I am delighted to welcome Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels
|Photograph by kind permission of Liza Perrat|
2 May 2012
Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the ancien régime. Can she muster the bravery and skill to join the revolutionary force gripping France, and overthrow the corrupt, diabolical aristocracy?
Spirit of Lost Angels traces the journey of a bone angel talisman passed down through generations. The women of L’Auberge des Anges face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse.
Amidst the tumult of revolutionary France, this is a story of courage, hope and love.
Liza, it's lovely to have you visit jaffareadstoo ~ thank you for spending time with us, and for answering our questions about your love of books and writing.
What inspired you to become an author?
After a childhood spent with my nose in books, I became interested in playing with words at about the age of eleven. I still recall a red-faced primary school teacher trying to explain why one does not write, “He ejaculated with joy,” in a composition about a happy man. But, as is the case with most people, “real life” got in the way and I worked as a nurse and midwife for many years, before I took a creative writing course twelve years ago and started to write seriously.
Where did you get the inspiration for Spirit of Lost Angels?
Whilst out walking one day around the French village in which I live, I came across a small stone cross – croix à gros ventre (cross with the big belly) – on the banks of the Garon River. From the very helpful people at the local historical society, I learned this cross commemorates two young children drowned in the river in 1717. Who were they? How did they drown? And where are they buried?
|croix à gros ventre|
Photograph courtesy of Liza Perrat
I felt the urge to write about them; to give these lost little ones an identity, a family, a village. The fictitious village of Lucie-sur-Vionne was thus born, and the family farm, L’Auberge des Anges.
Once the novel was finished, I decided Spirit of Lost Angels would be the first in a three-part historical series as I was keen to explore how the different generations of L’Auberge des Anges struggled through upheavals such as the Black Death, the French revolution and WWII.
Do you write stories for yourself, or other people?
Well, I mainly write for myself, in that I can’t not write. I don’t know if this is a good thing, in that I love making up stories, or a bad thing in that it takes up all my time, but the flea has bitten and infested me, and I’d feel as if my life was empty if I couldn’t write. Also, since I gain immeasurable pleasure from reading, I’d like to think readers might enjoy and be entertained by my stories too.
Do you have a special place to do your writing?
I have a desk downstairs, next to the washing machine and freezer and ever-present ironing pile. It’s nothing fancy, but the cat gives sleepy comfort from his odd-socks box beside me, and I can close the door on the mayhem of the upstairs household of teenagers, husband and television.
What are you writing next?
I recently completed the second novel in the series, Wolfsangel, which deals with the same family, village and inn, during the Nazi occupation of WWII. It’s with my agent who, I hope, is trying to sell it! If she doesn’t, I’ll publish, as I did with Spirit of Lost Angels, through our authors’ collective label: www.triskelebooks.com.
I’m spending this summer researching for the third in the series – Angel of Roses – which is again set in the same village, with the same family, during the 14th century plague years.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m slowly making my way through a huge pile of research books about the plague and medieval France. For pleasure, I’m reading Karen Maitland’s The Gallows Curse.
For readers requiring further information on Spirit of Lost Angels, please refer to my website: www.lizaperrat.com or blog: http://lizaperrat.blogspot.fr/
Thanks very much Jo, for giving me this opportunity to appear on jaffareadstoo!
Liza, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions so thoughtfully, Jaffa and I have enjoyed this interview very much . We wish you continued success in your writing career and very much look forward to reading more in the L'Auberge des Anges series.
Any publishers reading this - do pick up Liza's exceptional novels - they really do deserve to be read by a wider audience.