The Liberty Girls by Fiona Ford was published just this week and follows the lives and loves of the women who work at Liberty’s during the Second World War. I’ve read so many lovely reviews for this book that I’m really sorry that it’s another I would love to have read but just couldn’t fit in! Happily, I have a brilliant guest post from the author to share with you today.
Why the here and now is so important when writing about the past
Have you noticed how we’re all a bit obsessed with history at the moment? Take those historical dramas we all love to delve into – The Durrells, Victoria, Gentleman Jack and Vikings. I have to admit, I love them. The drama, the intrigue, suspense and of course the sense of history. But what all these shows have in common is that although they are set in the past, the storytelling and approach to drama is every bit as modern as contemporary nail-biter Line of Duty. This is something I always keep in mind when I’m writing my own historical novels – The Liberty Girls series, novels set around the fortunes of a team of women who worked at the iconic store during World War 2.
My latest novel, The Liberty Girls, is set in 1942, and focuses on the impact the American GIs were starting to have on the country, as well as the infamous Baedeker raids that ravaged the UK. Yes, my novels are set over seventy years ago, but that doesn’t mean my stories don’t have action, plot twists and suspense, coupled with a sense of community – something I know every contemporary reader wants in a novel.
For me, when I’m writing, it’s all about staying with the action. Just because I’m writing about the past doesn’t mean I’m going to give you every historical fact. I’m going to do my best, and use those facts to tell my story but I will use a bit of poetic licence. At the end of the day I’m a novelist, not a documentarian. If you want pure facts in a wig and fancy gown, then Lucy Worsley’s your girl, my intention is to get you to escape.
Then of course there’s language. Yes, I want to stay with the times, but that doesn’t mean my characters can suddenly start saying, ‘yeah, yeah, that’s wicked though mate,’ It also doesn’t mean my characters start talking as if they’re living with the Queen either – natural speech is far, far better.
It’s also tempting to think all historical fiction is sentimental. Trust me when I say that it isn’t. Don’t be fooled by all that, ‘remember when life was brilliant back in the day’ rubbish. People have sworn, drunk too much, stolen, killed and generally behaved badly for centuries and if we’re honest, those are the things that make a good story. The one thing I always try to do in my books, no matter whether set in the past or now, and that’s hold a mirror up to the society of the time. Some things never go out of fashion and human behaviour is always fascinating whether your story is set now or a hundred years ago.
My thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Arrow for inviting me to take part in the blogtour. The Liberty Girls is available in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats. It should be available to buy or order from your usual book retailer or you can order a copy online here: The Liberty Girls
From the back of the book
March, 1942: new mother Alice Milward is itching to return to her job as a shop assistant at Liberty’s. Despite her husband still being missing in action, Alice is determined to give baby Arthur the best possible start. She soon settles back into the rhythm of life on the shop floor, and the Liberty Girls rally to help keep everything on an even keel. But when the American GIs start swarming into London, there are more complications to come. And each of the Liberty Girls has their own impossible storm to weather. As they each fight their battles on the home front, only their close friendship will give them the strength they need to carry on.
About the author
Fiona Ford spent many years as a journalist writing for women’s weekly and monthly magazines before becoming a full time author. Fiona tirelessly combed the Westminster Archives and Liberty records for details about what life was really like working in London and Liberty during WWII, lending a true sense of authenticity to her writing. Fiona is also the author of the A Pug Like Percy books under the pseudonym, Fiona Harrison, as well as two sagas in her own name in the Spark Girls series. Fiona lives in Berkshire with her partner. Find out more about Fiona atwww.fionaford.co.uk.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour