☼ Jaffareadstoo is delighted to welcome you all to our Summer Picnic ☼
Pull up a deck chair, tie knots in your hanky and roll up your trouser legs!
☼ Summer time is here ☼
☼ I'm delighted to welcome author, Liza Perrat to our picnic ☼
What favourite foods are you bringing to our summer picnic?
I’m bringing cold ratatouille cooked with veggies from my daughter’s organic garden, fresh wholegrain bread and runny camembert cheese. And for dessert there’s a fruit salad of strawberries, raspberries and rock melon.
Would you like chilled white wine, a flute of Prosecco, a tumbler of Pimms, or a tall glass of sparkling elderflower cordial?
I’d love the chilled white wine but that would send me to sleep in five minutes at a sunny, summer lunchtime picnic. So the elderflower cordial please.
Where shall we sit, by the pool, in the garden, in the countryside, at the seaside?
The seaside is my favourite place, preferable in the shade of a eucalyptus tree.
Do we have a wicker hamper, tablecloth and cutlery, or is everything in a supermarket carrier bag?
Oh definitely a snazzy wicker hamper, a checkered tablecloth and proper cutlery and glasses.
Which of your literary heroes are joining us on the picnic today?
Anne Tyler, Wally Lamb, Maggie O’Farrell and Daphne du Maurier, as reading their books has influenced my own writing. Also all of my favourite author friends from the Sanctuary Facebook group –– they know who they are! –– because it would be really fun to see them in person, rather than on a Zoom screen.
What is your earliest summer memory?
Spending every day of the long, hot Australian summer on the beach. I was about five, and had a lime-green swimming costume with a big white flower at the front. We never wore sunscreen in those days –– apart from a stripe of white zinc on the nose –– and were dark brown by the end of summer. That’s why, all these years later, our skin is so spotted and leathery and every mole we fear is a melanoma.
Do you have a favourite summer hideaway?
I’ve lived in France for 27 years and for many of those we were forced to go away in the hot and crowded summer school holidays. Now the children are grown up we have the luxury of getting away at quieter times of the year, and we enjoy spending the summer at home. A nice swim and a poolside drink at the end of the day is wonderful, especially at the peak of summer when all the neighbours are away and it’s quiet and peaceful. Though this year, with the health crisis, most of the neighbours are staying home, so it’s not that quiet or peaceful.
Do you find that your reading tastes differ between winter and summer?
No, I tend to enjoy the same kinds of books all year round.
Do you find it easier to write in the summer months or during the winter?
I find it easier to write during the winter, cosy and rugged up and not really wanting to go outside. In summer, I just want to be outside walking in the hills around our house, swimming in the pool, or relaxing in the shade with a book. I also find it harder to concentrate in the heat.
Would you like to tell us a little about your latest novel, or your current work in progress?
My newly-released novel is called The Lost Blackbird, and explores the child migrant scandal, based on the findings of a Nottinghamshire Social Worker. In 1986, Margaret Humphreys received a letter from a woman who claimed that at the age of four she was shipped to a children’s home in Australia, and wanted help to find her relatives in Britain.
Margaret Humphreys eventually exposed the vast scandal of child migration: 150,000 children had been deported from children’s homes in Britain and shipped off to a “new life” in distant parts of the Empire. Many were told their parents were dead. Parents were told their children had been adopted. And, for many children, this “better life” ended up being one of slavery, deprivation and abuse. In 1987, Mrs Humphreys set up the Child Migrants Trust, which aims to reunite former British child migrants with family.
Liza, where can we find you on social media?
More about Liza
Liza grew up in Australia, working as a general nurse and midwife. She has now been living in France for twenty-seven years, where she works as a part-time medical translator and a novelist.
She is the author of the French historical The Bone Angel series:
Three French village midwife-healers. Three stories spanning six hundred years. Three women linked by an ancient bone talisman and bonded by living through turbulent times: the Black Death, the French Revolution, the WWII Nazi Occupation. Each brings its own threats and dangers, in this box set of historical novels based on real events. Click here
The first book in Liza’s Australian series, The Silent Kookaburra is a domestic noir, psychological suspense set in 1970s Australia. The second in the series, The Swooping Magpie is currently under revision.
Get your copy of The Lost Blackbird E-book HERE
Read The Lost Blackbird for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.
The Paperback version is HERE
Sign up for new book releases and receive a FREE copy of Friends & Other Strangers, Liza’s award-winning collection of Australian short stories.
If you enjoy Liza’s books, follow her on BOOKBUB