Liza Perrat’s novel Spirit of Lost Angels has been nominated in both the Best Novel and Best Historical Fiction categories for the 2013 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards.
Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general 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.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, 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.
We invited Liza to share some thought on her book and the inspiration behind it.
300-Year Old Stone Cross Sparks Idea for Spirit of Lost Angels
I am Australian, but have lived in rural France for twenty years now, and one Sunday, when I was out walking, I stumbled, literally, over a small stone cross on the banks of the Garon River. I learned that this cross is one of the well-known Fifteen Crosses Walk of the village. Named croix à gros ventre (cross with a big belly), it is engraved with two entwined tibias and a heart shape. The date carved into the old stone is 1717, and the cross commemorates two children who drowned in the GaronRiver.
I was intrigued. Who were these children? How old were they? How had they drowned, and where are they buried? I hiked up to the local historical organisation and learned the children were four and five years old, and are buried in the cemetery of a neighbouring village.
Reading about them gave me the urge to write the story of these lost little ones; to give them a family, a village, an identity. The village of Lucie-sur-Vionne was born, the VionneRiver and the family farm––L’Auberge des Anges (The Inn of Angels).
Thus began my foray into historical fiction––a trilogy encompassing different generations of L’Auberge des Anges, of which Spirit of Lost Angels is the first, published in May, 2012 under the Triskele Books (www.triskelebooks.co.uk) label, an independent writers’ collective with a commitment to quality and a strong sense of place.
The second story in the series––Wolfsangel––follows the descendants of the Charpentier family of L’Auberge des Anges when, a hundred and fifty years after the French Revolution, the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne comes under the heel of the Nazi occupation. A visit to the haunting site of Oradour-sur-Glane sparked the idea for Wolfsangel, which will be published in December, 2013.
I am now busy working on the third in the series––Blood Rose Angel––which continues the saga of a midwife from the same family, during the 14th century Black Death years.
My agent did not manage to sell Spirit of Lost Angels to one of the “biggie” traditional publishers, and my fears of self-publishing at that stage (a year ago) held me back from going this route alone. I had joined an online writing group several years previously, and connected with two of the writers.
Both of them in similar situations with their books and agents, we got together and discussed the idea of forming an authors’ collective. Within the safety net of mutual support, editing, and encouragement, indie publishing began to seem like an attractive, and viable, option. And, after months of discussions and planning, Triskele Books (www.triskelebooks.co.uk) was born.
I am very excited that Spirit of Lost Angels has been nominated in two categories––Best Novel and Historical Fiction––for the 2013 EFestival of words awards.
For more information on Spirit of Lost Angels and the next books in the series, as well as other Triskele Books releases, please refer to:
Twitter: @LizaPerrat / @TriskeleBooks