I'm interviewing historical/romance novelist and dog lover, Lizzie Lane today. Lizzie's latest book, War Orphans, published tomorrow by Ebury Press, is a warm and uplifting saga about a little girl and a puppy's friendship during the blitz.
Lizzie Lane was born and brought up in one of the toughest areas of Bristol, the eldest of three siblings who were all born before her parents got round to marrying. Her mother, who had endured both the depression and war years, was a natural born story teller, and it's from her telling of actual experiences of the tumultuous first half of the twentieth century, that Lizzie gets her inspiration.
Lizzie put both cities and rat race behind her in 2012 and moved onto a boat, preferring to lead the simple life where she can write and watch the sun go down without interruption.
That sounds idyllic, Lizzie.
I asked Lizzie to tell us a bit more about herself
How did you get started writing?
Basically I was broke and writing is not really a proper job, at least my mother wouldn’t have thought so and to some extent we are formed by our parents. I really believed that everybody was stuffed with stories and that it was quite normal to write plays and try and persuade the tough kids in the street to act a part. It wasn’t until my back was against the wall and there was no other way out that I began writing. That was back in 1993. I was published about fourteen months later. Different genres and different names since then, but about fifty novels published to date.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
Whilst writing my socks off with a view to getting published, I answered an ad in the paper for people to write instructions for flat packed kitchens of the Made For Idiots variety. Don’t blame me if you got that unit upside down. I’m far better at writing fiction!
What’s your top writing tip for new writers?
There are two. One is to TELL the story, just as if you were telling it to a friend sitting on the other side of the table. Don’t think grammar or getting the dots and dashes in the right places. Get the story down.
My second tip really is the old adage, write what you know. Some of the things you know are quite surprising, but it’s just that you’ve forgotten you knew them in the first place and that they do have some relevance. That’s how WAR ORPHANS came to be. My editor asked if I knew anything about dogs. I bred them, showed them, trained them and loved them. It had never occurred to me before to write a story around them. So I did.
Lizzie Lane has had a long association with our canine friends, which began with a puppy she named Rusty, a pedigree Irish Red Setter. Encouraged to show him, she went on to get more and more involved in the canine world acquiring more Irish Setters, including one who became a British champion and one Swiss. Besides showing and breeding dogs, she ran dog training classes and even presided as a dog show judge. After the Irish Setters there were German Shepherds, the darling Rudy and later Romeo, both rescue dogs and a delight to own. It’s from this background and knowing dogs so well that she is now including them in her books.
If at all possible, send or take your household animals into the country in advance of an emergency. If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed."
Joanna Ryan’s father has gone off to war, leaving her in the care of her step-mother, a woman more concerned with having a good time than being any sort of parent to her.
But then she finds a puppy, left for dead, and Joanna’s becomes determined to save him, sharing her meagre rations with him. But, in a time of war, pets are only seen as an unnecesary burden and she is forced to hide her new friend, Harry from her step-mother and the authorities. With bombs falling over Bristol and with the prospect of evacuation on the horizon can they stay together and keep each other safe?
Read more at https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1111014/war-orphans/#WuCuffQVxhite4RA.99
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Lizzie. It sounds a fabulous read.