Londoner Lydia Syson is an award-winning author of historical and political fiction for young adults. After an early career as a BBC World Service Radio producer, she turned from the spoken to the written word, and developed an enduring obsession with history, including her family history: Syson's anarchist great-great-grandmother moved in Communard circles in late 19th century London, leading to the book Liberty's Fire. Her latest book, called Mr Peacock's Possessions, is based on the life of her relatives - an English family who sailed out in the 1800s to Sunday Island - now Raoul Island. Syson has just returned from her first visit to Raoul Island, during a trip to the Kermadecs with this year's Sir Peter Blake expedition. Mr Peacock's Possessions will be available for sale in New Zealand bookstores from May 28.