Monday, 18 November 2013

In Conversation with Liza Perrat..

I am delighted to welcome back to Jaffareadstoo



Author of



Perrat Publishing
November 2013



 *~Welcome Liza~*

What can you tell us about Wolfsangel that won’t give too much away?

Wolfsangel is the second book in L’Auberge des Anges series, and follows the descendants of the Charpentier family a hundred and fifty years after the French Revolution, when the village comes under the heel of the German occupation. Even before I had finished writing the first book in the series –– Spirit of Lost Angels –– I knew the characters had more tales to tell. However, to answer your question, Jo, Wolfsangel was directly inspired by a true-life WWII war crime, but telling you about this particular event would spoil the story! I’ll just say that this tragic site has haunted me since I visited it many years ago, and I have included some information about it in the Author’s Note section at the back of Wolfsangel.


Where did you get the inspiration for the title of the book?

The women of Spirit of Lost Angels, Wolfsangel and the third in the series –– Midwife Héloïse – Blood Rose Angel –– all share the same profession: healer, midwife and angel-maker. But they also have a stronger link: an angel pendant carved from bone, which is handed down through the generations of women of L’Auberge des Anges. So, I wanted to keep the word “angel” in all the titles. It is also alludes to the symbol for Das Reich’s 2nd SS Panzer Division, was notorious for the particular war crime on which my story is based: the wolf’s hook, or Wolfsangel.
And lastly, the Wolfs’ angel is a reference to the Jewish family who feature in this story –– Max, Sabine, Talia and Jacob Wolf.


Why did you choose to set this book during WWII?

After Spirit of Lost Angels, I wanted to continue the story of the Charpentier family, their farmhouse and their village, and what might have been their lives during different historical eras and upheavals. During WWII, the Germans did occupy the region of France in which Wolfsangel is set, and there was a large French Resistance presence. Consequently, the local historical association has a lot of documentation on this subject. I was also fortunate enough to meet “Agent du Roc”, an ex-Resistance member who gave me first-hand accounts of what it was really like. Two of the Resistance members in the novel –– Pierre and Antoine –– are based on him. I also stumbled upon an excellent Occupation and Resistance exhibition in a village of the Monts du Lyonnais –– St-Martin-en-Haut –– which features in Wolfsangel as a “safe hideout” for various Resistance members. Photos of the exhibition can be seen here:



Wolfsangel is your second novel in the L'Auberge des Anges series – did you feel more of an obligation to make this book even better than the first?

I strive to improve my writing with each book, and to make every one better than the last. Before Spirit of Lost Angels, I wrote two books, both of which will stay asleep, forever, on my hard drive! I regard them as part of the learning curve. That said though, the story for Wolfsangel seemed to come more easily than the others; it was the kind of story that wrote itself. And those, I’ve found, from the days I wrote short stories, always seem to turn out the best.


The cover of Wolfsangel is very evocative - who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

Oh I’m glad you like the cover, Jo; I’m so thrilled with it too. I worked closely with my very talented Triskele Books colleague and designer, JD Smith. She does the covers for all our Triskele books, as well as our promotional material –– posters, bookmarks, etc. I wanted to evoke the tragic church scene, with the dark clouds. I wanted there illustrate hope, in the bright part of the sky, with the bird. I also tried to go for the strong, rebellious heroine look.


What can you tell us about the next story in the series?

As I said, a bone-carved angel pendant is handed down from mother to daughter in the first two books, and the stories and legends that surround this angel talisman are many and varied. The characters are not certain from where it hails, and from what type of bone it is sculpted. Some say it was probably carved from seal or ox, or walrus tusk. Others believe it was mammoth bone and a few whisper that it was carved from human bone.
I haven’t quite decided where the angel pendant comes from, though I have several ideas, which I’m currently exploring in the third and final novel in the series: Midwife Héloïse – Blood Rose Angel, set in the same French village, during the 14th century Black Plague years. 


Here is the working blurb, to give you some idea:

1348. A bone-carved angel talisman –– family heirloom, evil curse, holy relic. And Héloïse Dumortier, the midwife-healer woman who wears it –– heretic, Devil’s servant, saint.
When the Black Plague arrives, sweeping across France, the superstitious villagers begin to ask who or what is to blame for this pestilence. Fire and foul winds from the East, or the stinking miasmas of stagnant lakes? Is it some malign conjunction of the planets, or God’s wrath against sinners? Perhaps it is the curse of a mere woman.
Amidst the terror, grief and contagion, Héloïse must find the courage and compassion to care for birthing women and plague-stricken victims. She must also fight against those who accuse her.



