“bestselling, acclaimed stories of love, loss, hope and the challenges facing women in defining moments of history”
Tania Blanchard writes historical fiction inspired by the true stories and the rich cultural heritage of her family’s history. Her bestselling, acclaimed stories of love, loss and hope and the challenges facing women in defining moments in modern history span world wars and pivotal moments in time during great social and political upheaval, and are beloved by readers everywhere. Her books The Girl from Munich, Suitcase of Dreams, Letters from Berlin and Daughter of Calabria are bestsellers.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child but didn’t pursue my dream until I had children of my own. Now I can’t ever imagine doing anything else but write! Historical fiction is my passion, combining the things I love – writing, history and family stories.
I’m fortunate because I come from a family with rich cultural heritage. My German mother and Italian father, both immigrated to Australia as children with their families in the 1950s and I grew up listening to stories told by different family members but especially by my German grandmother. Looking back, I realise that this was what ignited my love of family history and stories and as an adult I had a desire to know more about my family.
So it’s no surprise to learn that besides writing and reading, my other great passion is history. I’m continually intrigued by the family stories that sit alongside the great events of history and the human stories behind them. I’m fascinated to discover the reasons behind momentous decisions made by ancestors, especially the women, that not only changes their lives forever, but that of their families.
Even as a child I was entranced by a good story, listening to my mother read fairy tales at bedtime. I still remember my excitement at finally learning to read and discovering the adventures of Digger the Dog in my Year 1 readers. From that moment I was hooked on reading.
It was a natural progression to begin to write my own stories, often fantastical adventures, but it was in high school that I discovered my love of history and my first foray into historical fiction was a school project about a young female convict transported to Australia. I lost myself in that project and the seed was planted for writing a full length novel… one day in the future.
After school I became a physiotherapist and it was only when I took a break when my children were small, that the dream of writing returned to me. I began writing stories for them, filled with young heroines and heroes, wizards, princesses and the villainous monsters of course! I realised that writing had to become part of my life again and the idea of writing as a career began to take hold. I attended the Australian Writer’s Centre and completed a couple of courses on writing and then Fiona McIntosh’s commercial fiction masterclass, hoping to discover if I had what it took to become a writer with the potential to one day become published.
I went home and began writing The Girl from Munich. My German grandmother had recently passed and had left boxes of memorabilia – photos, documents and letters. I had always wanted to tell her story, from the stories she’d told me of her life in Germany during World War Two and her migration to Australia. It now felt like the right time to to tell her story. I felt ready. I was amazed how easily I slipped into writing historical fiction and I knew this was the right genre for me. It was my own fairytale when I was picked up by a publisher in 2016. It was my grandmother’s stories which had launched my writing career and I knew that she would be so proud.
The Girl from Munich was released in September 2017 and was shortlisted for the 2018 ABIA awards for the New Writer of the Year award. Suitcase of Dreams, telling the story of my grandparents’ immigration to Australia in the 1950s, was released in November 2018.
Letters from Berlin, published in October 2020, is also inspired by a true story and set in World War Two Germany. It’s an epic story of family and legacy, love and survival under the menacing shadow of the Third Reich.
Echoes of War, released in 2021, is inspired by my father’s Italian heritage and is set in Mussolini’s fascist Italy in the years leading up to and including World War Two. At a time of great upheaval with men trying to pull the world apart, this is one woman’s story of determination to find a life’s work, her place in the world she lives in and the passion of a deep and abiding love. This novel was released in 2022 under the new title, Daughter of Calabria.
A Woman of Courage, will be published in November 2023. I’ve turned to my husband’s family stories with this novel which is set in Northern England in the 1890s and the late Victorian era. From the exciting, progressive hive of London to the traditional villages of the rural north, A Woman of Courage rings with the strength and struggles of women at a time of momentous change … and the choices one woman must make for her voice to be heard.
I have many more ideas for stories, accumulated while researching my family history, and I’m excited to continue writing historical fiction for many years to come.
When I’m not writing, I love to continue my research into family history and get back to reading, anything from contemporary fiction to autobiography, but my favourites are historical fiction and fantasy. I also enjoy watching the odd movie or compelling tv series, continuing my wonderful yoga classes and taking more walks with my two gorgeous dogs. And of course, I’m busy with my beautiful family (three teenagers, my husband and two dogs!); cooking, which I enjoy most of the time, being number one taxi driver to the kids, cheer leader, support person and keeping the household running!