I’m delighted that A Winter Love Song is on my TBR as I think it looks gorgeous. Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Rita Bradshaw, author of A Winter Love Song, to Linda’s Book Bag to tell us a bit more about it.
Published by Pan Macmillan on 16th November 2017, A Winter Love Song is available for purchase through these links.
A Winter Love Song
Bonnie Lindsay is born into a travelling fair community in the north-east in 1918, and when her mother dies just months later, Bonnie’s beloved father becomes everything to her. Then at the tender age of ten years old, disaster strikes. Heartbroken, Bonnie’s left at the mercy of her embittered grandmother and her lecherous step-grandfather.
Five years later, the events of one terrible night cause Bonnie to flee to London where she starts to earn her living as a singer. She changes her name and cuts all links with the past.
Time passes. Bonnie falls in love, but just when she dares to hope for a rosy future, WW2 is declared. She does her bit for the war effort, singing for the troops and travelling to Burma to boost morale, but heartache and pain are just around the corner, and she begins to ask herself if she will ever find happiness again?
An Interview With Rita Bradshaw
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Rita. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing and A Winter Love Song in particular. Firstly, please could you tell me a little about yourself?
Would love to! I’ve been married for 48 years to my lovely husband, have three children and six grandchildren who are the best thing ever, and besides them my passion is animal welfare (and writing of course!)
Why do you write?
I write because I breathe, it’s as natural and basic as that. I’ve always had myriad stories in my head and if I had never been published, I would still have to get them down on paper or burst!
When did you realise you were going to be a writer?
I realised I wanted to be a writer about the age of four or five when I started to read books and went into another world that was magical and wonderful. I realised I was going to be a writer when I got my first book published which resulted in an actual pay cheque!
Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
The easiest is the characters themselves because they come to life and dictate the story. I think most writers have one foot in the real world and one in the world of the people they’re writing about. Weird but true! The most difficult is time – as a wife / mum / grandma / dog lover etc., I have to discipline myself to sit down and work as it is my job.
(That’s a really important point I think as so many authors tell me people don’t see writing as a ‘proper’ job.)
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I do my writing in my study at home with my dog at my feet and with a view of the garden and the birds. I start about 11 o’clock after two huge mugs of tea and watching Homes under the Hammer, and correct work from the previous day first before getting on with the story. A snack at lunch and then I write till 6ish when we walk the dog before dinner.
(That made me laugh aloud as I love Homes Under the Hammer!)
You’re a prolific writer. How do you manage to keep your writing fresh and varied for your readers?
If you look at the millions of people in the world they all have different stories to tell. My characters all become real to me with their own distinct tragedies and afflictions, as well as good times.
I know you’re very keen on theatre and cinema. How far do these performing arts impact on your style as a writer? Are you more aware of the senses of sight and sound? Is your writing more visual as a result?
Interesting question! I guess I’ve always been drawn to films and plays featuring a bygone age rather than bang up to date. So much rich material I guess. Having said that I love the Twilight films…
From as long as I can remember I’ve been acutely aware of the world around me. Even smells, such as wood smoke, conjure up a wealth of material I must have stored somewhere in my brain.
Of which of your books are you most proud and why?
I love The Colours of Love. It deals with racial prejudice which I find abhorrent. My first book The Twisted Cord is also close to my heart because it was my late mother’s favourite; she read it countless times.
How far does your own enduring marriage assist you in writing about those whose relationships are less consistent?
I guess that’s where imagination comes in. I imagine how I’d feel if I was left alone or betrayed, if I lost Clive or he was taken from me and also how I’d feel if I’d never had that firm foundation of true love.
Without spoiling the plot, please could you tell us a bit about A Winter Love Song?
This is a story of winning against the odds. Bonnie, my heroine, has a rotten start to life but through sheer guts she changes the path of her life and becomes a famous singer. Of course, things don’t run to plan!
You’ve featured the travelling community in your writing before. What in the attraction for you in writing about travellers?
I love exploring different cultures and traditions. I’ve written about Romany gypsies before but their community was very different to the fair folk in A Winter Love Song, and indeed the fair community in the present book are again different to modern day ones.
How did you go about researching detail and ensuring A Winter Love Song was realistic?
Research is an absolute joy to me and I lose myself in it. I obtain material from libraries / museum archives / books / old ordinance survey maps / railway timetables etc etc. If I’m not absolutely sure about something it doesn’t go in the book. I don’t use the internet – I prefer “in my hand material”.
(How interesting. I think many writers rely totally on the Internet!)
If you could choose to be a character from A Winter Love Song, who would you be and why?
I’d love to be Bonnie because she has a lovely voice (if you heard me sing you’d know why I’d like that!)
If A Winter Love Song became a film, who would you like to play Bonnie and why would you choose them?
I’d like Kristen Stewart to play Bonnie. She looks like Bonnie but as an actress she has the right mix of strength and vulnerability to portray Bonnie as I see her.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
Anything and everything. I’ve no particular genre I stick to. I enjoy crime thrillers / supernatural / sagas / non-fiction, the lot. I enjoy something meaty though, as if it’s too light it can’t hold me.
If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that A Winter Love Song should be their next read, what would you say?
If you want a story that will grab you from the first page – read this!
(Oh, I will!)
Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions Rita.
My pleasure and thank you for your time and interest.
About Rita Bradshaw
Rita Bradshaw was born in Northamptonshire, where she lives today. At the age of sixteen she met her husband – whom she considers her soul mate – and they have two daughters and a son, and several grandchildren. To her delight, Rita’s first novel was accepted for publication and she has gone on to write many more successful novels since, including the number one bestseller Dancing in the Moonlight.
As a committed Christian and passionate animal lover her life is full, but she loves walking her dogs, reading, eating out and visiting the cinema and theatre, as well as being involved in her church and animal welfare.
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