Ask the Author: Lizzie Page
What would you like readers to know about you?
I love writing historical fiction inspired by real incidents or real characters. I have written five novels based around WW1 and/or WW2. I am fascinated by modern history. I love reading and reviewing too.
When I’m not reading or writing, I’m with my husband, three kids, and dog. I dislike housework and cooking, which is a shame because I spend a lot of time doing both!
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
The Forgotten Girls was released in February this year. It is a dual narrative, one thread is in 1940s London, the other is among the British ex-pat community in Spain in 2017. Elaine Pinker Parker is working as a clerical officer and trying to keep her brothers together when she falls in love with dashing war correspondent Robert Kapa. Will the relationship go the distance? In 2017, Jen is newly single and holidaying with her difficult family when she finds out that their nana Elaine had an affair with Robert Capa, and what’s more, she might have had his children…
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
I love writing about forgotten women in history. And I’ve always been fascinated by war photography. Robert Capa’s story was so amazing, but I wondered, what about the women on the sidelines? I wanted to write about the woman he loved during WW2. I also wanted to write about how we can struggle with our parents and sometimes, there mightn’t be a happy ever after, but there can be an acceptance.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
Hmm. It’s all quite hard to be fair! Favourite scenes tend to be the climax point/denouement, I guess, or maybe when people get together? I love writing dialogue most of all.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I read a lot of Enid Blyton as a child, and Nina Bawden and then I remember vividly that my Dad met Nina Bawden and I was shocked ‘she’s a real person?!’ That’s when I started thinking, ‘hmm, if it’s a job, I’d quite like that.’
A favourite book in my twenties was ‘A Girls guide to hunting and fishing’ by Melissa Banks. While I’d loved a lot of books before, obviously!, this book really spoke to me, and I felt acknowledged and understood. (And amused, it’s very funny too!)
I was in New York on holiday for the first time when I bought a copy of ‘The Paris Wife’ in a market in Greenwich Village. I loved the cover then I fell in love with the book and not only that, I loved what Paula Mclain had done – bringing voice to characters on the fringes of history. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Since then, I’ve read a lot of historical fiction and am often very impressed (and jealous!) by what the authors have done.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Perseverance really is key. Don’t give up. There will be rejections, obstacles, harsh reviews on the way, but if you want to do it, do it!
As for the actual writing, a lot of it is about choices – you chose what to goes in, you chose what stays out. Make wise choices – think about the book as a whole, not just the bits you like – and make it interesting. If it doesn’t interest you, it certainly won’t interest your reader.
The story is crucial. Get it down. And edit later. Write in small steps, sentence by sentence by sentence. Soon you’ll have a book. You can do it!
My next book is out in September and is about a young Viennese woman who goes to work as a domestic servant in London, 1930’s and has to fight to get her family out when the Nazis invade Austria.