5.1.18

Inspiration for Peace in My Heart

Having involved myself in a great deal of research about evacuees, I thought it would be good to show their love for Blackpool and the people who cared for them.

This idea came from a memory of my grandparents running a boarding house in the centre of Blackpool during the war, largely occupied by evacuees, Polish aircrew, soldiers taking a break, and many of their wives and children coming to visit their husbands. They apparently had a very busy and fascinating time. I learned from my father that he’d been trained as a shoe repairer when he was young before the war, working in Lytham St Annes. He remembered collecting and delivering shoes for George Formby, a lovely entertainer who lived nearby. He also used to do a lot of fishing, and knowing exactly where to do this, he would charge people to show them or provide them with some of the fish he’d caught.

Here they are sitting on the right hand side of the front row. My mother worked for his parents for a while, being his girl friend. Once the war broke out they quickly married. She moved back to live with her own mother in Accrington and worked in the textile industry throughout the war, largely producing parachutes.  My father was only twenty and had to report for infantry training at Squires Gate in Blackpool. That only lasted about six weeks although he would have preferred it to have been much longer. But the tragedy of the defeat of the Army in France and the evacuation of Dunkirk, speeded things up. He was then moved on to Manchester, Bury, Scotland and various other places throughout the war. Writing details of his service he said:

‘It was about this time that the Blitz on Manchester started, and the 6th Battalion was called in to give help to the Civil Defence and the Police. Along with other Army units this was a terrible time for the people of Manchester, as it was for other Cities in the country and we did our best to help. Our own barracks did not escape, and if not on duty we took shelter.’ 

After the war I recall as a toddler often visiting my grandparents and watching a performance of brightly lit puppets where a curtain was strung across part of the dining room. They told me that had often taken place during the war. We spent many happy days in Blackpool, my favourite visits being the Tower Ballroom, the Circus, Winter Gardens and riding a donkey on the beach. Always great fun for a young child. I remember my grandmother coming home from shopping one day to find a dusty mess of plaster and rubble on the staircase, my Grandfather having knocked open the entrance to the loft and planned to put in another bedroom. I used this incident and one or two others in the story, which was great fun. Eventually my grandparents sold the property and moved to Burnley, but my memories of this part of my family’s life, and my own memories post war, proved to be very much an inspiration as a setting for Peace in My Heart. The owners in charge of the boarding house in this story were, of course, not my grandparents but two sisters who cared for Joanne and Megan as evacuees. But would they stay with them or move back home?




The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 

Available at WH Smith and various other book shops.

Amazon UK

Amazon US 


22.12.17

Latest News

My recent bad news is that I had a fall while enjoying a dance, but am now recovering from an operation by an excellent specialist, who has put a titanium plate in my broken wrist. It took an hour and a half, or so I was told. My memory of it was starting to watch a nurse cut off the stuff round my arm, then I was woken by the doctor who was holding his mobile phone to show me the Spanish version of The Amber Keeper, which he said his wife had bought. What a lovely man, and brilliant at treating hands. Fortunately, David was allowed to join me in the room we were granted to stay in, each of us with a single hospital bed. It also had a sofa, chair, TV and shower room. It was good to have him help care for me. Before the op I had various tests and a wonderful lady, Beatrix, directed me through the process and translated all Spanish into English for me. What a joy she was. I will hopefully be well soon after a restful Christmas

https://www.amazon.es

My good news is that celebrating the coming publication of Peace in My Heart, I’ve had a short story in Love Sunday magazine. I also have an article – 10 Things I’d Like My Readers To Know About Me – soon to appear in Female First. I have also had an interview with Talk Radio, which will be coming out in January.


Right now I’m working on proofs of Girls of the Great War, using only my left hand. It is due to be published nest spring. Now it is time for me to relax over the Christmas holiday.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

18.12.17

The Effect of Dreams Post War

Dreaming is said to be good for us. It helps us to relax and sleep well, so that we wake up refreshed. Freud claimed that dreams were an expression of our secret desires, allowing us to view the world, and ourselves, in a more positive light. They can rebuild our dented egos, replenish our own self-worth. And true dreams that we have when we are asleep, can actually resolve problems that our conscious mind has, some possibly caused by family, finance, health or work pressure. The process of dreaming can strip all those blockages away by getting right to the nub of the matter. Then we can hopefully wake up having found a peaceful resolution. Or we can discover, through our dreams, a way to deal with the source of our depression and worries in a rational way. Dreams also allow us to recall memories that have quite disappeared from our conscious mind, but are only a pleasure to us if they are happy ones. But dreaming of the reality of war would not have been easy.

In Peace in my Heart: soldiers and PoWs suffered badly from the traumas they’d experienced. Having returned from the war where he’d been held as a PoW, Donald has problems and no wish to speak of them. He was still living in the past, too authoritative, treating their sons and daughters like kids, even though they’d grown much older and more independent and were accustomed to making their own decisions now. And his dreams frequently turned into nightmares.

Cecily dreamed of her mother, loving to recall memories of her, and her hope to hear from the GI she’d fallen in love with. Her young sister Megan entirely blocked the past out of her mind, as the loss of her parents and all she’d endured as an evacuee had been too painful. All she dreamed of post war was organising her own life. Her mother, Evie, dreamed of finding her children and restoring their life as well as her own.

She must keep her family together

The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 

You can Buy this book in WH Smith and other book shops, or on Amazon.

Amazon UK

Amazon US


5.12.17

Evacuation Of Children in WW2

It began the first day of September 1939 due to the threat of bombing. Parents were expected to pay 6s per week. Those who were not so well off were charged less and assisted by the government and people taking in evacuees were paid around eight shillings or as much as sixteen, according to the age and needs of the children. Billeting officers helped find them foster homes. Some sent out by Operation Pied Piper at the outbreak of war, involving over a million children being moved to the countryside within just a few days. More were sent in 1940 when the phoney war was over and bombing really started.

Indication of the official return was sent out in May 1945 but permitted until the war was completely over in the east. Not all children chose to come when instructed to do so. Megan, in Peace in my Heart, much preferred to stay with the landladies she thought of as their kind and caring aunts, having lived with them for three years. This was very often the case. Some children hardly recognised their parents, looking and feeling like strangers, not having seen them for years. This was often because they had little memory of their parents, felt they’d been neglected and abandoned, or simply loved their surrogate parents more. Coming home often didn’t seem much fun.

The parents were devastated when they found little show of affection from the children they’d badly missed. And many had lost loved ones for whom they were grieving. In this story Cecily and Megan discovered that their home had been bombed and had no idea where their mother was living, or even if she was still alive. Evie was, but finding her children was equally difficult, as was locating a new place for them to live. And when they found them, would they ever agree to come home and would they still love their mam and dad?

Settling in with their family after years away was never easy and adjustments had to be made by all. For some the place they’d been living during the war had been exciting, and they found it difficult to return to their previous life they considered more boring. Their personality too had changed as they’d gradually grown up with caring people in a different area. However, if they’d suffered problems as an evacuee, perhaps been overworked, neglected or abused, they ceased to trust anyone. Sometimes their class or religion could be considered wrong by their surrogate parents. Whatever problems they suffered could result in them feeling rife with stress and anxiety, depression or obstinacy. Nor had they any wish to discuss these problems with their parents, once they returned home, not wishing to recall what had happened. Evacuation had saved lives but in many cases did create yet more problems for the family.


The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained…

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of…

Available at WH Smiths and most book shops.


Amazon UK

Amazon US

28.11.17

A Heartwarming Story of Life after the War

Peace in my Heart 

The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 


Extract - Chapter One 

May 1945 
The celebrations for the end of the war had gone wild, the streets on V.E. Day packed with jubilant revellers all singing, dancing and laughing, much to Joanne’s delight. There were rosettes, flags and bunting all around; lights on everywhere and a band playing. Her gaze shifted to the lilting waves as they lapped below the North Pier. She felt quite familiar with all the moods of the sea from gentle and benign, as it was today to fiercely destructive when towering waves would fly over the promenade and small boats could be battered. Having adopted HMS Penelope, a ship the locals supported, they were devastated when it was tragically hit by a torpedo near Italy in 1944 and sank, killing 400 men. There had been a dreadful plane crash on Central Station and an air disaster in nearby Freckleton when a B-24 Liberator had crashed into the village school and houses killing over 50 people and dozens of children. The many airports had endured some problems throughout the war but the town had still welcomed holidaymakers in need of a little fun, and had generously provided accommodation to thousands of evacuees, including herself and her young sister. Fortunately Blackpool had suffered fewer disasters than many other places, certainly much less than Joanne’s hometown of Manchester. Life seemed to be rather like the sea, one moment calm and benevolent, the next cruel and harsh because of the horrors of war. But they’d found it a great place to live.
            Thankfully the war was at last over, so hopefully things would improve. Looking out across the calm blue Irish Sea, the sandy beach was smooth and golden, stretching for some distance. Joanne had brought some sandwiches and cakes to contribute to the party they would all enjoy later. She’d even seen someone bring along a stack of odd looking yellow pieces of fruit, which were apparently bananas, not something she’d ever tasted and greatly looked forward to savouring them.
     ‘God save the King,’ somebody called out. Cheers of joy met this cry, turning it into the national song.
     Joanne glanced at her watch. Three-thirty. Her afternoon break would generally be almost over at this point. Lunchtime at the boarding house where they lived, the two landladies having cared for them this last three years, had been busy as usual with many wives having come to visit their RAF husbands. Joanne always looked forward to an hour or two of freedom in the middle of the afternoon when she could refresh herself in the sea air and sunshine. Those two dear sisters, Aunt Annie and Aunt Sadie, readily encouraged her to take a break and today being one of celebration, there was no demand for her to rush back to work. No doubt they too were around somewhere enjoying this celebration. From where she stood on the promenade close to the Tower and the North Pier, Joanne watched her sister Megan happily dancing with Bernie, their nephew. He’d first asked Joanne but she’d politely declined, anxious to sit and wait for Teddy to come, knowing in her heart that she could love no man but this GI.
     Oh, but why hadn’t he arrived when he’d promised that he would, knowing she so enjoyed dancing with him? He was a most dapper and exciting GI, billeted in Garstang. Joanne did once visit him there to attend a dance at the village hall. She’d been shown around the camp, tripping along duckboards in her heeled shoes to view the Nissen huts, cookhouse and officers’ mess. It was a bit of a dump, packed with gallon drums, jeeps, fuel; wet clothing hanging on hedges or trees to dry that didn’t look at all proper. He’d taken her to see the tent where he and his mates were accommodated and had given her a cuddle and a kiss. She took care that he did no more than that, not wishing to be taken advantage of. Many girls were happy to lose their virginity with a man who could be killed in the war, something they felt they should not object to. Joanne was far more cautious being only seventeen, very young and innocent.
     How she loved him. These GIs were most attractive men and happy to come into Blackpool to visit one of the many pubs on the promenade, or enjoy the dancing at the Tower Ballroom, sometimes dressed as a civvie instead of in their uniform.
     After the dance she and Teddy would often take a drink in a pub and she would sit on his lap for him to kiss and caress her, sending her senses skittering at the thrill of his touch. More often than not there were other girls hovering close by. Joanne paid them no heed, accustomed to the fact that these guys were never short of admirers, being popular men. And she was perfectly certain that Teddy viewed her as his favourite girl. Hadn’t he told her so a million times?
     So why wasn’t he here on this special day? There was so much she felt the need to say to him now the war was over. Joanne gave a sigh and stood up, brushing away the sand that had blown onto her skirt.
     When a hand lightly touched her shoulder she felt a frisson of recognition. He’d arrived at last. Instantly filled with pleasure and excitement, Joanne quickly turned to give him a hug, eager to welcome him while inside she felt in complete turmoil. Did she dare to tell this man how much she dreamed of a happy future together?

