Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be hosting today's stop on the
The Teashop Girls Blog Tour with an exclusive interview with the author
JR2: Hi and a very warm welcome to Jaffareadstoo.
Elaine : Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog.
What can you tell us about The Teashop Girls that won’t give too much of the plot away?
The Teashop Girls is set on the Kent coast in the towns of Ramsgate and Margate during 1940 and follows three girls who work as Nippies for the iconic Lyons teashops. The towns are very much at the forefront of the rescue of our troops during the evacuation of Dunkirk. WW2 affects the girls’ lives but they still find time to fall in love, fall out of love, and have adventures.
The Teashop Girls is a lovely title and so reminiscent of a bygone era. In your research for the book did you discover anything which surprised you?
I thoroughly enjoyed researching what it was like to be a Nippy and was surprised to find that many of these waitresses went on the make good marriages as they met men from the upper classes. Sadly, for my girls their manageress disapproved of any involvement with the opposite sex!
You always bring your characters to life in such a warm-hearted way, where do you get your inspiration for your stories, and what are the challenges of creating new characters?
Thank you for your kind comment. I base my characters on people who live/lived in the areas where I set my books. For the Woolworths series I lived in the town and grew up with such lovely characters that when I needed an elderly grumpy neighbour I could see just that person. A shy young girl coming to the area – I thought of my school friends from the sixties… However, my characters are never based on one single person.
Starting a new series I had to make my ‘girls’ different to those from other books. I started by looking at my main character, Rose. She was a Nippy and lived with her mum, who owns a guesthouse. For a while I was stumped as I tried to think how to make her different until I was browsing YouTube listening to music from the era. How about if Rose wanted to be a singer and loved the big bands of that time? I was delighted with my idea and rushed to tell my husband even though he was in bed snoring soundly!
Are you a plotter, or a see where it goes kind of writer?
I’m afraid I can’t be a ‘pantser’ as I first have to show my agent and my publisher the outline of my story. However, within the outline of that story I can write, within reason, whatever comes to mind to enhance and make the story more interesting. I have to confess that in one of my books I was to kill off a character. When the time came, I couldn’t do it as I could see he would be vital to storylines in future books – if they were commissioned. So, I had him break his leg instead!
Your sagas are always eagerly anticipated, as one book ends, do you already have the idea in place for a new story?
I do. Sometimes it is annoying as I want to start writing. As I wrote The Teashop Girls I was thinking about another Woolworth book set after the war. Thankfully my publisher liked the idea and I’ve just finished writing it and it will be published in early 2020. However, as I wrote that book my head was back in Ramsgate with the Nippies and I was making notes…
I also write short stories so as soon as an idea pops into my head I have to make a note of it before I forget – that so easily happens these days!
25 April 2019
My thanks to the author, publisher and edpr for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour
The Teashop Girls is a warm and moving tale of friendship and love in wartime, by the bestselling author of the Woolworths series, Elaine Everest.
It is early 1940 and World War Two has already taken a hold on the country. Rose Neville works as a Lyon’s Teashop Nippy on the Kent coast alongside her childhood friends, the ambitious Lily and Katie, whose fiancé is about to be posted overseas in the navy. As war creates havoc in Europe, Rose relies on the close friendship of her friends and her family.
When Capt. Benjamin Hargreaves enters the teashop one day, Rose is immediately drawn to him. But as Lyon’s forbids courting between staff and customers, she tries to put the handsome officer out of her mind.
In increasingly dark and dangerous times, Rose fears there may not be time to waste. But is the dashing captain what he seems?
The Teashop Girls make up a trio of young waitresses who work at the Ramsgate branch of the Lyons tearooms. Rose, Lily and Katie have been friends since their school days and working together as 'nippies' helps to keep their special camaraderie strong. The work in the tearoom is demanding and standards are high as the reputation of the Lyon brand depends upon the success of the tea rooms, but in 1940 with WW2 at its height, times are proving difficult for all of them.
As always, the author writes this type of historical saga really well, and gives us characters who feel realistic right from the start. The other supporting characters are a fascinating bunch, especially Rose's mother, Flora who runs a local guest house and has secrets of her own, and also Mildred who is a rough diamond with a heart of gold. I very soon start to care about what happens to each of them and hoped that everything would work out well, but, of course, to say too much about the challenges they all face would be to give too much away and this is one of those warm-hearted stories which is best read without any spoilers.
This is a really lovely look at female friendship and how in times of adversity it's important for them all to pull together, however, it's not all plain sailing for them as each of the girls have their specific worries but it is how they deal with these problems which makes the story such an interesting book to read.
The Teashop Girls is a lovely atmospheric story about a bygone age, which brings to life just what it was like to live, love and work in the shadow of war, whilst working for one of the iconic brands of the age.
About the Author
Elaine Everest, author of bestselling novels The Woolworths Girls, The Butlins Girls, Christmas at Woolworths, and Wartime at Woolworths was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty-two years and has written widely for women's magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.
When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students. Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors.
Twitter @elaineverest #TheTeashopGirls