Joanna Lloyd Visits Suzi Love
I’m thrilled to welcome my good friend and fellow Aussie historical author, Joanna Lloyd. She lives in the same state as me and is also a member of Historical Hearts. Like many other authors, including me, Joanna battles a chronic illness.
If you haven’t read Joanna’s books yet, you really should. Now! She’s amazing.
Thanks, Joanna, for answering a few questions for us.
Can you tell us a little about the setting for your latest release?
Shadow Beneath The Sea is set in 1915. Britain and Germany were at war and the waters off Great Britain had been declared a war zone. The luxury ocean liner, Lusitania, sailed from New York to England with 1,959 passengers on board on May 1. This story is my fictional adaptation, of the torpedoing of the passenger liner by the Germans during World War I, and, more importantly, the great love which developed between Lilian Marshall and Edward James in the time it took to cross the Atlantic.
Although the German embassy had issued warnings in a number of New York newspapers, that any allied ship would be in danger if they ventured into the war zone, the shipping line believed that, as the fastest ship afloat, they could easily outrun a German U-boat. The sinking of the Lusitania had massive political impacts. The British used the tragedy to encourage men to enlist in the war and the Americans were so enraged by the killing of innocent victims, this served as a catalyst to finally propel America into the war.
The Where (how) did you research your latest book?
I love the research part of writing and surround myself with every book on the subject I can get my hands on from the library. For Shadow Beneath the Sea, I read everything I could about the shipping line, the actions of war up to the time depicted, and of course, the Lusitania itself. I needed my descriptions of the ship to be exact, including the food the passengers ate, the number and positioning of lifeboats, activities on board, the attack by the German U-boat and the aftermath. There were a few different versions of the event and much conjecture and intrigue surrounding the incident.
Your first book showed an amazing knowledge of Australia’s convict settlement history. Was this Australian history easy to research?
The research for Beyond Innocence was not quick or easy but it was fascinating. I sent away for information, dredged the libraries and spent weeks poring over early Australian history books and letters written by early settlers to family in England, of their experiences in the colony. I consulted a friend of mine,
who is of Aboriginal descent and who is a university lecturer on Aboriginal history and art, on the tragic impacts for Indigenous people of early settlement. Another Aboriginal friend took me into the bush to explain bush medicine, pointing out the different plants. I then spent explored a replica of the ships which sailed to the colonies in these early times so I could properly describe the transport ship in which my heroine travelled to Australia. I loved the research!
Where is your next book set?
My next book is set in Sydney, Australia in current times. This will be my first contemporary novel. I have veered away from historicals momentarily for variation and for the interest of writing in a different style. For me, the excitement of writing in different eras and the relevant writing style to suit the era is what keeps my writing alive. This book is a mix of humour, tragedy and a coming-of-age with an unlikely hero; and in the words of Forrest Gump – That’s all I have to say about that!
Excerpt from Shadow Beneath the Sea:
“We’ve been hit. It’s a torpedo.” No sooner had the words left the man’s mouth than there was a second explosion. “God protect us. It’s two torpedoes. We’re all going to die.” He turned away from the water and sobbed like a child. With her hand still covering her face, Lilian slid down the wall, shedding silent tears. She hoped death would at least be quick.
Without warning the ship listed to starboard and her flailing hands grappled for purchase.
Paralyzed with fear, her screams were no more than silent bursts of terror wedged in her throat. Unable to find a hand-hold, she skidded towards the edge, her nails clawing the deck in desperation.
Lilian closed her eyes, ready for the chilling drop to her death when suddenly strong arms circled her waist and she was pulled into Edward’s firm embrace. His arms trembled with the exertion of holding onto her while battling against the pitching ship. He dragged them both back from the edge and braced himself against a column of steel.
She twisted her shivering body enough to face him. “You came for me.” She drew in a sobbing breath. “You cared enough to risk your life for me.”
“I have no life if you’re not there to share it with me. What else could I do?” He buried his face in her hair.
You can find Joanna Lloyd and her books here.