It’s my great pleasure today to welcome an author who is new to me. Elaine Everest joins me to discuss her writing motivations, and talk about her latest novel, The Patchwork Girls.
When I was asked why I write I was stumped. It feels as though I’ve always written and enjoyed doing so. Looking back to my school years my favourite lessons were creative writing, history and maths most likely because of the good teachers and how they kept me interested in the subject. I won diplomas for essays, short stories and poetry and spent the book vouchers on books about camping – I was a Girl Guide!
College and then my working life took over, writing wasn’t considered a profession. However, after I was married, and we owned dogs it became apparent that I couldn’t go out to work for the day and leave my dogs alone – it wasn’t responsible. By then I was involved in breed clubs and showing and very soon the job of editing the club magazine fell on my shoulders. As anyone who has ever produced a magazine for a hobby will know that copy must be found and often being let down as deadlines crept over the horizon, I would write the articles myself.
By that time, I’d turned my hand to writing short stories and thought writing articles for pet magazines couldn’t be any harder than short fiction – could it? I’d learned from friends how to pitch an article idea and bit the bullet sending off an idea on how to run a fun dog show, heck I’d done that enough times. Within days I’d been commissioned to write the article and supply photographs. After the initial fear faded, I realised I enjoyed coming up with ideas for articles and became braver eventually writing for most women’s magazines and hobby publications as well as the female sections of national newspapers and being commissioned to write three non-fiction books for dog owners. My canine specialism led to appearing on radio chatting about our four-legged friends.
During my journalist years I still jotted down fiction ideas and sold a few short stories when I had the time. Like many writers I had that light bulb moment when I decided that I wanted more than anything to be an author – a historical saga author. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association and quickly graduated when one of my books won a writing competition and I was published. This led to meeting my now agent, Caroline Sheldon and within a few months had sold a story idea about friends who worked for Woolworths during WW2. To this day I’m with Pan Macmillan who have published many of my titles.
So why do I write? I write because I love to write and it has become my profession.
My next book is The Patchwork Girls with the paperback being published on 14th October in paperback, hardback. eBook and audio. This book is set in 1939 and follows a group of women who live in Biggin Hill:
- After the sudden and tragic loss of her husband, Helen is returning home to her mother’s house in Biggin Hill, Kent – the one place she vowed she’d never go back to again.
Alone and not knowing where to turn, Helen finds herself joining the local women’s sewing circle despite being hopeless with a needle and thread. These resourceful women can not only make do and mend clothes, quilts and woolly hats, but their friendship mends something deeper in Helen too. Lizzie is a natural leader, always ready to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. Effie has uprooted her life from London to keep her two little girls away from the bombing raids, and the sewing circle is a welcome distraction from worries about how to keep a roof over their heads and about her husband too, now serving in active duty overseas.
When the reason for Helen’s husband’s death comes to light, her world is turned upside down yet again. The investigating officer on the case, Richard, will leave no stone unturned, but it’s not long before his interest in Helen goes beyond the professional. As she pieces together old fabrics into a beautiful quilt, will Helen patch up the rifts in her own life?
The Patchwork Girls by Elaine Everest is a moving story about the ties of friends and family, set during the turbulence of the Second World War.