The Butlins Girls

'Molly Missons gazed around in awe. So this was Butlin's. Whitewashed buildings, bordered by rhododendrons, gave a cheerful feeling to a world still recovering from six years of war. The Skegness holiday camp covered a vast area, much larger than Molly expected to see.'

Molly Missons hasn't had the best of times recently. Having lost her parents, now some dubious long-lost family have darkened her door - attempting to steal her home and livelihood...

After a horrendous ordeal, Molly applies for a job as a Butlin's Aunty. When she receives news that she has got the job, she immediately leaves her small hometown - in search of a new life in Skegness.

Molly finds true friendship in Freda, Bunty and Plum. But the biggest shock is discovering that star of the silver screen, Johnny Johnson, is working at Butlin's as head of the entertainment team. Johnny takes an instant liking to Molly and she begins to shed the shackles of her recent traumas. Will Johnny be just the distraction Molly needs - or is he too good to be to be true?

Today I'm delighted to welcome best-selling author Elaine Everest to the blog.

Elaine Everest was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has written widely for women's magazines, with both short stories and features. When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school in Dartford, Kent, and runs social media for the Romantic Novelists' Association.

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent.

Now if you wouldn't mind answering a few questions Elaine?

 

How is the title significant?

This is my second novel with Pan Macmillan and as the first book, The Woolworths Girls, did so well it was decided to go with a similar formula for this title. Just as in my Woolies book there are three friends who meet whilst working at Butlins and all have their own stories to bring to the book the title worked.

 

Where did inspiration for this come from?

My maternal grandfather came from a long line of showmen. They owned their own fairground until just after the Second World War. Growing up and hearing the stories of showmen I knew that Sir Billy Butlin was a showman long before he started owning holiday camps and was known to my family. My parents would take us to Warners holiday camps during our childhood and not much had changed from the forties to the sixties when we stayed in wooden chalets and joined in with the fun and games. Whilst reading about the war years I had noted that the holiday camps reopened pretty quickly at the end of the war and Sir Billy’s Skegness camp was the first to open in May 1946. The ideal place for Molly to run away to.

 

Tell us a little bit about the characters? What are they like and how did you come up with them?

My main character, Molly Missons come from the town of Erith in Kent – now SE London. It is 1946 and after losing her parents she expects to continue on with her life, living in her parents’ house and running her late father’s business but then things start to happen that mean she needs to leave the town for her own safety. She head to Skegness to work in a holiday camp and shares a chalet with Bunty and Plum.

Plum is our posh girl and she has her own secrets that she eventually shares with her two new chums. Although very posh she is loved by all although she always smell of the donkeys and ponies she cares for. Plum’s past is very sad.
My third girl, Bunty, has the biggest secret of all and is in desperate need of a friend or two.
Add to this the handsome Johnny Johnson and Molly’ life becomes very busy.

I needed to have a variety of character who would also get on well together. My girls needed to come from different backgrounds but also be likeable and have some fun. 

 

Who do you think would like your story and what kind of readership are you aiming for?

After The Woolworths Girls I heard from many readers and was delighted to see they come from a wide age range. Younger readers wanting to know about life ‘back then’ and also ladies (and a few men) who had memories of life during the Second World War. I love to chat and share memories and this has been an added delight of writing my books. 

 

What is your writing process like?

My writing process is to supply my editor with a one-page (maximum) story outline. When approved I work on this to expand it into a chapter breakdown with links to historical research. Then I write – usually seven days a week and around 750 words per day – more if I’m doing well. I plan ahead so that if something should interrupt my day I still manage my week’s goal. I belong to an online group for professional writers and we set ourselves a monthly word count and report daily. There’s nothing like having to confess to failing to keep me going!

 

How did you go about getting published?

I’ve been published with non-fiction books, article and short stories as well as an e-book with which I graduated the Romantic Novelist’s Associations’ New Writers’ Scheme. I run social media for the RNA and whilst compiling a blog post I was contacted by literary agent, Caroline Sheldon. Caroline read my book and asked if I had representation. After a meeting, where I showed her a half page idea (The Woolworths Girls) I was signed to the agency and sent away to write three chapters. Natasha Harding, then an editor at Pan Macmillan, offered me a two-book contract. Since then I’ve signed another two book contract with my new editor, Victoria Hughes-Williams. I’m still pinching myself!

 

What were the surprises? Good or bad? If so, what were they?
They are mainly good surprises that my books are doing so well. I appreciate how lucky I am as ours is a hard profession to break into. I still surprised that people know my name – what me? - and that new writers like to chat about my work. Bad surprises are very few and I try not to dwell on them. A little cyber bullying that I’m told is through jealousy. It can upset me, as I’m the most non-jealous person there is. 
Cake is another good surprise. I tend to eat a lot of it to celebrate good news with my writer friends!

 

What plans do you have for the future of your writing?

At the moment my writing future is secure as there are three more books in the pipeline with Pan Macmillan that take me up to May 2018. I like to think they’ll offer another contract but that, as they say, is in the lap of the gods!
I’ve recently joined the Crime Writers Association and do have ideas that are more crime and less historical saga. However, I do love the saga genre so may just keep my crime within my historical novels.

 

Thank you so much for joining us today and good luck with the new release. You can find out more about Elaine via the links below.

 

Links:

Twitter: @ElaineEverest

 

 

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Latest comments

10.05 | 20:40

Mary reading this is fabulous and it will also give help to other people trying to write I love your books roll on 18th may can't wait you are an inspiration x

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10.05 | 11:34

Mary Wood is a fabulous author and definitely one of my favourites. She is a born storyteller, whose characters will live in your mind and heart.

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10.05 | 10:05

Thanks so much Mary x

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10.05 | 09:58

Thank you, Bev, and Julie. Julie, this is a lovely page, so beautifully presented, thank you so much. Much love, Mary x

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