Liz Harris – hello from a new Choc-liteer in the box

a-page-from-kbs-album5Hello, all! To those of you I don’t know, my name’s Elizabeth Harris, but I’m usually known as Liz. On twitter I’m known as @lizharrisauthor

Last October, a dream came true when I learnt that Choc Lit was going to publish The Road Back. It was an unbelievable moment, and I’m still pinching myself to make sure that I really am awake.

Since The Road Back is my very precious link with Choc Lit, I decided that I would say something about how I came to write it in this, my first Choc lit blog. Now there’s a surprise, I can hear you say!!

My novel has been described as ‘a sumptuous tale of love and adventure in the sweeping and little-known backdrop of Ladakh, north of the Himalayas … which throws together two people from radically different cultures with explosive results.’

Until fairly recently, however, I’d never even heard of Ladakh. The first time I learnt that there was such a country was three years ago when my cousin, who now lives in Australia, asked me to help her find a home for an album that her father, my late uncle, had compiled after a visit he made to Ladakh in the mid 1940s.

When my uncle had been stationed with the army in North India, he’d managed to get one of the few authorised passes to visit Ladakh. Upon his return to England, he’d assembled the photos and notes into an album, which he had passed on to his daughter.

The album is now in the Indian Room of the British Library, on Euston Road. It was brought over to England by friends of my cousin, and I collected it from their hotel. In the two weeks I had it before handing it over to the British Library, I read it from cover to cover … and I fell in love with Ladakh. From that moment, I knew I had to set a novel there and I began to research the country in depth.

From the very start, I knew that my heroine, Patricia, was born in the 50s and brought up in Belsize Park, a part of London I know well. I saw her as a lonely child, living with parents who’d been torn apart by grief over a tragedy that had happened to the family in the past.

But I didn’t yet know my hero, Kalden, beyond the fact that he was born and brought up in a Ladakhi village in the Buddhist part of the country. While I waited to ‘see’ him clearly, I continued resourcing Ladakh, learning more and more about the country. And then one day, I read a very interesting fact about life in Ladakh. It was a Eureka moment! I felt a powerful surge of excitement when I read that …

Oh, dear. I seem to have run out of time. I’d better say goodbye for now!

P.S. I’d like to have been able to include some photos from my uncle’s album, but I don’t yet seem to have the right connection to upload an image to the blog. I shall have to sort that out.

63 thoughts on “Liz Harris – hello from a new Choc-liteer in the box

  1. I enjoyed reading this after seeing the mentions on Twitter Liz, and because you gave the shortcut and it was so easy to get here. Learning about the background makes me want to read the book. I like settings in places I do not know.

  2. This is such a great way to start the new year. I just have this feeling this is going to be a good year. I cannot wait to read your book. Do we have a publishing date yet? I want my copy autographed as I will be first in line! Hugs.

  3. I’d never heard of Ladakh till I read your post, Liz. I shall therefore be forced to read the book to find out more. Hope it gets a brilliant cover and sells well for you.

  4. What a lovely start to the day to see you there, Juliet. Many thanks for your comment.

    Liz XX

  5. Thank you, Gwen, Kerry and Anna, for your very kind comments.

    I, too, love to learn about countries I’ve never been to, Gwen, and to discover a country I hadn’t even known existed, well that was terrific. Isn’t twitter amazing! I’ve met so many people, seen so many things, that I’d never have known about were it not for twitter.

    The Choc Lit covers are wonderful, Anna. I can’t wait to see what cover they give my book – I’m sure it’ll be perfect.

    I’m hoping to give you the book in person, Kerry! Don ‘t leave it too long before returning to England.

    Liz x

  6. Wonderful piece, Liz! The photos and background research are fascinating – can’t wait to get my hot, sticky paws on The Road Back, it sounds like a real winner. :o) x

  7. Many thanks, Jan, Barbara and Liz for taking the time to read my blog and for your comments.

    Liz X

  8. Liz – I missed this blog post first time round. A combination of Facebook playing up and a dodgy internet connection. So here I am (at last). I can’t wait to read your book as it sounds right up my street – and if the rest of the comments are anything to go by, its going to be a sure fire hit. Best of luck with it and congratulations to you and Choc Lit.

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