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Virtual Book Club: Liza Perrat introduces The Swooping Magpie

For my first post of 2019, I’m delighted to welcome Liza Perrat back to Virtual Book Club, my interview series that gives authors the opportunity to pitch their novels to your book club. 

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.

The first book in Liza’s new Australian series, The Silent Kookaburra, published in November 2016, is a psychological suspense set in the 1970s. The second in this series, a medical drama, The Swooping Magpie, was published in October 2018.

Liza is a co-founder and member of the writers’ collective, Triskele Books, and also reviews books for Bookmuse.

Read until the end to find out how you can win one of five free eBooks. But you’ll need to be quick!  

Q: What is it about your novel that you feel makes it particularly suitable for book clubs?

A: The story of The Swooping Magpie was inspired by a true-life scandal that shocked Australia. Many readers my age (mid-50s), my main readership, may have been affected by this scandal, and thus the subject of the book would make for a good discussion topic.

Q: What drives you to write?

A: It’s something I HAVE to do. I don’t know why, but there are all these stories bouncing about in my brain, vying to jump out onto the page/screen.

Q: Can I ask, what was your first recognition/success as an author?

A: Winning The Writers’ Bureau short story competition. I couldn’t believe it, and was certain they’d made a mistake. Since someone thought my story was good enough to win a competition, I gained the confidence to tackle novel-writing.

Q: Is your day job a distraction or does it add another element to your writing?

A: My day job (3 days a week) is simply a way to earn money, while freeing up some time to write, which is my main passion in life … after dark chocolate.

Click here to look inside or buy

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…

“A searing tale of lost innocence – compelling writing from an author at the top of her game.” ~ Lorraine Mace, author of the D.I. Paolo Sterling crime series.

“Capturing the attitude and angst of the teen years, and all the atmosphere of the late sixties, The Swooping Magpie’s sizzling narrative and cracking pace hooked me from the start. It’s a tearjerker too… I actually cried.” ~ Dr. Carol Cooper, journalist and novelist.

“The author has, once again, delivered an emotional and thought-provoking story, which is both compelling and desperately sad in equal measure.” ~ Jaffa Reads Too

Q: The protagonist in The Swooping Magpie is sixteen-year-old Lindsay Townsend. What words best describe her?

A: Young, pretty, naïve, arrogant, schoolyard-bully, lacking love, searching for affection, craving attention.

Q: Where is the book set and how did you decide on its setting?

A: It is mainly set in 1970s Wollongong, a (then) coastal town an hour south of Sydney, New South Wales. It’s where I grew up; in the 70s, so writing the story was a bit of a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Also, I love that region, and have great memories of it during those years of change – a time when Australia was on the cusp of women’s lib and feminism, and everyone was stamping their feet in protest about Uncle Sam forcing our part in the Vietnam War.

Q: Writing about a real life event, did you know where this book was going to go right from the start?

A: I knew what was going to happen in The Swooping Magpie, and why, but I didn’t know how the story was going to end. My husband advised me to go with the “happy ending”, which was good advice, as readers seem satisfied.

Q: During the creative process, do you hone in on the detail and then pan out to the bigger picture or the reverse?

A: The reverse. I need to visualise the general scene or chapter in my mind first, which I scribble down in a few sentences. Once this “outline” is done, and I can see it has legs, I’ll fill in the details, bit by bit. Each version of the story expands a little more.

Q: How do you deal with the responsibility that comes with writing about events that actually happened?

A: I feel it was a great responsibility to incorporate my fictional story into factual events. I read widely, and more importantly, spoke to many different people who’d been directly affected by this scandal. I won’t go into details about it, as that would spoil the storyline!

Q: In that case, I won’t press you. To end with, which book would you give to a young person and why?

A: Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor. When events in our history change a life of open-mindedness and intolerance to warped ideology, the effect can be devastating. This powerful and timeless tale, evoking the horror of grief of the Nazi regime, is just as relevant in today’s world of intolerance.

Want a free eBook of The Swooping Magpie?  

Be one of the first five to comment on this post. 

Want to find out more about Liza and her writing? 

Visit her Website or her Blog. 

Twitter: @LizaPerrat

Find her on Facebook.  

Liza is willing to visit your book club via Skype, so do get in touch!

Giveaway: 5 e-Books of The Swooping Magpie. All regions.

And, once again, here are the retail links for The Swooping Magpie:

Ebook

Paperback. 

If there’s anything else you’d like to ask Liza, just leave a comment.  

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One comment

  1. Thanks so much for featuring The Swooping Magpie Jane!

    Comment by Liza Perrat on January 9, 2019 at 12:23 am




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