Wednesday, 14 November 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Lizzie Page

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with author Lizzie Page.

Lizzie grew up in Southend, Essex then studied politics at University. After that, she travelled and worked abroad, mostly teaching Estuary English to unsuspecting students in Paris and Tokyo. Lizzie now lives in Leigh on Sea with husband, Steve, three children and a cockapoo, Lenny. She loves reading and writing historical fiction and although she enjoys most eras, Lizzie is most interested in the First World War probably because of the massive changes women went through during those very hard years.

What kind of books do you write?

I write about interesting women in the past, especially during World War One, and their friendships, relationships and struggles to belong or be themselves.

Can you describe your writing why?

I think I write to make sense of things and to bring order to my chaotic inner world. I particularly enjoy shining a light on little-known women from the past. I do really love the whole process of writing – from the kernel of an idea to developing it, to plotting, shaping, new chapters, editing, finding a title etc, and I love the publication process from the marketing to reading the reviews - even if its excruciating at times. The whole thing is a thrill and a privilege and that is a great motivation to keep going. 

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

I love writing all my books, but ‘The War Nurses’ have a special place in my heart for me. Its based on the real lives of two incredible women, Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm. I am quite the misery-monger - the more miserable it is, the more enjoyable I find it is to write. Things are really sad for my main character at this point…

‘I didn’t stop thinking about Elsie and what I had done. I wrote to her care of Dr Munro, but my cards and letters were returned to me unopened. The pocket watch I had engraved came back and it had lost its time. Martha told me to ‘forgive myself’ and even ‘there’s nothing to forgive’, but I know I would never quite feel at peace again.
I had made a most terrible mistake.
I joined a small church with an understanding vicar who’d served in Vimy. When I prayed, the Lord forgave me, but alas the relief was only temporary. Back in the real world, the darkness never seemed to lift. The war staggered on until November 1918 when the armistice came. I stayed put in London. I was trying to work out what to do or where to go. I felt a pull to Scotland, yet I was hesitant to cut the cord with my parents. I didn’t make them happy, but the thought that I might move north made them unhappier. I gained a reputation for being a good nurse. I was not the most educated or most innovative, but I was reliable and caring. I was a good nurse but I felt like such a worthless person that it didn’t mean much to me.

Tell us about your latest project

Daughters of War is released November 12th published by Bookouture. 

In 1915, May Turner leaves her philandering husband, George and her daughters to work in a field hospital in The Somme. As the war goes on, she finds she has to make the impossible choice between duty to her family and the soldiers on the front line. Can she live with the consequences if her husband goes through with what he’s threatening to do? Daughters of War is inspired by a real war nurse, poet and writer, Mary Borden and her journey is very powerful. Ultimately, Daughters of War is about a woman who is desperate to feel loved and who is also a mother who is torn between home and career. 

What is your favourite cake?

In Daughters of War, May Turner writes a diary and lists, and on one occasion, she thinks about the things she misses the most:

Cakes. Eccles cake. Fruit cake. Victoria Sponge. Elizabeth’s macaroons. 

Will May ever get to enjoy her beloved cakes again?! You’ll have to read Daughters of War to find out. 😊

I love all the cakes but unfortunately, I have coeliac disease so I can only eat Gluten free cakes. Can you imagine! Fortunately, gluten-free cakes have massively improved over the years and my favourites include: Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate and Almond Cake, The Novel Coffee Shop’s Lemon and poppy seed cake and Stop the World’s chocolate and pistachio.

Thanks for the great gluten-free options, Lizzie! For those baking along, here is the recipe for the Chocolate & Almond cake. Sounds delicious!

You can keep in touch with Lizzie on Twitter @LizziePagewrite and on her Facebook page.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with writer Jane Jago, grilling them gently about their writing life and of course sharing their favourite cake.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.