It is a pleasure to warmly welcome Liza Perrat to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews for A Tea Break with Mrs B, a short form author interview series. To help celebrate the release of The Lost Blackbird, we sat down for a chat. Thanks Liza!
What is your drink of choice as we sit down for a chat about your new book?
A large cup of my favourite tea, “Australian Afternoon Tea” with milk, no sugar, please!
Can you give us an overview of your writing career to date?
I began writing in the year 2000, with an online Creative Writing course. This helped me start to learn the technicalities, in writing firstly articles for magazines, then short stories. I published my first novel (originally a short story that refused to work as a short story!), Spirit of Lost Angels, in 2012.
Can you tell us what inspired the creation of your new book, The Lost Blackbird?
Around 5 years ago, while watching the film, Oranges & Sunshine, I learned about the child migrant scandal that occurred in the latter part of the 20th century. This piqued my interest. How could something like this happen? How could it go on for so long? I wanted to know more about this tragic event in British-Australian history.
What was the research process like for The Lost Blackbird and what sources did you use?
Since this history is quite recent, there’s a lot of information available online. I also spoke with a member of the Child Migrants Trust, and a former child migrant, both of whom were very helpful. I also read the memoirs of several child migrants.
Did you have an affinity with a particular character in The Lost Blackbird and why?
Funnily enough, I became attached to Dolly Ashwood, who does not come across as a really likeable character. But I really understood her, and empathised with what she did, and why.
What is one thing that you really hope readers will take away from the experience of reading The Lost Blackbird ?
I hope to bring about awareness for the suffering of the child migrants in evoking this scandal in a fictitious form.
How has your writing process been affected by COVID-19?
My initial shock and disbelief at this terrible situation did put the brakes on any creative thoughts for a while. But, finally, as one does, I have come to accept this as the “new normal” and I am just getting on with life as best I can, while taking all the precautions, of course.
What are you working on writing wise at present?
I am currently trying to get with the massive job of book marketing, the aspect of writing I have pretty much ignored from the start. That in itself seems to be a fulltime job! I also have a new series simmering on the back burner, which will be set in a rural French village, much like the one in which I live. But with a lake. It’s so hot right now, I will need to add a lake for the villagers to swim in, ha!
Thank you for the lovely tea break and chat Liza. Congratulations on the release of your new book, The Lost Blackbird.
A powerful story of sisters cruelly torn apart by a shameful event in British-Australian history. Clare Flynn, author of The Pearl of Penang
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 Paperback version will be available shortly.
Connect with Liza here: