Blog Tour: The West End Girls by Elaine Roberts
Today you are in for a treat. I am interviewing Elaine Roberts, the author of the upcoming novel The West End Girls. Thank you for this interview, Elaine! I’d love to know a little more about you and the way you approach writing.
Thank you for inviting me for a chat, I’m on my third cup of tea so I’m raring to go.
When did you start writing?
I have always kept diaries and, as I got older, journals. When I was in my twenties, I wrote a modern love story and sent it to Mills and Boon. They sent me a very nice rejection, which said they would have taken it, but they were in the process of changing their image, and it wouldn’t fit in with them going forward. This gave me encouragement, but life got in the way and I didn’t write anything else for thirty years. I think it wasn’t my time then, but I took it up again about eight years ago, so it’s never to late to start.
Thanks to my son, who found and encouraged me to join The Write Place Creative Writing Class. While there I joined organisations like The Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) New Writers Scheme, which I would definitely recommend, and The Society of Women Writers and Journalists (SWWJ). I wrote and submitted short stories, which is a real lesson on word choice and writing to a word count. I was thrilled when I sold my first short story and couldn’t believe someone wanted to buy a story I had written. All the time I was doing that, I was still working on my novel. Joining a class, organisations, and spending time with like-minded people tells you you’re not alone and everything that is happening to you has happened to others. That is very encouraging to know.
Can you describe your writing process?
I have a system of working. I tend to do most of my research before I write a word, that’s not to say more doesn’t come up while I’m writing. I create my characters and learn all their back-stories, and that gives me their behavioural traits. I plan my stories and write every day, even if it’s only a few hundred words. My best creative time is first thing in the morning. I’m often answering emails and on social media on my phone by about six in the morning. That’s the time I used to get up for work and I can’t seem to get out of the habit of waking up early.
I’m usually sitting at my desk by nine every morning, often accompanied by two cats that like to get into and sit on all of my paperwork. I don’t leave my office, apart from twenty minutes at lunchtime and to make a cup of tea, until three in the afternoon, unless a visitor arrives. It sounds hard work doesn’t it, but in those six hours, I do spend time gazing down my garden, looking for inspiration, stroking and taking photos of the cats.
Is there a genre apart from the one of your latest novel in which you would like to try your hand?
My family think I should write crime because I’m always watching it on television but the thought of planning a crime novel just fills me with dread, I don’t think I’d know where to begin. I would assume you would have to know who did it before you started but I’ve heard other authors say otherwise. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
The West End Girls is set in 1914 London. It’s a story about dreams, how far will you go, and what price will you pay, to achieve them.
The first in the series is Annie Cradwell’s story. She grew up on a farm in the country, but has always dreamt of singing on stage. So when she hears her friend Joyce has a room to spare in London, she sets off with best friend Rose for an adventure beyond anything they could have imagined.
In London, Annie and Rose stumble into jobs at the Lyceum Theatre. Being a dresser to capricious star Kitty Smythe wasn't exactly what Annie had in mind. But then the musical director, Matthew Harris, offers her singing lessons. And Annie starts to wonder – could this be her chance? Or is it all too good to be true?
With the threat of war in the air, everything is uncertain. Is there a place for hopes and dreams when so much is at stake?
The second book in the series is Joyce’s story, which is very different to Annie’s.
How did you get the idea for the plot of The West End Girls?
The idea came from The Foyles Bookshop Girls series, which is also based in 1914 London. I was bouncing ideas for titles around with friends and this one stuck with me. London has many facets to it and I love going to the theatre, shopping and eating in London so it seemed a natural progression to me.
How did you publish your current novel?
The West End Girls series is digitally published through Aria, Head of Zeus, as were the three books of The Foyles Bookshop Girls series. I was fortunate to secure a one to one with the publisher at the RNA Conference and was asked to send in my full manuscript, that was The Foyles Bookshop Girls, and lucky for me they loved it and I haven’t looked back since.
How important is setting in your book?
The setting is very important. It almost becomes a character in your book and helps carve out the story. It can add it’s own conflicts, as an example getting caught in a storm in the middle of the countryside will be different than if you were in a city or town. It could heighten tension if there’s nowhere to take cover compared to running into the nearest café or pub.
What is next for you?
I’m in the process of finishing the second book in the West End Girls series. This will be Joyce’s story, she hasn’t had an easy life and her story will have many twists and turns. After that, the third book in the series will be Rose’s story.
I found writing in the beginning of lockdown quite difficult. All my children are key workers, one works for the NHS so I became obsessed with the news and couldn’t concentrate for worrying. Thankfully, I decided to stop watching the news more than once a day and that has improved my ability to write again.
After this series is finished I have no idea what I shall write next, but I’m never short of ideas.
Thank you for your time, stay well and best of luck for The West End Girls!
Thank you so much for inviting me, I enjoyed our chat and the interesting questions.
The West End Girls
1914. Growing up on a farm in the country, Annie Cradwell has always dreamt of singing on stage. So when she hears her friend Joyce has a room to spare in London, she sets off with best friend Rose for an adventure beyond anything they could have imagined.In London, Annie and Rose stumble into jobs at the Lyceum Theatre. Being a dresser to capricious star Kitty Smythe wasn't exactly what Annie had in mind. But then the musical director, Matthew Harris, offers her singing lessons. And Annie starts to wonder –could this be her chance? Or is it all too good to be true?With the threat of war in the air, everything is uncertain. Is there a place for hopes and dreams when so much is at stake? Annie, Rose and Joyce are three girls with very different dreams –but the same great friendship.
About the Author:
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 she picked up her dream again in 2010 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. 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.
You can connect with Elaine here:
Amazon Link: The West End Girls
Facebook Author Page: Elaine Roberts Facebook Author Page
Get your copy here:
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3bNOaSt