Today, I interview Liz Treacher the author of The Wrong Envelope and The Wrong Direction. Both out now and available in the usual formats.
Liz Treacher Interview
Liz is a writer, a Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of the sea. Her love of images influences her writing.
Her debut novel, ‘The Wrong Envelope’, is a romantic comedy, set in 1920 in Devon, England. It tells the story of Bernard, an impulsive artist and Evie, his beautiful post lady. You can watch the trailer on this page, under ‘Videos’. Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, ‘The Wrong Envelope’ captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change lives.
The sequel, ‘The Wrong Direction’, follows Evie and Bernard to London, and charts their further adventures in Mayfair’s high society. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends – Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Set in England in 1920, The Wrong Envelope is the light-hearted tale of a romance between a flamboyant London artist and a Devon post lady. It uses humour and irony to explore the years just after the First World War when life was trying to return to normal, but the shadow of the conflict still hung over everyone.
Who would your book be perfect for?
The Wrong Envelope is a feel-good read that will transport you to the summer of 1920 and the sunny lanes of Devon with their high hedges. It’s perfect for people who enjoy romantic comedies that are more witty than slushy.
Did you have a favourite character to write?
I loved writing the character of Phoebe Carson, a be-spectacled vicar’s daughter with a large nose and an enormous heart. She is two-timed by the artist, Bernard Cavalier, a man notorious with ladies. She spends her time writing to Bernard, devouring books and making gooseberry jam, but she has a humour and honesty that would make her a fantastic friend. I like writing the ‘underdog’ character, but always try and make sure they end up ‘on top’ in some way.
What inspired you to write the book?
A few years ago, I stumbled across a tiny suitcase that belonged to my grandmother. It was full of letters written to her by a soldier during and after the First World War. I was fascinated by the language used – the cheerfulness and bravado of a soldier trying to woo a young lady. I wanted to recreate the thoughts and feelings of the time, but I didn’t want to set a novel during the war itself. 1920 seemed a good year. Although the fighting was well and truly over, the effects were still being felt. Women found themselves in a very difficult position. They had possibly lost brothers or sweethearts at the front. Added to this, the jobs they had done during the war were being taken away again and given back to returning soldiers. I wanted to explore the problems people faced at the time and I wanted to recreate the cheerful tone that I discovered in the soldier’s letters to my grandmother.
Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?
I find writing much more enjoyable if I can somehow ‘live’ a character’s experiences. So I was thrilled to visit the Postal Museum in London last summer and try on the post lady uniform that my heroine, Evie Brunton, would have worn to work in 1920. Wearing it made me feel that I was literally ‘in her shoes’, even just for a few minutes!
What has been your proudest bookish moment?
Going into my local bookshop in December and seeing my first novel, ‘The Wrong Envelope’ and the sequel, ‘The Wrong Direction’, sitting on a shelf between Amor Towles and Rose Tremain. It felt fantastic!
Do you have any questions for your readers?
Yes – I have two questions!
- Are you often tempted to skip to the end of a novel to find out what happens? And if yes – do you give into temptation?!
- Do you like books where the action jumps, either between different places or different time frames – or do they drive you mad?
What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
I loved reading ‘The History of Love’ by Nicole Krauss. I loved the humour and the pathos; I loved the historical element, the overlapping stories and the sense of mystery. I’ve read it at least ten times and it always feels fresh. It still makes me laugh out-loud in some places and cry in others.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a contemporary novel with a dark, speculative edge to it. It’s called ‘So Long as Shadows’ and it’s about what happens when a hapless commuter called Tony gets arrested for fare-dodging. In order to avoid a criminal record, Tony is forced to commit to three sessions of life coaching, but after he meets Nigel, his coach, Tony’s life starts to unravel…
Liz Treacher’s Books
The Wrong Envelope
Summer 1920. Two worlds are about to collide.
Evie Brunton is a beautiful Devon post lady who loves her job. Twice a day, she spins along the narrow country lanes on her bicycle, delivering letters from a heavy post bag. When the flamboyant London artist, Bernard Cavalier, drops like a meteor into her sleepy village, everything changes. Too distracted by Mayfair’s high society to paint, Bernard has been sent to Devon to prepare for an important exhibition. But the countryside has its own charms, in particular his young post lady…
Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, The Wrong Envelope is a charming romantic comedy that captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change lives.
The Wrong Direction
Autumn 1920. When Bernard Cavalier, a flamboyant London artist, marries Evie Brunton, a beautiful Devon post lady, everyone expects a happy ending. But Evie misses cycling down country lanes, delivering the mail, and is finding it hard to adapt to her new life among Mayfair’s high society. Meanwhile Bernard, now a well-known artist, is struggling to give up his bachelor ways.
The Wrong Direction is as light and witty as The Wrong Envelope, with racy characters and a fast-paced plot. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends – Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other…
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