Sunday, 29 November 2015

An Interview with the Author Freda Lightfoot

Born in Lancashire, Freda Lightfoot has been a teacher, bookseller and in a mad moment even tried her hand at the 'good life' as a smallholder in the English Lake District. Inspired by this tough life on the fells, memories of her Lancashire childhood, and her passion for history she has published over forty sagas and historical novels. Freda has lived in the Lake District and Cornwall but now lives in Spain in the winter but still likes to spend rainy summers in the UK.

A very warm welcome to you Freda and can I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
Thank you for the invitation. Lovely to be here.

For the benefit of our International readers can you tell us a bit about the part of the world that you are currently resident in and why do you like living there?
I live in Spain in the winter to enjoy a much better climate. We started with a holiday home there back in the 90s, then bought an olive grove and built our own house, which we love. It’s a very Spanish village high in the mountains in Andalucia. Beautiful and most peaceful. In the summer we live back in Lancashire in the UK.
Can I ask what sort of books did you like reading as a child?
I loved the adventurous Enid Blyton books, Susan Coolridge’s Katy books, everything I could get my hands on at the local library. My favourite of all time was 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
Perhaps, in that I always loved history and exciting page turners, and that’s what I write.

Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?
I work from 9am to 6pm each day, with an hour and a half off for a little gardening or a walk at lunch time. I write two books a year, doing research and indulging in reading, holidays and fun between.

Where do you do your writing best?
In the peace and quiet of my office. It’s like a womb to me.

What else apart from your obvious interest in history, helped you decide to actually write historical fiction novels?
I love remembering my family and life as it used to be. A person’s character becomes closely associated with his or her roots. We are what our parents made us but also greatly influenced by where we live, by the history we see around us and the shared memories of traumas, tragedies and significant events that the area itself suffered. This is particularly true in times of war. I love exploring all of that.
When you are writing a novel, how do you place yourself into the time period that you are writing about?

There is no better way of getting the feel of an occupation, issue or area than to talk to the people who have lived it. I ask them about their routine, the problems and dangers in the job, what life was like back then, and they are happy to share their memories with me.

How do you go about imagining, developing and give real lives and personalities to the characters that we read about within in your book?

I carefully plan each character in advance, giving them a back story, motivation, body language, chief characteristic and personality flaws. Then I present them with a problem, and as the story develops so does their character, which is always fascinating.
Did you ever encounter any difficulties in getting your many books accepted and published?
I suffered a few rejections at the start of my career, as all writers do, both with short stories and then three rejections from Mills & Boon before writing five historical romances for them. It’s a learning curve and with each novel I wrote my skills improved. By the time I moved on to writing historical sagas I had more than one offer from publishers. I’ve now published over 40 novels.
Did you have to undertake any research for your novels?

I love research and do a great deal, checking every detail and fact, as well as giving a strong sense of place and period.

What is your favourite book and why?
Sorry, don’t have one. I love reading and my favourite authors change over time. I fell in love with historical fiction by reading Anya Seton, Jean Plaidy and Norah Lofts. My latest passion is for Lucinda Riley, Leah Fleming, Rachel Hore, Elizabeth Chadwick, and many more.
Are you currently reading a book at the moment, and if so what is it?
‘The Tea Planter’s Wife’ by Dinah Jefferies. Beautifully written and most emotional.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you enjoy in order to give you a break from your normal routine and your writing?
Hubby and I love to travel and visit different countries and places, castles and historic houses. I also love gardening, and of course our olive harvest is always great fun.

Can you give us a hint about any other books that you may have in the making at the moment?
I’m currently writing 'Always in my Heart', the second in this post war trilogy which deals with the issue of being interned simply because of your nationality, and the traumas this creates. The third will be about evacuees and how children had difficulty relating to their parents again when the war was over.

Would you have any advice for would-be authors?

To would-be authors I’d say keep faith in yourself. Write what you love from the heart, and keep the reader turning the pages. You need the three p's: passion, practise and persistence.

Freda, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed for my literary site. I would like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today.

It’s been lovely talking to you. Thanks again.

Just Released:-


1945: Finally, peace has been declared. Cathie hardly dares believe that Alex, the fiancĂ© she has not seen for nearly two years, is coming home. And, finally, life can begin again for Cathie and the orphaned baby in her care.
But the Alex who returns is not the kind, loving man Cathie remembers. He’s cold, selfish, sometimes even frightening. So Cathie has a choice: stand by him, and try to contain his violent temper? Or hold her tiny baby close…and run from the man she has yearned for.

If you would like to find out more about Freda Lightfoot and her writing, the link to her website is given below:

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