Blog Tour/Q&A: The Lido Girls by Allie Burns

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I’m delighted to co-host today’s stop on the blog tour for The Lido Girls by Allie Burns. And I’m thrilled that Allie has agreed to talk about the book, its inspiration and her approach to writing.

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The Lido GirlsAbout the Book

Escape to the inter-war years in this emotional story where opportunity can be found at the pool-side in your local lido… Perfect for fans of Pam Evans and Gill Paul

Change is in the air… London, 1930s: Natalie Flacker is tempted by the glamour of the new keep fit movement, but when she is dismissed from her prestigious job in PE she loses the life she so carefully built. Echoes of the war’s destruction still reverberate through her life, and now she is homeless, jobless and without prospects.

But connections made on a summer holiday, with her best friend Delphi, create opportunities. When Natalie is offered a summer job at a lido at the seaside, she jumps at the chance. But is she up to the challenge of taking on a group of unfit women in need of her help?

Set against the backdrop of the beginnings of the pioneering keep fit movement; this is a feel-good reminder of just what’s possible when you find the courage to follow your heart.

Spend a very British summer with The Lido Girls!

Format: eBook (384 pp.)                 Publisher: HQ Digital
Published: 2nd October 2017         Genre: Historical Fiction

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Interview: Allie Burns, author of The Lido Girls

Without giving too much away, can you tell me a bit about The Lido Girls?

The Lido Girls is a heart-warming story of friendship set in the interwar years. Natalie gets caught up in a scandal at her prestigious physical education college and loses her job as a PE teacher. She goes to the coast with her best friend Delphi and when she takes on the Lido Girls she has high hopes for a fresh start. But first Natalie must find the courage to face up to her own fears and realise what she truly wants in life.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

I had some lessons to overcome my fear of going underwater and before I knew it I was swimming all of the time and reading anything and everything about swimming. There was one book, Waterlog by Roger Deakin, that had a section on lidos in Britain in the 1920s and 30s and there was just something about that period and the heyday of the British seaside resort that really captured my imagination.

The Lido Girls is set between the wars. What were the challenges in creating an authentic picture of life in that period?

There was a real divide between the rich and poor at the time. My main characters are middle class and comfortably off so I wanted to get across that whilst parts of the country were strolling along the promenade and cutting loose in the dance halls, in other parts of the country people were experiencing poverty and high unemployment.

How did you approach the research for the book? Do you enjoy the process of research?

This was the first time I’d written historical fiction, or carried out a research project, and so I think I got carried away and probably did more research than I actually needed to do. I read and learned so much that didn’t make it into the book, but I was fine with that because I was fascinated by so much about the era .

I visited quite a few museums and archives and I found talking to the volunteer historians the most rewarding aspect of the research because they were so passionate and knowledgeable about their specialist areas.

If The Lido Girls was to be made into a film, who would you love to see play Natalie and Delphi?

I tried to imagine who could play Natalie and Delphi in a film while I was writing the novel and I really struggled. The closest I could manage was a younger Cate Blanchett for Delphi, but I really couldn’t think who could play Natalie. Instead, for my inspiration, I cut out some photos from old magazines of two women who looked close to how I’d imagined them to look.

Do you have a special place to write or any writing rituals?

I have a desk, but I tend to move around the house while I write. The dents in the sofa are probably a big clue as to where I do most of my writing. If the weather is nice I like to write in the garden, but the glare from the screen makes it quite hard to see what I’m writing. In terms of rituals, the only one I have is that I need to write in silence because I get too distracted by background noise.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I don’t think I ever really believed I could become an author and so for a long time I enjoyed writing just for the sake of writing. When I did decide to take it seriously and try to write a novel I spent quite a long time going on courses and improving my craft and then even more time making false starts with novels. It was worth persevering and ignoring the pessimist on my shoulder though.

Which other writers do you admire?

I really enjoy Lionel Shriver’s stories, characters and prose and I love the way she’s her own person and does and says what she likes. I’m also a huge fan of Anne Tyler – I love the relationship dynamics she creates.

What are you working on next?

I am currently working on my second book which is due out with HQ Digital next August. It’s also an interwar years novel, set at the close of World War 1. This was such a difficult time for the country, and for many women who suddenly lost their new-found freedoms and jobs to make way for the returning men.

Finally, if you had to sum up The Lido Girls in three words, what would they be?

Uplifting, friendship, fitness.

Allie BurnsAbout the Author

Allie lives in Kent with her family and two tortoises.

When she’s not writing for business or penning her Women’s Historical Fiction, Allie enjoys swimming and yoga. She has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and The Lido Girls is her debut novel.

She is currently working on a second interwar years novel, which is due for publication in the summer of 2018.

Connect with Allie

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