Sunday, 6 May 2018

The Hippo Hangs Out . . . . with Lizzie Page

I'm a real fan of historical fiction so today I'm delighted to welcome Lizzie Page to The Hippo today. Lizzie's book The War Nurses is the first book in a trilogy, and  just the kind of book that I love to lose myself in so let's start by talking about that while Lizzie gets herself comfy.


As war takes its toll, the love and care of two brave young nurses become everything to the wounded soldiers they tend…

Two plucky young nurses pledge to help the war effort: Mairi, a wholesome idealist hoping to leave behind her past and Elsie, a glamorous single mother with a weakness for handsome soldiers. Despite their differences, the pair become firm friends.

At the emergency medical shelter where they’re based, Elsie and Mairi work around the clock to treat wounded soldiers. It’s heart-breaking work and they are at constant risk from shelling, fire and disease. Occasionally there are happier times… parties, trips and letters. And maybe even the possibility of love with an attractive officer in their care…

 But as the war continues and the stress of duty threatens to pull the two women apart, will Elsie and Mairi’s special nurses’ bond be strong enough to see them through?

Based on a true story, this is a WW1 saga that will make you smile and cry, perfect for fans of Diney Costeloe, Soraya M. Lane and Donna Douglas.

The War Nurses is currently available to download for only 99p/$1.36

Amazon UK πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§
Amazon US πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

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It looks like Lizzie is all settled in now so I'll let her introduce herself.

Photo courtesy of Lizzie Page

I was born in February 1971, in Essex, England.  After studying politics at Warwick University, I worked as an English teacher in Paris and then for five years, in Tokyo.

I then went to live in London, and had various uninspiring jobs there. I did an MA in creative writing at Goldsmiths and came back to live in Essex a few years ago and have worked in marketing, teaching, assisting, etc ever since.

My partner Steve, three children and cockapoo all conspire to stop me writing.πŸ˜‰

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What book/books made you cry and why?
Books about the first and second world war ALWAYS make me cry. I have been known to cry on the first page or even the blurb: Testament of Youth, Suite Francaise, Birdsong, Goodnight Mr Tom, anything by Michael Morpurgo, God, I’m nearly crying at the thought of them all. Stop me now!  

Birdsong is on my list of all time favourite books Lizzie and one of the few books that I will go back and re-read. It still gets me every single time!

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Lizzie Page IS a pseudonym, or ‘pin-name’ as my daughter says. Why? I wanted something saga-author-like, something a bit classical and my own (modern) name just didn’t fit the bill. Lizzie Page was a combination of family names and something easy to spell. I also like having someone else to blame things on: “It wasn’t me, it was Lizzie Page.”   

What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’ve done lots of writing classes, attend lots of bookish things, and did an MA in creative writing, so I’m fortunate to know many wonderful unpublished and published writers: Fiona Rintoul, Rachel Lichtenstein, Syd Moore, Jane Dolby, Tom Lee, Nick Sweeny: They’re all fab. Have they helped me to become a better writer? Hmm. I dunno about that! A happier writer, a more - I can do this - writer maybe.  

What did you edit out of your last book?
There was a big change, not an edit out so much as a put in. When I originally wrote ‘The War Nurses’ it’s ending was, as the editor kindly said, ‘a bit too bleak’. So I changed it – going for heart-warming instead of heart-breaking. People have asked if I minded doing that, no, I didn’t. It’s SOOO much the better for it. Readers don’t want to come away feeling that dark. I think it was a good change. If you’ve read ‘The War Nurses’, I’d be very grateful if you let me know what you think about the ending. 

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be and why? What would you get up to?
Without doubt, Elsie Knocker. Elsie who is inspired by the real-life courageous war-nurse of the same name -  had so much energy, passion and compassion. A fearless, glamourous single mother, I, (and most of the other characters in ‘The War Nurses’) think she is just awesome. If I went for a night-out with her, perhaps to Gingers Bar, in Pervyse, Ypres, in 1916, I just know I would need to lie-down for three days in a darkened room afterwards, ah but it would be worth it.

Which literary character is most like you?
When I was 11, in spite of having no theatrical aspirations or inclinations, I was selected for a large speaking part in the school play. It was Toad of Toad Hall, and the character was…Mole.
It sucks but I really am like Mole. Short-sighted, small and dark. ‘Scrape and scratch and scrabble and…’ I am quite hard-working and single-minded but also terribly malleable/suggestible. I’ll go along with anything Toad or Ratty – or a Hippo - suggested.

Aww, I think mole’s are cute. I mean, look at that little guy above, he’s adorable! Granted, I think that hippo’s are cuter (of course!) but this little hippo will never lead you astray. . .well not intentionally anyway! 😘

Do you have any bad habits?
Not really, my habits are old companions, they’re not bad, they just are. πŸ˜‰

 If you were a superhero what would you be called, what would your super-power be and what would you wear?
* * * *Time-travel of course.
I would wear a black cape (traditional) but also a purple leotard because, naturally, I would have the body of Jane Fonda in her aerobics days. I would be able to go back and forth in time, stone age, ancient greeks, Vikings, tudor times, world wars and with a swish of the cape, I would make things better. I would be ‘History-girl’.


If you could swish your cape like that, I'd be very impressed Lizzie!

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You can find out more about Lizzie, The War Nurses and connect with her using the links below:

I'd like to say a big thank you to Lizzie for taking the time to hang out with me today. It's been great fun chatting and getting to know you. Wishing you lots of success with your book and I hope you enjoy the rest of the long Bank Holiday weekend. πŸ˜‰


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