Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Daisy James at an author and blogger get together and she’s absolutely lovely, so it gives me enormous pleasure to be part of the paperback launch celebrations for her latest novel If The Dress Fits. If The Dress Fits is published by Carina and is available in e-book now and in paperback from 14th July 2016. If The Dress Fits can be bought here.
Today Daisy is explaining all about the inspiration for If The Dress Fits in a very personal guest blog.
If The Dress Fits
She might be the most famous person in the country, but no one even knows her name…
Callie’s exquisite, glittering silk gown has been shortlisted for the celebrity wedding of the year. But just as all her dreams are coming true, disaster strikes!
Leaving behind the bright lights of London, Callie is forced to return home to sleepy Althorpe. And there’s one man she hopes to avoid – the childhood sweetheart who turned her life upside down. But now she’s back, is it finally time to stop running?
Yet, as Callie faces her past, a Cinderella-like hunt begins for that perfect, pearl-embroidered dress, mysteriously submitted without a name…
The Magical Emporium
A Guest Post from Daisy James
“You can take a girl out of Yorkshire, but you can’t take Yorkshire out of a girl”
I’m proud of being ‘a Yorkshire lass’ as my father used to call me, so I just had to set one of my stories in my home county. I grew up in a tiny village near Knaresborough in North Yorkshire very similar to Allthrope in my new novel, If The Dress Fits. The village had a few shops; a baker’s, a hardware store, a florist’s, but the magical emporium that drew me to its window every day on my way home from school was not the sweet shop, but the haberdashery shop.
Perhaps this particular fascination with becoming an all-round seed pearl Princess was inevitable – hardwired into my genes, you might say – as my mother, before she was married, worked in the haberdashery department of a large department store. She too loved nothing better than to immerse herself in a pile of fluffy fabrics or a pyramid of yarn. One of my most abiding memories is of my mother laughing as she related her favourite story about the diverse questions, posed mostly by men, that would send her, and her young colleagues, off into fits of inappropriate giggles:
Is this the department where I can get felt?
Can I get felt here?
So, I would stare through the dusty window – sometimes it would have a sheet of yellow cellophane draped over it to protect the display from harsh sunlight which was an event in itself – and dream of the weekend when my Mum would take me to the little haberdashery shop to spend my pocket money on a length of ribbon or a card of pearly buttons. My sister thought I was crazy, her pocket money was reserved only for the very best mix-up the sweet shop had to offer!
I would take my time deciding what to choose, marvelling at the spools of ribbons, intricate lace and trimmings neatly displayed in a kaleidoscope of colours, at the zips dangling from the carousels like lizard’s tongues alongside the elastic and press-studs. I’d run my fingers over the various yarns – mostly natural wools, cottons or mohairs – none of that modern acrylic my grandmother would swear could give you an electric shock. I was truly in my personal version of paradise as I flicked through the pattern books to select a cardigan that maybe one day, in the distant future, I might be able to attempt myself.
Many of these little jewels of the high street have disappeared now – I know my childhood Aladdin’s Cave has – to be replaced by trendy wine bars and the ubiquitous coffee shops. But maybe, just maybe, there is an upsurge of interest in all types of crafting, not just of the knitting and sewing variety, but of embroidering, cross-stitching, card-making, not to mention the current obsession with all thinks culinary. I, for one, celebrate that renewed passion for hand-made items, for there is nothing better than spending a quiet half hour clicking the needles to disperse the stresses of a busy day at the computer screen.
Want to know what I’m knitting now?
What do you think?
I’d love to hear about your own projects.
About Daisy James
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. Her husband and young son were willing samplers of her baking creations which were triple-tested for her debut novel, The Runaway Bridesmaid. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.
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