Blooming Fiction Meets ... returns with the lovely Elaine Everest. Her historical / women's fiction novels warm the hearts of all her readers and provide inspirational messages behind the plot lines.
Back in November 2017 I published a post from the Christmas At Woolworths Book blog tour and can honestly say this has been my favourite read from Elaine.
Keep reading to find out what happened when I pitched the questionnaire to her.
Blooming Fiction Meets Elaine Everest
Do you have a special place where you gather your thoughts and ideas for a new story?
That did make me think. Sometimes ideas for short stories and novels can be quite clinical. I have to deliver something on X and being a freelance writer I just have to come up with the goods. I can turn on YouTube and scroll through songs from as far back as the First World War and the titles create ideas. As a child of the sixties I’mvback to those times in a flash as soon as I hear Herman’s Hermits singing There’s a kind of Hush’ .
However, the best way to create ideas is to wander through my memory and think of times past. For my Woolworths series of novels I think back on a town where I was born and how it would have been during WW2. A house I lived in for over twenty years is where Ruby Caselton lives and I can see to this day every part of that house.
For The Butlins Girls I used my memoires of holidays spent in the sixties at Warner Holiday Camps with my parents. They were not that removed from 1946 Butlins.
How do you decide on a titles for your books?
Currently it is a collaboration of ideas between the team at Pan Macmillan as well as my agent and myself. They have to have the word ‘Woolworth’s in the title and we work around that also thinking of the content of the story.
Is there one of your books in particular that you consider the pride of your collection?
I suppose it is The Woolworths Girls because after eighteen years of freelancing with articles, short fiction and non-fiction books I met my agent Caroline Sheldon. She enjoyed a novel I’d written called Gracie’s War (now only available in large print in libraries) and asked if I like representation. I went to visit her with a half page of notes about a girl starting work at Woolworths in 1938. She signed me up and when I had three chapters it was sent to Pan Macmillan who contracted me for that book plus one more.
Since then I’ve had three more contracts and feel blessed to be with such a great publisher who have helped me reach the heights of the book charts and see my paperback books in book stores and supermarkets.
I loved the characters in that book and was delighted to be able to write many more stories set in Woolies and see what happened to my girls during the war years.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve been inspired by?
I wrote a short story that won BBC Radio Kent Short Story of the Year in 2003. The idea for the story came to me one day when I was sitting in a parked car behind the Bluewater shopping centre. My husband was delivering some electronic equipment he’d repaired to the security department. We’d parked up by industrial waste bins the rear of the shopping centre is nothing like the glamorous front. It was very depressing. I started to wonder what it would be like to work in such an environment and what if the person had broken the law in some way. By the time my husband returned I was scribbling ideas on the back of an old envelope.
Have you created a character who is the fictional version of you?
No although I do like to climb inside my characters and pull their strings. I love that I can have Maisie go off and do mad things and speak her mind – perhaps that is a little like me… As for Freda she had a sad life as a youngster losing her dad when she was young. I related to this as my mum died when I was seventeen.
All my girls have experienced losing loved ones and I’ve been able to harness my own feelings of grief to share with my characters. My girls also share my love of working at Woolworths. I spent a happy two years as a Saturday girl from 1969 and those memoires are very much used in my stories.
Quick Fire Questions
Salt & Vinegar / Cheese & Onion
Cheese and onion.
Sweet / Savoury
A week in Florida / A weekend in Paris
Can I stay in the UK with my dogs please?
Indoors / Outdoors
Pen / Pencil
A fountain pen
Halloween / Christmas
Book / Film
Fish and chips / Pie and mash
Fish and Chips
DVDs / Netflix
Cats / Dogs
Dogs – lots of them!
Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women's magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features.
Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.
When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.
Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can often be found sitting in the naughty corner.
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