I’m delighted to be taking part in the Canelo blog tour today for Lynda Page’s All the Fun of the Fair (the first in a new saga). If you like your saga’s with a twist, you’ll love this one.
Lynda Page is chatting to us today about her inspiration for the novel, the scene she found the easiest to write (and the hardest!), her research and much more. First, here’s more about All the Fun of the Fair:
It’s the 1950s and Grundy’s Travelling Fair arrives in town with a bang.
When night falls, the local town is drawn to the Fair. But when the fairgoers head home, the Grundys are left behind. Hours are long and the work back-breaking. But family and friends hold things together.
Gemma married into the lifestyle, her reliable husband Solomon making the work worthwhile. Solly’s Dad Samson is still the boss, but his other son, known as Sonny, is getting a reputation…
Times are changing. Can the family – and the fair – survive?
Available to purchase now in digital format from:
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
The setting of a holiday camp for the Jolly’s series gave me huge scope for introducing a variety of characters, from those that helped to run the camp to those that holidayed there all with stories of their own to tell and I’d enjoyed writing it so much that I wanted to do another series with a backdrop that gave me as much opportunity and what better one than a travelling fun fair.
Please tell us about the characters in All the Fun of the Fair.
Predominately they are a community of showmen and women who are doing what their ancestors have done for hundreds of years earning their living by bringing fun into the lives of the hard working people in the north of England during the 1950’s. The life is not an easy one and we journey with them as they face problems from within the community and from outside it as they struggle to keep the fair successful.
Was there anything about your protagonist that surprised you Lynda?
No, because I always know that they will sink to any level, cross any line, have no care for who’s lives they destroy in their aims to get what they want.
What scene did you enjoy writing the most?
The whole chapter where Gem’s closely guarded secret was exposed. It is full of every emotion from utter joy to total despair and stretched me as a writer to portray all the characters involved individual feelings in such a way that the readers would experience them too as they read it.
… and the hardest?
The first paragraph is always the hardest because in a few short words I have to draw readers in enough to want to read on.
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?
Any gifted actor or actress that would bring my characters to life in the way I have written them.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be …
Prepare yourself for one hell of a journey.
Did you do any research Lynda? What resources did you use?
Absolutely. I read every book I could get my hands on to do with lives of Showmen, articles on the internet and spent much time in the National Fairground Archive in Sheffield University collecting my information. A writer’s job is to create memorable characters that they take on a fictitious journey but the background they put them in must be authentic.
Does your novel tackle a social barrier?
The joy of being a saga writer is that I have free license to tackle any subject I wish to and behind those innocent looking covers of all my 34 books, my characters between them have faced and dealt with everything from incest to being accused of crimes they never committed but also experienced love and fun too.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in any of your novels, who would you be?
Many years ago I wrote a book called ‘A Lucky Break’ which was set in a hotel in the 1920’s. The woman that owned the hotel had a friend called Sophia Rymmington-Smyth. She was thirty nine, beautiful, elegant and sophisticated, the daughter of an affluent father and indulgent mother, lived in large house, had no money worries and she believed that all life’s problems were solved by lunch, followed by a shopping trip. She was much loved and admired by all who had the fortune to know her, was very funny and fiercely loyal, readily prepared to make unselfish sacrifices for the sake of her friends. She had it all and who wouldn’t want to be her.
Do you have a theme for your book covers? Who designs them?
The publishers design them but I do have much input.
What inspired you to write Lynda?
I have no idea. I had never written anything at all literary until my best friend persuaded me to go to evening class to study for an English ‘O’ level. I was 37 at the time, had a good job in a managerial position, married with two young children and really hadn’t the time or the inclination to do that but Jenny managed to persuade me. Amongst the course work we had to write a few short stories and one I did was about a young boy’s second day at school at the turn of the century. I used to type out my course work on my computer at work during my lunch hours as I didn’t own a computer then. The exam was approaching and I was checking through my course work to make sure all was in order and I came across the story and started to read it and as I did a vision of the young boy’s mother came to mind and suddenly the story for Annie flooded and for no reason that I can explain I opened up a new document on my computer and started to write that story. It took me 18 months altogether, writing it during my lunch hours at work and sometimes too when I wasn’t busy and the boss was out! What compelled me on to complete it I have no idea as trying to get it published had not then even entered my head, but I’m glad now I did.
Do you have a most creative time of day?
No. When I’m writing a book I sit down every day, except for when life get’s in the way to prevent me, and just hope that my creative juices will flow!
What about a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
The soothing waters of a hot bath I find for me is a great place to relax back and think.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
Far too many wonderful writers whose books I have enjoyed that spur me on to write as good as they do.
Do you have a favourite book? Why? What is it about that book?
The Murder of Roger Acroyd by Agatha Christie. I was fifteen when I first discovered this remarkable writer who’s stories of murder caused mainly by greed and jealousy gave me so many hours of pleasure of riveting reading, and I can still remember the shock I got when I discovered who the murderer of Roger Acroyd was, and a few other’s he had committed besides. That was what I wanted to do to readers of my stories… give them a enthralling read full of emotional shocks and surprises.
What are your thoughts on movie adaptations?
Do you have a favourite?
‘Gone With The Wind.’ I do appreciate that it is very hard to transfer a book to the screen and many times I have read a book and then watched a film adaptation of it and felt angry that it didn’t at all do justice to the book, in fact the characters were nothing like those in the book and the story had been altered that much that it wasn’t what I’d read at all. This film was every bit as true to the book, nothing altered, missed out or added, every scene just as I had pictured it and the characters portrayed by such skilful actors true to what the writer had created down to every detail.
What are you reading now? Opinion?
‘I Let You Go’ by Clare Macintosh. It’s a really riveting twisting thriller, very cleverly written, but easy and enthralling to read and best of all I have no idea where it is taking me.
What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
Hearing from readers the hours of pleasure I have given them whilst they have been reading my books.
… and the worst?
I can’t actually think of one. I love writing and will be forever grateful that I have been bestowed with a gift for storytelling.
Finally Lynda, are there any tips you could share with new writers?
If the need to write is within you, you will overcome all difficulties to do so. I know of a writer that wrote her first book sitting on the toilet as that was the only place she could find peace and quiet and not be ridiculed by her husband and son. My own husband told me I was stupid and wasting my time when I told him I was writing a book. Thank goodness I ignored him.
Thank you for being my guest today.
Bestselling author Lynda Page has written over thirty books, and is a well-loved and critically acclaimed saga author. Born and raised in Leicester, where many of her novels take place, she began her prolific writing career in her forty-five minute lunch breaks. Best known for her Jolly’s Holiday Camp series, Lynda is writing a new series exploring life at a travelling fair in the 1950s for Canelo, with the first book, All the Fun of the Fair, out in February 2018.
Connect with Lynda Page
Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on tour.