The delightful Tania Blanchard (Clare Valley, Adelaide)
When I think of Sydney-based Tania Blanchard, one phrase comes to mind. The Quiet Achiever.
She has to be one of the most talented, yet humble, writers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and her gentle demeanour instantly puts you at ease. Yet this author's first two novels have sold over 100,000 copies in Australia and New Zealand and were on this year's Better Reading Top 100 List!
Tania is a fellow graduate of Fiona McIntosh's amazing Adelaide-based writing Masterclass and it was there, in 2015, when the seeds for her breathtaking debut novel took root. With her grandmother having passed away five months prior, and treasure trove of letters, photos and documents from the era to pore over, a tale she had heard many times since childhood became the highly acclaimed novel The Girl From Munich (Sept 2017), a story inspired by her German grandmother's life at the end of WW2, her marriage to Tania's grandfather and their life together https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/The-Girl-from-Munich/Tania-Blanchard/9781925791204 This wonderful novel was shortlisted for the 2018 ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year.
This was followed up by the equally fabulous Suitcase of Dreams (Oct 2018) https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/Suitcase-of-Dreams/Tania-Blanchard/9781760851675 which was also inspired by a true story.
Which brings us to Tania's highly anticipated new release, Letters From Berlin (Oct 7th 2020) https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/Suitcase-of-Dreams/Tania-Blanchard/9781760851675
I honestly don't know how she does it. Tania's novels will touch your heart and give you a glimpse into her family's history, all wrapped up in a beautifully written narrative. I can't wait to slip between the pages of what I know will again be a novel I cannot put down.
Tania is currently working on Book Four and I will be counting down the days until its release in 2021.
So without further ado, I will hand you over to the delightful Tania.xx
Q1: What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?
A: Don’t go back and edit until you’ve finished the entire manuscript, otherwise if you’re like me, who wants to constantly edit and make what I’ve written better, you’ll never get it finished. I worked on that very first manuscript for about five years. (I will try and follow this wise advice Tania. I am such a micro-editor as I go. Shelley.x)
Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?
A: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett– a wonderfully detailed historical epic centred around the building of the largest cathedral in twelfth century England, seamlessly woven with historical fact. Also I really loved the TV series with Eddie Redmayne.
This is where Tania makes the magic happen.
I LOVE your inspo board Tania!
Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?
A: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I was eleven. I cried when Aslan died.
Q4: What is your favourite drink? Coffee, tea, wine or…
A: Sparkling Mineral water and Coffee! Strong, black and hot!
Q5: What is the next book on your TBR (to be read) pile?
A: The Killing Eve series by Luke Jennings. I just finished watching the first three seasons and I loved the story, the quirky characters and the intriguing relationship between Villanelle and Eve.
Where it all began. The Girl From Munich & Suitcase of Dreams.
Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novel. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?
A: Giulia is the main character and I could see Emma Watson play her in a film adaptation. She’s smart, fiery, passionate and elegant.
Stefano is Giulia’s love interest and I could see a young Jason Mamoa playing him. He has the perfect amount of intensity, ruggedness and sensitivity.
Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?
A: My family although maybe my phone? I love being able to stay connected with family and friends and take photos spontaneously too. I love my fluffy dressing gown in the winter which I just about live in because I hate being cold.
'This is a photo of my two dogs, Jessie, my sixteen year old Jack Russell and Millie our seven month old Groodle (Golden Retriever cross Poodle!) They bring so much joy, laughter and love into our home. When Millie arrived early in the pandemic lockdown she injected such life and energy into the home and family, even giving Jessie a new lease on life. At first Jessie didn’t like the new pup but now she and Millie chase each other around the yard, they eat out of each other’s bowl instead of their own and both try to outdo the other for extra pats and cuddles. I’d be lost without them.'
Q8: What is your dream holiday destination?
A: I’ve always wanted to visit Tahiti – Bora Bora to be exact. Those crystal clear waters, the white sand, tropical weather and islander culture make for a relaxing, yet interesting holiday.
Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?
A: Archaeologist – travel the world and visit exotic locations while piecing together fragments of ancient history and weaving a story of what life was like for the people who lived at that time and place. History, visiting new places, detective sleuthing and storytelling all rolled into one!
Q10: What's the hardest scene you have ever written and why was it so hard?
A: I think the hardest scene was writing Lotte’s reaction to the death of her husband Erich in Suitcase of Dreams. Not only had I written about them as a couple over two novels and was by this time so emotionally invested in their characters and knew them so well but I was also writing about my grandparents. I used my vague memory of my grandfather’s death and of my mother telling others how difficult it was for my grandmother afterwards and the few childhood memories I had of him and my grandmother being so sad and painting prolifically. It brought forward the grief I felt for losing him as a small child and how I missed having him in my life since and also evoked emotions of what it could feel like to lose a husband or life partner so unexpectedly. I cried so much writing that scene but I think it allowed me to nail the raw emotion and desolation, making it a more powerful scene.
'An unforgettable tale of love, courage and betrayal inspired by a true story.'
As the Allied forces edge closer, the Third Reich tightens its grip on its Jewish people. For eighteen-year-old Susanna Göttmann, this means her adopted family including the man she loves, Leo, are at risk.
Desperate to protect her loved ones any way she can, Susie accepts the help of an influential Nazi officer. However, it comes at a terrible cost – she must abandon any hope of a future with Leo and enter the frightening world of the Nazi elite.
But all is not lost as her newfound position offers more than she could have hoped for … With critical intelligence at her fingertips, Susie seizes a dangerous opportunity to help the Resistance.
The decisions she makes could change the course of the war, but what will they mean for her family and her future?
Thank you Tania for being my October 15th Author Stalker victim. xx
Letters From Berlin is available through all leading bookstores and online.
If you would like to find out more about Tania, you can find her here: