Erith-born author explores Erith, Woolworths and the Second World War in latest novel
PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 April 2018
Swanley author Elaine Everest has published the fourth segment of her new saga, Wartime at Woolworths.
Her latest gripping and heart-warming novel follows three girls who become friends while working at Woolworths during the Second World War.
Former Woolworths girl Elaine was brought up in Erith, where her novel is set.
She said: “This book takes us to 1943 and features the same three characters further on in the war.”
The story is a fondly-nostalgic tale of bygone high street icon Woolworths, and this year marks the tenth anniversary of the chain announcing its closure.
Elaine said it is purely coincidental that she focuses her novels on Woolworths, but that she does draw on some of her own experiences working for the company within the book: “I already knew the outline of what I wanted to do with my character that the book would be based in Erith, and I needed to give her a job.
“I was a Saturday girl in the Dartford Woolworths in about 1970, it was such a well-known company and the training they gave staff back then didn’t differ much to the training I received while I worked there, so in that way I was able to use my own experiences.”
Elaine enjoys being able to write about Erith locations within the novels, and the reactions from locals who remember an older version of Erith.
She said: “One of my characters lives on Alexandra Road, which is where I used to live.
“People who also used to work or even just shop in Woolworths often comment on the book and how it takes them back.”
Using real events of the war, Elaine merges fact and fiction to create a realistic portrayal of 1940s Erith, drawing on things like the Bethnal Green disaster as well as a bombing on a Woolworths store.
“I like bringing local history into my books - it’s a case of using factual history an intertwining them with your own story.”
Elaine also runs The Write Place creative writing school in Hextable, and managed the Romantic Novelists Association Blog.
Wartime at Woolworhts is available from May 3, and costs £6.99 for the paperback original.