AUTHOR BIO:

Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a nurse and midwife for fifteen years. When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her husband and three children for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and a novelist.
Several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine and France Today.
She has completed four novels and one short-story collection, and is represented by Judith Murdoch of the Judith Murdoch Literary Agency.
Spirit of Lost Angels, the first in the historical L’Auberge des Anges series was published under the Triskele Books label in May, 2012. The second in the series –– Wolfsangel –– was published in October, 2013, and Liza is working on the third novel in the series –– Midwife Héloïse – Blood Rose Angel –– set during the 14th century Black Plague years.
Liza is a co-founder and member of Triskele Books, an independent writers’ collective with a commitment to quality and a strong sense of place.
Liza reviews books for the Historical Novel Society and Words with Jam magazine.

Contact and Other Information

Twitter: @LizaPerrat
Twitter: @TriskeleBooks



Liza has very kindly offered an amazing giveaway opportunity 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Liza ~ Jaffa and I are delighted to chat with you about Wolfsangel.
It's always a real pleasure to have you visit with us.

Do come back and see us again soon.

***


My thoughts on Wolfsangel


Wolfsangel is the second book in the L’Auberge des Anges trilogy and opens as elderly Céleste Roussel commemorates a tragedy which happened in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne some 68 years earlier. This emotional opening chapter sets the scene for a powerful and dramatic story, which takes the reader back to 1943, and to a dark time in France’s history, when the German occupation of this tiny French village had a profound effect on those who lived and worked under the shadow of cruelty and repression.

Céleste Roussel, and the women of her family, have been connected to the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne, and their home at L’Auberge des Anges for centuries. Strengthened by their ancestry, and running like a silken thread throughout the narrative, is the continuing connection the women of L’Auberge des Anges have with an angel talisman, which exudes strength and positivity to those who wear it. In 1943, Céleste Roussel is the latest keeper of the talisman, she is a spirited young woman, quick witted, courageous and as brave as a lion, but she is also impetuous, capricious and entirely  unpredictable. However, it is her burgeoning relationship with a Reich officer which threatens not just her sanity, but also the safety of those who are precious to her.

With superb skill, the author has manipulated the narrative into a powerful depiction of a dark and dangerous time. Lucie-sur-Vionne is so vividly described that I stood in the market square, and felt that first frisson of excitement as Céleste met the violet eyes of the German officer, Martin Diehl. I rode with her, on the same rickety bicycle, through dank, dark woodland, and cheered with relief when the stealthy movements of the local résistance succeeded in one dangerous mission after another. The squalor, the danger, and the sheer unpredictability of living life constantly looking over your shoulder is so realistic, that you feel as if  you are seeing the story unfold in real time.

Beautifully researched, and based on historical factual evidence, the story has an emotional depth which pervades and which reveals a story of courage, bravery and unforgettable heroism.

I loved it and can't wait for the third and final novel in the L'Auberge des Anges series.



11 comments:

  1. To my eternal shame, I still haven't got round to reading the first in this series - but I'd love to win an e-copy of this one, it sounds wonderful. Thanks for such an interesting feature Josie, and for hosting the giveaway...

    Cheers, Anne
    http://beingannereading.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Great to see you here Anne - I am sure you would really enjoy Wolfsangel.

      Good Luck !

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    2. Thanks for your interest, Anne, and good luck with the giveaway. Best, Liza

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  2. Thanks for a wonderful review and interview, Jo! And also for hosting the giveaway. Best, Liza

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    1. Hi Liza ~ it's always a delight to feature one of your books on our blog. Come back and see us again soon with Book 3 !!

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    2. I certainly will be back with Book 3, Jo!

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  3. I have just ordered the first book in the series, hoping to have a chance to win the second one. Not the e-book, hopefully, as I am an old-fashioned reader!

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    1. Hi Emma and Silvia - thanks for visiting ~ good luck in the giveaway :)

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    2. Thanks for your interest, Emma and Silvia, and best of luck in the giveaway!

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  4. Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway - the lucky winners will be announced soon !!

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  5. I am delighted to say that the winners are Silvia, Anne and Nancy - I hope you enjoy Wolfsangel as much as I did :)

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Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffa and I appreciate your interest.