Saturday, 30 April 2016

Interview with Elaine Everest

Hi Elaine

Welcome to Comet Babes Books.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog.

Can you tell us about The Woolworth Girls?
The Woolworths Girls starts at the end of 1938 as three girls meet on their first day at Woolworths. We follow Sarah as she falls in love with assistant manager, Alan, before he disappears to do his bit in the war. Newly married  Maisie with a secret past and young Freda who has run away to seek her young brother - which is another mystery. We follow them through the first couple of years of WW2 and share their dreams and also cry with them as life becomes difficult.

What was your inspiration for the book?
I know Erith in NW Kent so well. I was born and brought up there. I knew my second saga would be set there alongside the River Thames in what was called Bomb Alley at the height of World War Two. I knew the people and I wanted my girls to work somewhere recognisable  to my readers. Woolworths came to mind almost immediately. Add to that my first Saturday job was as a Woolworths girl and what happened next was a gift. I was fortunate that my publisher loved the setting as much as I did.

What are your future book plans?
The Butlins Girls (Pan Macmillan) set in 1946 will be published in early 2017 and I’m already planning and pulling together my book for 2018.

If you had to write a bio for yourself, what would it say? (5 words or less)
Elaine’s paid to daydream. Perfect!

Can you tell us about your writing process?
I’m a planner. I have to be writing historical novels as I need to make sure that my research is as correct as it can be before I thread my plots and characters through some part of history. My novels are often set in North West Kent and I like to add as much of a local flavour as possible into my stories which means even more research. I’m at that stage with my latest book and my fingers are itching to start writing.

How old were you when you started writing?
I recall writing a very long story about Pip the Pixie on my brand new Petit Typewriter. I’d have been around eight years of age at that time. I’ve often wondered what happened to that masterpiece!

Who are your favourite writers?
I admire any author who can not only complete a book but also make a living as a writer. I’m a closet romcom reader and adore Milly Johnson’s books. As for sagas I will always have one on the go and particularly enjoy reading any book by Lilian Harry and Dee Williams.

What books did you read as a child?
Little Women was by far the book of my childhood. I dreamt of being Jo and also being a writer… However, I was also fond of any story set in a boarding school. I would search second hand bookshops with my mum to find pre WW2 girls adventure books where they had jolly japes and midnight feasts.

Your favourite book and why?
Only one book? It would have to be Gone With the Wind for the dramatic storyline and superb romance. The film is high up on my list of favourite movies as well.

Do you have a favourite place you like to write and why?
More often than not you will find me writing at the kitchen table. The reason is that I’ve always had dogs and the kitchen being the focal room in our little house means I can see what they are up to! I’d never settle up in my study although I have dreams of creating the perfect writerly workroom one day.

What inspired you to take up writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing whether it be fiction or non-fiction. However, it took my father’s death in 1997 for me to decide that I really ought to stop faffing about and concentrate on following my dream. Over sixty shorts stories later, becoming a self-employed writer, qualifying as a teacher for adult education, running my own writing school, writing three non-fiction books and just starting on fourth novel I feel confident that I’ve stayed focused – with just a little fffing along the way!

Do you have a routine for your writing? ie time of day.
I love to have my day planned so I can get stuck into my daily word count after breakfast. However, in real life I can take all day clearing writing admin duties and my blog duties for the Romantic Novelist Association and end up writing until two in the morning. I’m really trying to be stricter with myself – if only I’d listen to my own advice!

Any tips for writers who are just starting out?
Don’t think you have to be published straight away. Enjoy the art of writing and find your own voice. It’s an exciting time when you first decide to become a writer - savour every moment.

What's the best/worst advice you have ever received about writing?
Worst: You need a degree in creative writing in order to write books – wrong!
Best: Go with your instincts and enjoy what you write.

Twitter: @ElaineEverest

Thank you, Jo,


Can romance blossom in times of trouble?
It's 1938 and as the threat of war hangs over the country, Sarah Caselton is preparing for her new job at Woolworths. Before long, she forms a tight bond with two of her colleagues: the glamorous Maisie and shy Freda. The trio couldn't be more different, but they immediately form a close-knit friendship, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future.
Sarah soon falls into the rhythm of her new position, enjoying the social events hosted by Woolies and her blossoming romance with young assistant manager, Alan. But with the threat of war clouding the horizon, the young men and women of Woolworths realize that there are bigger battles ahead. It's a dangerous time for the nation, and an even more perilous time to fall in love . . .

Hello, welcome to my author page. I was born and brought up in the North West of Kent and love to write stories set around Erith and Slade Green - places I know so well. It is heartwarming to know that many people look back with fondness to the town, the people and a life long gone. 

Twenty years ago I moved a few miles away from Erith and now live in Swanley with my husband, Michael, and Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, where I write nostalgic stories set in and around the county.

Follow me:

Facebook: Elaine Everest Author page

Twitter: @elaineeverest

My writing school:

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