Elizabeth Karlhuber was born in Australia and grew up in a suburb of Melbourne. After completing a degree in languages at Melbourne University, she left Australia to continue her studies in Switzerland, prolonged her stay for a further year, and ended up as a permanent resident and a Swiss citizen. She lives with her Swiss husband and their dog and cat near Basel, Switzerland, and in a small village in Provence, France.
Over the years Elizabeth has worked as a language teacher, a technical writer and a translator, but she always knew she was going to write one day, and in 1994 she was ready to take the first step. Her debut novel, Intermezzo in Atlantis, was published in Greece in 1998; subsequent books have been published by Karlhuber Publications in Switzerland.
Locations and Themes
The setting always plays an important part in Elizabeth Karlhubers books.
Two of her novels are set in Greece, a country that has always fascinated her. Intermezzo in Atlantis is set on the volcanic island of Santorini, with its spectacular scenery and picturesque villages, where the past is tangible, the present unreal and the legend of Atlantis omnipresent.
Trespassers in Time, published in 2002, transports the reader to the island of Crete, another place where past, present and legend merge to become a single entity, for every clod of Cretan soil is peopled by the ghosts of the past, and the life of the present-day inhabitants is still governed by archaic traditions.
Five of her novels are set in the Luberon in the South of France, where Elizabeth and her husband have their second home, and which continues to be a source of inspiration to her.
Theres something magic about Provence. At the very mention of the region, peoples eyes light up with wistful longing, as if you were describing paradise on earth, which of course you are
The French simply speak about Le Midi, referring to the position of the sun at midday, and the expression always seems to convey an immense yearning for sunshine and warmth. The light changes constantly: it can be stimulating or soothing, harsh or gentle. It pervades every element of the landscape, giving them not just colour, but light of their own. At some stage you begin to perceive it with all your senses you can smell its fragrance, you can almost touch its clarity. And with its healing radiance it penetrates the darkest corners of your being.
Two of her novels, A Perfect Match, published in 2000, and her latest book, Ghosts from the Past, recently released after several years of intensely rewarding research, are set in and around Basel, the city that straddles the Rhine where three countries meet, and which entrances visitors and locals alike with its unique carnival, its prestigious art fair, and its manifold traditions and idiosyncrasies.
Elizabeths home town, Melbourne, also figures in several of her novels never as the scene of present action, but in the form of memories of her protagonists pasts, for one of her central themes is the never-ending journey of self-discovery that life represents, and the various ways your past can affect your present and your future.
Elizabeth grew up with a love of the arts, so it is hardly surprising that many of the characters in her novels have creative professions, in fact by giving her protagonists talent in painting, pottery, photography, journalism or music, she has vicariously realised some of her own unfulfilled dreams.
Writing has become an essential part of my life, and each book is both a challenge and an enrichment. Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects is the act of creating characters choosing their profession, their taste in music, their country of origin, their past history, and their family situation and then watching them develop until they gradually take on a life of their own.
I would like to believe that my books, like the music of Mischa and Stéphane in The Rainbow Seekers, strike a chord deep inside the reader, evoking an impression of familiarity even though we remain strangers.