I am delighted to welcome Liza Perrat today 🙂
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I’m an Australian author who has been living in rural France for over 20 years. I’ve written a French historical trilogy –– The Bone Angel –– three standalone stories exploring the tragedies and triumphs of a French village family of midwife-healers during the French Revolution (Spirit of Lost Angels), WW2 Nazi-occupied France (Wolfsangel) and the 1348 Black Plague (Blood Rose Angel). My 4th novel, recently published, The Silent Kookaburra, is a psychological suspense story set in 1970s Australia.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
Anywhere and everywhere!
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Not really. Some of them have certain traits from people I know, but I never base an entire character on someone I know.
How do you pick your characters names?
I try and choose names that are suitable to the type of character, the historical era, the story. When I have used French names, I try and find names that English-speaking readers can pronounce easily.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Basically it’s like building a house: slog and labour through the heavy work of first draft foundations. Build up the walls to get the whole structure in shape. Then remove all the debris (cut and edit). Finally, furnish and decorate it: playing around with every word, sentence and paragraph to make it sound and look “nice”.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Wally Lamb, Maggie O’Farrell, Patrick Gale, Sarah Waters, Anne Tyler
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes, I devoured books, especially everything written by Enid Blyton.
When did you start to write?
In the year 2000. I started with an online Creative Writing course, then eventually moved on to novels after writing short stories.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith. I think it’s brilliant!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Via my email or Facebook or Twitter.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Liza! 🙂
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.
Unsettling psychological suspense blending the intensity of Wally Lamb with the atmosphere of Peter James, this story will get under your skin.
Buy your copy HERE
BIO: Liza Perrat
Liza grew up in Australia, working as a general nurse and midwife. She has now been living in France for over twenty 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 novel, The Silent Kookaburra, is a psychological suspense, set in 1970s Australia.
Liza is a co-founder and member of the writers’ collective Triskele Books.
Liza reviews books for Bookmuse.
Sign up for new book releases and receive a FREE copy of Ill-Fated Rose, short story that inspired The Bone Angel French historical series.
EXTRACT: The Silent Kookaburra
Knuckles blanch, distend as my hand curves around the yellowed newspaper pages and my gaze hooks onto the headlines.
HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY. January 26th, 1973. 165-year anniversary of convict ships arriving in Sydney.
Happy? What a cruel joke for that summer. The bleakest, most grievous, of my life.
I can’t believe my grandmother kept such a reminder of the tragedy which flayed the core of our lives; of that harrowing time my cursed memory refuses to entirely banish.
Shaky hands disturb dust motes, billowing as I place the heat-brittled newspaper back into Nanna Purvis’s box.
I try not to look at the headline but my gaze keeps flickering back, bold letters more callous as I remember all I’d yearned for back then, at eleven years old, was the simplest of things: a happy family. How elusive that happiness had proved.
I won’t think about it anymore. I mustn’t, can’t! But as much as I wrench away my mind, it strains back to my childhood.
Of course fragments of those years have always been clear, though much of my past is an uncharted desert –– vast, arid, untamed.
Psychology studies taught me this is how the memory magician works: vivid recall of unimportant details while the consequential parts –– those protective breaches of conscious recollection –– are mined with filmy chasms.
I swipe the sweat from my brow, push the window further open.
Outside, the sun rising over the Pacific Ocean is still a pale glow but already it has baked the ground a crusty brown. Shelley’s gum tree is alive with cackling kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets shrieking and swinging like crazy acrobats, eucalyptus leaves twisted edge-on to avoid the withering rays.
But back in my childhood bedroom, behind Gumtree Cottage’s convict-built walls, the air is even hotter, and foetid with weeks of closure following my parents’ deaths.
Disheartened by the stack of cardboard boxes still to sift through, uneasy about what other memories their contents might unearth, I rest back on a jumble of moth-frayed cushions.
I close my eyes to try and escape the torment, but there is no reprieve. And, along with my grandmother’s newspaper clipping, I swear I hear, in the rise and dump of its swell, the sea pulling me back to that blistering summer of over forty years ago.
Review Quotes : The Silent Kookaburra
A tight and tense family drama which engages the reader’s attention from start to finish, and which bears all the hallmarks of this talented author’s fine attention to detail and natural story telling ability. Jaffareadstoo, book blogger.
A real page-turner with fabulously engaging characters and a gripping plot, the outcome of which I did not guess before the final revelation. Claire Whatley, reader.
An amazing domestic thriller with a gripping storyline, vivid dialogue, a palpable sense of place and time, and a compelling cast of characters that I can’t get out of my head. Carol Cooper, Contemporary Women’s Fiction author.
I have to say this was one of the most compelling reads I have read. Carol Ravensdale, reader.
Liza Perrat brings her sureness of touch, vivid characterisation and ability to convey a strong sense of time and place to this story set in 1970s Australia. Vanessa Couchman, author of The House at Zaronza.
It’s a delight to watch an author grow into her talent. I admire Perrat’s historical fiction, but here she really comes into her own. In moving closer to the present and to her own Australian background, she produces a riveting tale of human frailty and deceit that kept me enthralled even as I dreaded what might happen next. C.P. Lesley, author of the Legends of the Five Directions series.
… nothing better than a good twist or two in a plot, but this was a first for me – one final hammer dropping on the very last page that made my jaw drop! Cindy Taylor, BookBlogger.
The mystery keeps you turning the pages; the description transports you to another place, another time; and the characters by turns amuse, infuriate, entertain and conjure a sense of poignancy and regret. Tricia Gilbey, writer and reader.
… as well-written psychological thrillers often do, it makes you question everything you think you know, culminating in a true twist of an ending that both shocks and makes you ask “Why didn’t I figure this out sooner?” Courtney J. Hall, historical fiction, romance and contemporary author.