Available at WH Smiths and all good bookshops.





Amazon UK

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24.10.17

The Heroine's Journey

1. What is the inciting incident or problem and in what way does it effect her life?

2. What emotional state is she in at the start of the story?

3. What does she want? What are her aims and goal, and what does that tell us about her?

4. What is her flaw or inner conflict that prevents her from attaining her goal, and which traits will help her to overcome them in the end?

5. Many external conflict or obstacles will stand in her way?

6. What is at stake? The stakes need to be high. What will she lose if she doesn’t achieve her objective?

7. Why would the reader care about her? They need to be emotionally involved, to understand her situation and willing her to succeed. Motivation. Motivation. Motivation is the secret of good characterisation.

8. What does she learn along this hazardous journey? How does she confront her demons and develop as a person?

9. The darkest hour will come when it seems she has lost everything. This will be followed by the climax when, largely by her own efforts and certainly not luck or a Prince Charming riding to her rescue, she wins through.

10. How does her story end? Redemption and resolution. Major problem finally solved and a satisfying end for the reader.

26.9.17

Latest books

Hi everyone, I’ve been hooked up with writing for some months. I did take a week off in June to enjoy a wonderful cruise around the Islands of Scotland. David and I loved visiting St Kilda, the Orkneys, Hoy and Shetland. Full of history, beautiful countryside and generally pretty good weather. Such a treat. You can see pictures of it here on my blog:

https://fredalightfoot.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/st-kilda.html

I enjoyed the RNA conference in Telford, which was good fun and I was part of a panel speaking at Wellington Library. I’m now looking forward to an afternoon tea with RNA friends in York. We also took a few days off in September to visit Amsterdam, which was wonderful. It was just for a few days and apart from one rainy one the weather was quite good. We visited various museums and had two canal cruises. Since then I’ve been working hard again on my new website, which is now up and running. I had to learn a new system but hopefully it works okay and I’m sure I’ll add improvements to it over time.   www.fredalightfoot.co.uk

Right now I'm busy doing copy-editing and writing a short story for my publisher, Harper Collins.As for my latest books, Girls of the Great War is the story of two sisters, daughters of a very difficult mother who is a star singer but has problems from her past she has no wish the speak of. Cecily, the elder one, loses the love of her life in WW1 and decides to deal with this anguish by entertaining the troops, as she also longs to sing. Her young sister happily works with her, falls in love but will that relationship work for her? Once the war is over will Cecily even find a man to love? This book is planned to be published early next year by Lake Union Amazon Publishing.

Peace in my Heart is a heartwarming story of life after the war, third in the Post War series of: Home is Where the Heart Is and Always in my Heart.


The war is over and Evie Talbert eagerly awaits the return of her three children from their evacuated homes. But her carefree daughters and son are barely recognisable – their education has been disrupted, the siblings split up, and the effect on them has been life-changing. Her son has developed serious behavioural problems and with her daughters, there’s jealousy and a nervous disorder that cannot be explained… 

Evie’s husband also has problems. Having returned from being in action, he suffers nightmares and fits of rage. He’s no longer the gentle, quiet man Evie married. Peace may finally be here, but Evie’s family is in shreds. Now she must rebuild a loving home to achieve the happiness she’s always dreamed of… 

Once the editing is finished I’ll put up an extract on my website, and let you know about that in the autumn. It is to be published in December and can be pre-ordered now.

Amazon UK

Amazon US