I have a gold medal in ballroom dancing. Len Goodman’s ex in-laws taught me to dance. I attended Erith Dance Studios, which features in my next book.

I was a Brown Owl. I have a great love of the Girl Guide movement and that is why it features in The Butlins Girls. After graduating the guides I stayed on to help out and ran the Brownie pack for a while.

I have a Sumlock Comptometer Diploma. Impressed eh? Back in the dark ages (1970s) before calculators were widely used in the workplace women would make all calculations on machines called comptometers. It was a skilled job that required training and an exam.

I was a guinea pig for the cold cap. It was made up of a black bin bag full of ice cubes that was bandaged to my head for a few hours either side of my chemotherapy treatment. It worked, despite the ice water dripping down my neck during the hot August of 1980. However, it worked as I have now been a survivor of breast cancer for almost 37 years and have much to be thankful for.

I cry when I hear an old-fashioned fairground organ playing. It reminds me of my mum and how she would tell stories of her family’s travelling fair and of her dad. The one time I ever saw her cry was when her dad died at the age of sixty-two. I lost Mum when she was 40 years of age. Sometimes only a good cry will do.

I turned down the opportunity to be a flower fairy when I was six years old. I’ve regretted it ever since.

I planned to move from Kent to Cornwall in 1982 but we were gazumped over the price of a building plot. Circumstances after that meant we never had the chance to move again. If I could turn the clock back…

My love of holiday camps comes from visiting Warners with my parents and siblings many times in the 1960s when we lived in wooden huts and had so much fun! The memories formed much of my research for The Butlins Girls.

The house where many of my characters lived in The Woolworths Girls is where I lived for over twenty years. The perfect setting.

Molly’s love interest, Johnny Johnson, in The Butlins Girls came to me when I was watching the film Easter Parade. No, it wasn’t Fred Astaire. It was his co-star, Peter Lawford, who played Jonathan Harrow the third. There was something about him…

The Butlins Girls by Elaine Everest is published 4th May by PanMacmillan (paperback original, £6.99)

The Bulins Girls

The Bulins Girls

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