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How I wove fact and fiction into The Lace Maiden by Evie Grace

Evie GraceOn the book tour for Evie Grace’s new book called ‘The Lace Maiden’, Evie talks about she wrote about fact and fiction in her story.

As a writer it’s all too easy to be sucked into doing hours of research because it’s so fascinating, but what do you do with all those amazing snippets of information? When I was writing The Lace Maiden, I was sorely tempted to include them all, but then Louisa’s story would have read as a series of facts and dates, like an academic history book. I had to rein in my enthusiasm and plan how to weave fact and fiction together.

Fact can be defined as something that is perceived to be true, rather than being the actual truth. When I was researching the history of England’s smugglers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, I was aware that the information I read wasn’t often written as it happened, the facts having been altered over the years by the telling and retelling of real events. Therefore, some of the sources I was looking at were probably fictional, something feigned or a product of the writer’s imagination.

My interest in Deal – the town in which I set The Lace Maiden – and the smugglers who ran contraband from France to the Kent coast was piqued by the story of the Aldington gang who came to the fore in the 1820s. Some accounts of smuggling romanticised the bravery and enterprise of the men and women who ran goods while others told what I think is a more accurate tale of threats, skulduggery and violence.

I was keen to link Louisa’s story in The Lace Maiden with the Aldington gang, but I didn’t for two reasons.

Firstly, they were just too unpleasant – they hid the bodies of their adversaries in wells, for example, and murdered Revenue officers. There was no way I could feel any respect or empathy for them, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed writing about them – I hope my readers feel the same!

Secondly, having read more about Deal and how its fortunes rose during the Napoleonic Wars, I decided this was a more exciting era in which to set The Lace Maiden. Involved in shipbuilding and equipping the naval fleet, Deal was a thriving port and army town.

The Lace Maiden

Many people moved in, the population expanding rapidly. The bootmakers, ropemakers, market gardeners, chandlers and provisioners flourished. The smugglers found lucrative work in smuggling illegal imports of cognac, lace and silks from France to England and taking escaped French prisoners of war and gold in the opposite direction across the Channel. After Napoleon was defeated, trade dropped off and the people of Deal suffered greatly from an economic depression with many families becoming dependent on the poorhouse to save themselves from starvation.

When writing about Deal, I chose to use some real places, some of which can still be found today on a stroll through the town, but I also added fictional ones when the story required them. For example, the Three Kings on the seafront where Nelson once stayed is now the Royal Hotel, but there is no evidence that a building in Walmer that was once known as the Rattling Cat was ever an inn. I liked the name so much though that I turned it into one and moved it into Deal.

I’ve had a lot of fun weaving fact and fiction into The Lace Maiden, and still have plenty of information to use in the next book in the series, The Gold Maiden.

Happy reading!
Evie x

You can ‘The Lace Maiden’ from Amazon

Cover Reveal – Never Saw You Coming By Hayley Doyle

Never Saw You Coming

I’m excited to be revealing the cover to Hayley Doyle’s debut book called ‘Never Saw It Coming’.

What the back cover says –

Zara Khoury believes in love – so much so that she flies from Dubai to Liverpool to be with a man she barely knows. It’s a risk, but she’s certain that uprooting her life for Nick is the new start she needs.

Jim Glover is stuck. Since his Dad died, he’s put his dreams aside and stayed at home in Liverpool to care for his mum. Trapped in a dead-end job, he’s going nowhere – that is, until he gets a phone call that just might change his life..

Zara and Jim aren’t supposed to meet. But then fate steps in, and when their worlds – and cars! – collide, the real journey begins…

A gorgeous tale about taking risks and living life to the full – perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary and Josie Silver.

You can pre-order ‘Never Saw You Coming’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from 2nd April 2020.

Merry Christmas from Handwritten Girl

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas is nearly upon us and I’ve found myself writing my annual sign off instead of wrapping presents that are still in their bags. Last minute as always!

Before I sign off, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the lovely publishers and authors who introduced me to some of the most wonderful books this year, from intense thrillers to happy romances, there’s something for everyone to curl up with during the cold winter nights and poolside reads.

Most importantly, thank you to the readers of the website for taking the time to read a review, tweet, Favourite or Like a post, your support is appreciated tremendously. I hope you all have a safe and relaxing Christmas and receive loads of treats from Santa Claus, especially books as there are some great ones out there.

Have a Happy New Year and I shall see you in 2020.

Paige Toon Reveals New Book – The Minute I Saw You

'The Minute I Saw YouWonderful news if you’re a Paige Toon fan as she’s revealed her new book for 2020 called ‘The Minute I Saw You’.

What the back cover says –

Some people believe that it’s possible to fall in love simply by gazing into another person’s eyes, but Hannah, who spends her working life staring into the eyes of strangers, has never felt anything out of the ordinary for any of her clients. Then she meets Sonny, and a spark ignites between them that’s hard to ignore and impossible to forget.

Weeks later, they cross paths again, but Sonny’s whole demeanour has changed. Gone is the sexy, laidback, confident man that Hannah was so attracted to, and in his place is someone who can barely make eye contact at all.

It soon transpires that Sonny is at a crossroads. He’s committed to making serious life changes, but these changes can’t and won’t include romance.

Hannah, who is only temporarily housesitting her uncle’s cottage, has her own reasons for wanting to keep their budding friendship platonic. But as summer hots up and the chemistry between them sizzles, Hannah and Sonny discover that there’s more to each of them than meets the eye…

With a vibrant cover and synposis,’The Minute I Saw You’ sounds like a heartbreaker!

You can pre-order ‘The Minute I Saw You’ from Amazon and will be available from good bookshops from 14th May 2020.

Jane Fallon Reveals New Book – Queen Bee

Queen BeeJane Fallon has revealed her new book for 2020 called ‘Queen Bee’ and it sounds like an absolute treat.

What the back cover says

When Laura’s marriage falls apart she needs to find a home for her and her daughter. And quickly.

Welcome to The Close, a beautiful street of mansions, where Laura rents a tiny studio above a garage, and gorgeous Stella is the indisputable Queen Bee – who soon suspects Laura of having designs on her fiancé.

But when Laura unearths the ghastly secret he is hiding, it threatens Stella’s perfectly curated world as well as Laura’s career.

Hatching an elaborate plan to beat him at his own game, these former enemies are now best friends.

But has Laura forgotten that revenge always comes with a sting in the tail?

Sounds like another explosive story from one of my favourite authors.

You can pre-order ‘Queen Bee’ from Amazon and will be avaiable to buy from good bookshops from 2nd April 2020.