Freda Lightfoot has written many fabulous books and today she's here to tell us a little bit about her writing process and her latest book, Always in My Heart.
My latest book is Always in My Heart.
It’s the story of a young woman who loses her husband and is held in an internment camp in France, simply because of her nationality. She leaves her son in the care of his grandmother in order to keep him safe, but when the war is over finds that she has lost him too, and her life is in turmoil.
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
From real life is the simple answer but really I don’t quite know. Sometimes from people I’ve interviewed, or things that have happened to me or my family. But mainly because I love writing about strong women and how they cope with problems in their life.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
Each morning I edit what I wrote the day before, which gets me back into the heads of my characters and leads me on to write more. Usually at the end of the day I stop part way through a scene so that I know I have something to pick up and continue with the next day. Often, of course, I think of a new idea overnight, which inspires me further.
What book means the most to you?
Always the one I’m currently writing. I become very involved with it.
Which female writer has inspired you?
My all time favourite is Daphne du Maurier. I love the beauty of her prose, strength of her characters and the wonderful stories she told in marvellous settings.
What are the best bits, worst bits and most surprising bits of being an author?
The best part is the joy of writing all the creative ideas that live in my head, characters I’ve come to love, places I’ve visited on holiday and take advantage of for research purposes. Many times I’m surprised by the ideas that spring out as I’m writing, or even while I’m sleeping. My subconscious mind just carries on working. The worst part of being a writer is coming to the end of a story and saying goodbye to the characters, as well having to deliver to a deadline when you feel it’s hard to let it go.
I write historicals so first decide upon the era, the setting and the problem my heroine will be facing. I then rough out a plan for the first three chapters. I like to work out in advance what kind of people my characters are. The start of a book generally takes me some time to write as I’m very picky and keep editing until I’m satisfied with it and discover what happens next. I do not plan out the entire book but allow it to develop as I write, in as many drafts as seem essential until I’m happy with it.
What was your journey to being a published or self-published author?
As a child I wanted to be a writer but was told to get a ‘proper job’. I qualified and worked as a teacher until my second daughter was born, then wrote forty short stories and articles for women’s magazines to follow my dream in between looking after my babies. I then opened and ran a bookshop for a number of years. After that I tried writing historical romances for Mills & Boon, which took three rejects before successfully receiving an offer. I wrote five historicals for them before breaking into mainstream fiction with Lakeland regional sagas. I’ve now written over 45 books, some of them Sunday Times bestsellers, which is very exciting.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Choose the kind of book you’d love to write then read several books in that genre to get the feel of it. When you start writing be aware it can take time, but keep faith in yourself.
What are you working on at the moment?
I shall soon be starting the final sequel to Always in my Heart and Home is Where the Heart Is. This is to be called Peace Ever After and will look into the problem of evacuees after World War Two, and how they lost a sense of belonging with their family.
Thanks very much, Freda!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ALWAYS IN MY HEART
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FREDA LIGHTFOOT