Sunday, 10 June 2018

Elaine Roberts: The Foyles Bookshop Girls

Hi, I’m Elaine Everest and I’m thrilled to be interviewing Elaine Roberts about her writing and her debut novel. Having already read the book I can say it is a wonderful story and I hope you all enjoy it.

Welcome, Elaine.

When planning your book what drew you to the time of the First World War?

In The Foyles Bookshop Girls, the main character’s mother was originally a child in my previous Victorian novel, which still sits on my laptop. Someone I know really well suggested I moved the family forward to a different era. With the centenary of the end of World War One approaching, I decided that would make a good backdrop for my saga. I started researching the Great War and gathering historical information, to form a timeline for my character’s story to be woven into.

You have three girls as your main characters, Alice, Victoria and Molly. Do you have a favourite?
This a tricky question because I like them all for different reasons. Victoria is the person that I feel sorry for the most, and I can relate to the guilt Molly is carrying around with her. Alice has a lot to learn, as she has been sheltered from the reality of what life can throw at someone. On that basis, I would probably say Alice, because her journey in The Foyles Bookshop Girls is the greatest.

Why did you pick Foyles Bookshop as the main setting for your books?
I have a love of books, so I was playing with the idea of having my main male character working in, or owning, a bookshop. This evolved as I planned the novel and it was only when I was trying to think of a name for a bookshop that it occurred to me to have Foyles. It is a shop I have been in on numerous occasions. I’ve attended two of their Discovery Days, which enabled writers to have a one to one with an agent. I started to look into their history and that fascinated me, so then there was no going back.

Do you enjoy the research involved in your work and where do you start?
I wouldn’t say I enjoy it, but it is a necessity of writing an historical novel and it’s  important to make sure the events and the flavour of the times are true for the readers.  When I do research, I always involve my husband, Dave, because I have a tendency to get lost in all the information gathering, especially on the internet. I prefer to use reference books for that reason.  When doing the research for The Foyles Bookshop Girls, it was in danger of turning into a war novel, so I had to pare back the information I had.
Libraries are a great source of information and I’ve attended several talks on World War One. Their archive material is priceless. I can also be seen scouring secondhand bookshops. I have collected quite a library now, and in some instances, I just find one little gem that gets me excited and I want to use it. I have several old maps, which I use when I’m planning my novel, mainly because road names can have a habit of changing over the years.

As a new author in the saga world whose work do you admire most and do you mix with other saga writers?
When I decided to change from writing modern to historical, I started reading sagas. I’ve read many but I’m not going to name them, because I know too many of the authors personally. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy Dilly Court’s novels and it was when I read Christmas Card that I got excited and wanted to give writing a saga a go. That was when the idea for my Victorian novel first came into being and of course The Foyles Bookshop Girls followed it.

I can see from Amazon that there are three books in the Foyles series and are very much looking forward to publication. Can you see yourself taking the girls into any other books?
This is something I would love to do, as they are very much a part of my life. I know their characters inside out, so therefore, know how they think. The book I’m planning after The Foyles series may well contain one of the characters, but that has yet to be decided.

How did you celebrating publication day?
Time suddenly seems to have flashed by and it’s upon us. I thought long and hard about how best to celebrate and decided to do it in the essence of The Foyles Bookshop Girls, Alice, Victoria and Molly. I celebrated the day after the book was released, and this obviously involved wine and cake. I enjoyed afternoon tea with my friends and family.

About Elaine Roberts:
Elaine Roberts had a dream to write for a living. She completed her first novel in her twenties and received her first very nice rejection. Life then got in the way until circumstances made her re-evaluate her life, and she picked up her dream again in 2010. She joined a creative writing class, The Write Place, in 2012 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. She was thrilled when many more followed and started to believe in herself.
As a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, progressing to full membership from the New Writers Sceme, and The Society of Women Writers & Journalists, Elaine attends many conferences, workshops, seminars and wonderful parties. Meeting other writers gives her encouragement, finding most face similar problems.
Elaine and her patient husband, Dave, have five children who have flown the nest. Home is in Dartford, Kent and is always busy with their children, grandchildren, grand dogs and cats visiting. Without her wonderful family and supportive friends, she knows the dream would never have been realised.

Book Blurb:
London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London's renowned Foyles bookshop. But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again... 
Alice has always been the 'sensible' one in her family – especially in comparison with her suffrage-supporting sister! But decidedly against her father's wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it's a dream come true. But with the country at war, Alice's happy world is shattered in an instant. Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night. But however busy she keeps herself, she can't help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline... 
Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn't be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood – a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war. 

Amazon Link:                The Foyles Bookshop Girls

Kobo Link:                     The Foyles Bookshop Girls

Twitter:                           @RobertsElaine11

Thank you, Elaine. Good luck with your lovely book.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting me Elaine and for the interesting questions. It’s been a very exciting time. Elaine xx