire to know who we are.
The Swooping Magpie
The thunderclap of sexual revolution collides with the black cloud of illegitimacy.
Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Townsend is pretty and popular at school. At home, it’s a different story. Dad belts her and Mum’s either busy or battling a migraine. So when sexy school-teacher Jon Halliwell finds her irresistible, Lindsay believes life is about to change.
She’s not wrong.
Lindsay and Jon pursue their affair in secret, because if the school finds out, Jon will lose his job. If Lindsay’s dad finds out, there will be hell to pay. But when a dramatic accident turns her life upside down, Lindsay is separated from the man she loves.
Events spiral beyond her control, emotions conflicting with doubt, loneliness and fear, and Lindsay becomes enmeshed in a shocking true-life Australian scandal. The schoolyard beauty will discover the dangerous games of the adult world. Games that destroy lives.
Lindsay is forced into the toughest choice of her young life. The resulting trauma will forever burden her heart.
The Silent Kookaburra
All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives –– the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom.
Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had. He tells her she’s beautiful and could be a model. Her family refuses to talk about him. But that’s okay, it’s their little secret.
Then one blistering summer day tragedy strikes, and the surrounding mystery and suspicion tear apart this fragile family web.
Embracing the social changes of 1970s Australia, against a backdrop of native fauna and flora, The Silent Kookaburra is a haunting exploration of the blessings, curses and tyranny of memory.
The Bone Angel Trilogy
Blood Rose Angel
1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint.
Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the people’s respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France.
Terrified that Héloïse will bring the pestilence into their cottage, Raoul forbids her to treat its victims. Amidst the grief and hysteria, the villagers searching for a scapegoat, Héloïse must choose: preserve her marriage, or honour the oath she swore on her dead mother’s soul? And even as she places her faith in the protective powers of her angel talisman, she must prove she’s no Devil’s servant, her talisman no evil charm.
Héloïse, with all her tragedies and triumphs, celebrates the birth of modern medicine, midwifery and thinking in late medieval times.
Seven decades after German troops march into her village, Céleste Roussel is still unable to assuage her guilt.
1943. German soldiers occupy provincial Lucie-sur-Vionne, and as the villagers pursue treacherous schemes to deceive and swindle the enemy, Céleste embarks on her own perilous mission as her passion for a Reich officer flourishes.
When her loved ones are deported to concentration camps, Céleste is drawn into the vortex of this monumental conflict, and the adventure and danger of French Resistance collaboration.
As she confronts the harrowing truths of the Second World War’s darkest years, Céleste is forced to choose: pursue her love for the German officer, or answer General de Gaulle’s call to fight for France.
Her fate suspended on the fraying thread of her will, Celeste gains strength from the angel talisman bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen. But the decision she makes will shadow the remainder of her days.
A woman’s unforgettable journey to help liberate Occupied France, Wolfsangel is a stirring portrayal of the courage and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.
Spirit of Lost Angels
They drowned Victoire’s mother, claiming she was a witch. Then her father died beneath the wheels of a nobleman’s carriage.
Forced to leave her village, Victoire finds work in Paris. But domestic employment comes at a high price and the orphaned girl suffers gruesome abuse at the hands of a diabolical aristocracy.
Accused of a heinous crime, they imprison her in the depraved lunatic asylum, La Salpêtrière.
With the help of ruthless seductress, Jeanne de Valois –– conwoman of the Necklace Affair that brought down Marie Antoinette –– Victoire must find the strength to join the revolutionary force storming the Bastille.
Can she survive a chilling betrayal and rise above her impoverished peasant roots to take her place in this new, post-revolutionary France?
Based on historical fact, Spirit of Lost Angels is a riveting testament to the courage of women facing tragedy, betrayal and insanity in a world where their gift can be their curse.
The Bone Angel Trilogy
no Woman is an Island (Compilation)
Blood Rose Angel, by Liza Perrat
1348, France. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint.
Despite her bastardy, Héloïse has earned respect in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for her midwifery and healing skills. Then the Black Death sweeps into France.
Hidden, by Linda Gillard
A birth. A death. Hidden for a hundred years.
1917.“Lady, fiancé killed, will gladly marry officer totally blinded or otherwise incapacitated by the war.” When Miranda Norton inherits Myddleton Mote and its art collection she is haunted by the dark secrets of a woman imprisoned in a reckless marriage.
The Chase, by Lorna Fergusson
The past will hunt you down.
Gerald Feldwick tells his wife Netty that in France they can put the past behind them. Alone in an old house, deep in the woods of the Dordogne, Netty is not so sure.
Netty is right.
The Chalky Sea, by Clare Flynn
July 1940. When bombs fall, the world changes for two troubled people.
Gwen knows her husband might die in the field but thought her sleepy English seaside town was safe. Amid horror and loss, she meets Jim Armstrong, a soldier far from the cosy life of his Ontario farm. Can war also bring salvation?
Coffee and Vodka, by Helena Halme
Eeva doesn’t want to remember, but in Finland she must face her past.
‘In Stockholm, everything is bigger and better.’ Her Pappa’s hopes for a better life in another country adjust to the harsh reality but one night, Eeva’s world falls apart. Thirty years later, Eeva needs to know what happened.