1. I used to love remembering phone numbers and car numberplates as a child. I think it was the patterns I could make with them that intrigued me. In the same way, my main character Louise, in The Paris Maid, also remembers strings of numbers, and loves it. She adores numbers. This comes in very useful because Louise is working for the French resistance while living in the Ritz hotel in Paris. She is tasked with remembering the numerical codes that are associated with different high-ranking Nazis, so many of whom lived out the war in the Ritz. Those Nazis were also coded as vegetables. Louise thinks it’s hilarious that Goering was a potato.

2. I was born into the wrong generation. I came into my parents’ lives when they were middle aged, and my older siblings had left home. My father was an RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) pilot during the Second World War, and he dropped parachutists over France for the French resistance. In The Paris Maid, Kit is a RAF bomber pilot whose plane crashes over northern France. It fascinated me to be able to learn more about what his life was like, and then to somehow feel closer to the memory of my dad.

3. My dad never spoke about his time during the war. All I remember him telling me is that he was given a boiled egg for breakfast before they went out flying. He broke his back during a crash landing over the UK, (he was not flying the plane) and therefore was not able to participate in the D-Day landings. My mother said this was probably the reason he came home safely after the war.

4. The reason I have written so much about women’s involvement in the Second World War is also so that I can feel closer to my mother’s memory and what she would have experienced. She had just completed her first year at university when the war broke out, and she immediately joined the WAAAF. (Women’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force.) She was stationed on an Air Force training base in South Australia, which is where she met my dad when he came to train there.

5. After meeting perhaps once or twice, and dancing together, my dad asked my mum if he could write to her, which he did throughout the war years, and when he came home, they were married in April 1945. It is so strange to me to think that my mother missed out on what to me were some of the best years of my life, going to university, and meeting so many people, having such a wonderful social life. But she never complained once, and she and her friends only spoke of their time in the air force with fond memories of the friendships they formed, and while she was always quiet about the horrific things that happened during the war, in the spirit of that tough generation, she said she thought being a part of the air force did her a great deal of good.

6. I love to travel, and when I was young, I vowed to see every country in the world. Sadly, that is going to be very difficult, but The Paris Maid is a return to my beloved France. My first three novels were all set in France and the country holds a very special place for me, because I learned the language from the age of five and have gone back to study French again as an adult. I find the stories of courage that came out of France during the war years incredibly moving, and I loved writing about this poignant and heartbreaking time in The Paris Maid.

7. I have two Italian greyhounds, and one of them, Bambi, is elderly. She is getting a little tetchy with the world, and while she still enjoys her walks and eating, she has started coming to stand beside me and singing like an opera singer when I am writing! This wasn’t helped by the fact that I dictated The Paris Maid entirely due to an arm injury. Fortunately, the book does not include a doggy opera to thicken the plot— my little resident opera singer was edited out!

The Author

Author Ella Carey

Author Ella Carey

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards.

A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.

Ella,s latest book The Paris Maid is out 6th April

The Book 

Paris, 1944. “Traitor!” yells the crowd as they push me down onto a stool. “Nazi collaborator.” Tears blur my vision as the razor grazes my scalp, waves of blonde hair falling to the ground. As men paint a swastika across my face, I hold onto one small glimmer of hope.

They have no idea who I am.Louise Basset works as a housemaid at The Ritz Hotel, home to the most powerful Nazis in France. As she changes silk sheets and scrubs sumptuous marble bathtubs, she listens and watches, reporting all she can to the Resistance. The only secret she never tells is her own.

Everything changes for Louise on the day a young Allied pilot, hunted by the Nazis, is smuggled into the hotel. As he and Louise share a small carafe of red wine hidden amongst her cleaning bottles, she feels her heart begin to open. But if Louise trusts someone with the truth, what will happen?

Years later, her granddaughter Nicole looks up at the ornate façade of the infamous Paris hotel. She is reeling from her recent discovery: a black-and-white photograph of her grandmother as a young woman, head shaved, branded a traitor.

Devastated by her new legacy and about to start a family of her own, Nicole searches for answers.When a French historian calls Louise by a different name, Nicole realizes there must be more to her grandmother’s story.

Was the woman who taught Nicole so much about family and loyalty a resistance fighter, or will her granddaughter have to live with the knowledge that she is descended from a traitor? And will Nicole be able to finally move forward with her life if she can uncover the truth?

Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website and Instagram and Twitter

Tagged in