I’m very pleased to welcome Lizzy Chandler, author of the newly released Snowy River Man, to answer to Lychees or Peaches. Lizzy, as some of you might know, is the pen name of Elizabeth Lhuede of Australian Women Writers Challenge fame.
For the chance to win a copy of Snowy River Man, head over to Lizzy’s website to enter.
Thank you for taking part in Lychees or Peaches, Lizzy! Hard questions first: Lychees or Peaches?
Lychees. No, peaches. No, Lychees. Can I have both?
If you were written about in a newspaper, what would the headline say?
Who’s reading books by Australian women?
What is your favourite line from a book or movie?
“ ‘Here I am.’ ‘So glad you are.’ ” – from Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan.
Which genre do you usually write in? And why do you think this is so?
Suspense. I like to think I’m a lot braver than I am.
Tell me a secret about yourself that nobody in the whole world knows? Go on tell me, nobody but me is listening.
When I was three, I came out of the water at Balmoral Beach and thought my family had packed up and gone home without me. (I’m the eighth child of a huge family, Mum was in hospital with the tenth, and I’d just learned how to swim.) I found my way home up the hill, past Spit Junction, and to our old Federation home in Bardwell Street, Mosman – quite a way. When I got home there was nobody home.
What is your latest book about?
A little boy goes missing from a country rodeo in the Australian alpine country and a psychic, Katrina Delaney, dreams where he is. She wants to help, but the boy’s father is Jack Fairley, a man with whom she had a one-night stand before realising he was engaged to be married.
Snowy River Man is a “category romance” with a twist on a traditional theme. It also has a subtext about race, class and mental illness which I hope give it a greater resonance for readers who don’t usually read or enjoy romance.
How did you come up with the title? Did it come to fisticuffs with your editor?
I first came across Banjo Patterson’s poem “Man from Snowy River” when I was little and loved the rollicking rhythm and picture of the landscape it created in my imagination. In the opening of the novel, my hero Jack Fairley is riding a brumby at a country rodeo when his son goes missing, and I like to think Jack inherits the same “rugged mountain man” tradition. The setting of the novel is in the northern reaches of the Snowy River Shire, near Adaminaby.
For the title there were no fisticuffs, though my editor did shorten the original. I didn’t realise till later that veteran Australian romance author Valerie Parv also published a book called Snowy River Man.
When you daydream about singing on The Voice (I know you do) what song do you sing, and if you could have any celebrity judge in the world turn for you who would it be?
I loved watching The Voice – there is so much amazing talent out there! I’d want to sing Sia’s “Chandelier” – and not just because it resonates with my chosen pen-name of Lizzy Chandler. I’d only do it if I had an amazing voice, could dance like Maddie Ziegler in the video and it was the first time anyone on the planet had ever heard the song.
The celebrity judge I’d want to turn for me would be Ricky Martin. That way I could ask him to be on the cover of my next romance novel.
What do you really, really, really, love?
Being alive. Being conscious that consciousness is a privilege and I won’t be here forever. Knowing that the more I overcome my fear and learn to love myself and others, the better chance I have of leaving this planet a happier and safer place. Nature. The night sky. Books. My partner. (Not in that order.)
Can you show us a quick snap of your work desk? No tidy spic and span ones. I won’t believe you.
Serious stuff now: where can we purchase your latest book?
Thanks again for taking part in Lychees or Peaches, Lizzy!