Thursday, May 31, 2018

Freda Lightfoot ~ an interview and her novel ~ Girls of the Great War

Freda Lightfoot

I was born in a small mill town in Lancashire. My mother comes from generations of weavers, and my father was a shoe-repairer. I still remember the first pair of clogs he made for me. After several years of teaching, I opened a bookshop in Kendal, Cumbria. And while living in the rural Lakeland Fells, rearing sheep and hens, I turned to writing. I wrote over fifty articles and short stories for magazines such as My Weekly and Woman’s Realm, before finding my vocation as a novelist and became a Sunday Times Bestselling author. I’ve now written over forty-eight novels, mostly sagas and historical fiction, my three latest books, including Girls of the Great War, out in May are published by Amazon Lake Union. I spend warm winters living in Spain, and the rainy summers in Britain.

Q: Tell me one thing about each of the four seasons you like. It can be anything.
A: Winter =I spend winter in Spain, as it is warm and attractive.
     Spring =Wonderful to see the new plants and flowers come out, which is when I do some gardening.
     Summer =We live each summer in the UK, much cooler but delightful and gives me the opportunity to meet family and writer friends.
     Fall =Autumn is filled with beautifully colored trees, which I love.

Q: Tell me something you would like your readers (fans) to know about you.
A: That I love writing sagas, historical fiction and romance and rarely stop writing. I always find a host of ideas to absorb me.

Q: Tell me one thing that your spouse does that really endears him/her to you. One thing that annoys you. These can be tiny little things, actually the smaller the better.
A: My darling husband keeps track of sales and the bank, having retired from being a lawyer, which I find most helpful. He also often does the cooking and washing, bless him, since I spend so much time writing. But I admit that he’s not terribly tidy, such is the reality of a lovely busy man.

Q: When did you start writing and why?
A: I spent many hours as a youngster writing stories in little red exercise books, always having wanted to be a writer but it was not until I sold my bookshop and we moved out to the remote Lakeland fells, that I became thoroughly involved in writing. The object was to send out novels faster than they came back. Not easy, but eventually I succeeded and wrote for Mills & Boon, then sagas for Hodder and other publishers. My three latest books, including Girls of the Great War, out in May, are published by Amazon Lake Union.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A: I was originally inspired by memories of my family, my own life in Lancashire, the Lakes and later Cornwall. All the places I have lived have given me ideas. And of course I also do lots of research for sagas and historical fiction, as I always find that fascinating.

Q: Do you always know how a story will end when you begin writing it?

A: Generally I have no notion of how the story might end until I am almost there. I concentrate upon the characters and main theme of the story until the conclusion finally comes to me. This often happens at night in bed, or after I’ve done quite a lot of editing. Once I know what will happen to my main characters, I stop fretting and write the end with fast eagerness.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I’m currently researching details of my next historical book, but only plan a short part of it at first, until I get to know my characters well.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: My latest book is Girls of the Great War, published by Amazon Lake Union.

Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancĂ© is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France.

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction.

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why?

Girls of the Great War - A section of - Chapter One

Christmas 1916

Lights dimmed as a man dressed as Pierrot in a bright blue costume and pantaloons, peaked hat and a huge yellow bow beneath his chin, skipped merrily on to the stage singing ‘All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor’. He was quickly joined by a troop of dancing girls. They too were dressed like Pierrots, all of them looking ravishing in a pink costume with a wide frilled collar, long swirling skirt decorated with fluffy bobbles, and a tight-fitting black hat. They were complete visions of beauty who brought forth roars of excited approval from the audience. Pierrot waved his gloved hands at them, the theatre being packed with British and Belgian soldiers who responded with cheers and whistles.

Cecily smilingly watched from the wings as she loved to do most evenings. A part of her ached to join the singers, something her mother would never agree to. Viewing herself as the star performer she expected her daughters to wait upon her hand, foot and fingers. Not that Cecily believed herself to be a good assistant, being too involved with working as a conductor on the electric trams now that most men were caught up in the war. Her mother disapproved of that. Cecily, however, firmly believed in making her own choices in life.

Feeling a gentle tap on her shoulder, she found her sister at her side. ‘Her royal highness Queenie requires your assistance,’ Merryn whispered, her pretty freckled face wrapped in a jokey grin. ‘I’ve been dismissed, as she’s engaged in her usual bossy mood.’

‘Oh, not again!’ Stifling a sigh, Cecily accompanied Merryn back to the dressing room. Gazing in the mirror she recognised the familiar lack of focus in her mother’s blue eyes, proving she’d again been drinking. Despite seeing herself as a star, Queenie too often felt the need to overcome a sense of stage fright before she performed.

‘Merryn has made a total mess of my hair,’ she stuttered in a slurry voice.

‘I’m sure she didn’t mean to, Mama,’ Cecily calmly remarked, and reaching for a brush began to divide her mother’s curly blonde hair across the back of her head.

‘Never call me by that name. You know how I hate it.’

She’d chosen to name herself Queenie years ago as she considered it more appropriate for her career than Martha, the name she was born with. And that was what she required her daughters to call her, having no wish to be reminded of her age. Merryn seemed to accept this. Cecily always felt the need to remind her of their true relationship, which irritatingly was not an easy one. She carefully twisted up a small strand of her mother’s hair and clipped it, then tucked the other portions neatly around before pinning them together with a glittering silver hair slide on the top of her head.

Grabbing a curl, Queenie pulled it down to loop it over her left ear. ‘I’ve no wish for my hair to be all pinned up. Flick some over my ears.’

‘I thought you liked to look as neat and tidy as possible, Mama,’ Cecily said.

‘No, fluff it out, silly girl. How useless you are.’

Cecily felt quite inadequate at this job and checked her success or lack of it by viewing her mother in the mirror. She was a slender, attractive woman with a pale complexion, pointed chin and ruby lips frequently curled into a pout, as they were doing now. But she was also vain, conceited, overly dramatic, emotionally unstable, selfish, overbearing and utterly neglectful. Queenie was never an easy woman to please, even when she was stone-cold sober. She was an exhibitionist and a star who demanded a great deal of nurturing and support, a task Merryn was extremely skilled and happy to do, save for when Queenie was completely blotto, as she was now. And having been scolded and dismissed countless times when her mother was drunk, her sister would sit in the corner reading Woman’s Weekly, taking not the slightest interest. Once Queenie sobered up she would happily treat her younger daughter as her favourite child in order to make Cecily feel unwanted, even though she’d done her best to help. Not that she ever felt jealous about this, always eager to act as a surrogate mother towards her beloved sister as Queenie could be equally neglectful of them both, wrapped up in herself and her tours.

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A: Yes, I do. Here they are.
     Twitter: @fredalightfoot
     My Blogspot:

If you wish to be kept up to date on new titles and contests, sign up on my website to subscribe to my Newsletter: I only send out 4 or 5 a year so your inbox won’t be flooded.

Amazon UK:
Amazon US:

Q: Are you currently participating in a blog tour? If you are let’s tell everyone where you’re going to be so they can catch up with you again.
A: I am. You can catch up with me here:


Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here:

A reminder to the reader ~ before you leave be sure to take a look at the
Funny/Stupid and Interesting Tabs
Come back and visit again.

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