SAGA SATURDAY - Welcome fabulous Aria Fiction author, Tania Crosse...


There is an old adage for authors that you should always write about what you know. Of course, for any novel there will always be considerable research which must be absolutely meticulous – you can’t afford to get anything wrong! But in general terms I would utterly agree that you need a pretty good insight into what you’re writing about before you start.

My first ten stories were set in and around west Dartmoor, an area I know intimately. For fifteen years, we owned a tiny cottage in a small moorland village. My love for those wild uplands and my knowledge of their rich and fascinating history simply grew and grew until I was bursting with a desire to share them with others through my novels.

More recently, I have been writing about London and the south east, notably the Kent countryside. The latter I have got to know well as one of my sons has lived there for over a decade. I was, though, born a Londoner, and it was to the very street I lived in as a small child that I returned for my latest two titles, The Candle Factory Girl and The Street of Broken Dreams, which form The Banbury Street Series, set in 1930s and 1945 respectively.

Of course, the memories of a small child are limited, but those I do have are most vivid. The street itself, our house, some of the people who lived there are still very fresh in my mind. Battersea Park, just a stone’s throw away, is as clear in my head as if it were yesterday, with its funfair, tree walk and Guinness Clock, all now long gone. The excitement of watching steam trains at Clapham Junction and walking out of the station’s back entrance past the eerie ‘banana arches’ on a dark and foggy winter’s evening are memories that will stay with me forever. I just had to include the latter, and if you’ve read The Candle Factory Girl, you will know that I use it as the location of a dark, traumatic event!

The heroine of The Street of Broken Dreams, though, is a dancer. Dance has been one of my life-long passions, so I suppose it was inevitable that one day I would write a book in which dance was a main element. Do I know much about dance? Well, I have to say that, yes, I do!

I began ballet classes at the tender age of four when my family was still living in Banbury Street. 

Later on, we moved around somewhat, but I always went to ballet and eventually, I started at Miss Doris Knight’s School of Dance. Although I was only twelve years old at the time, I recognised what a brilliant teacher Miss Knight was, but little realised that this was to become a life-long friendship.

I studied under Miss Knight until I went to university. I knew I was never going to be good enough to audition for the Royal Ballet School, but I loved my dancing with a passion. Miss Knight produced a show every two years – and my, were they shows! Her husband was a conductor, and when it came to the main performance, we were accompanied by a full orchestra at – wait for it – prestigious Wimbledon Theatre. Ah, now – if you’ve read The Street of Broken Dreams, you will see how it all fits into my story!

After university, I returned to Miss Knight’s for three years. Then my husband’s job took us sixty odd miles away to live in the country, which was a dream come true. My one and only regret was having to leave Miss Knight’s. However we corresponded regularly for well over thirty years. When I began writing, she was a huge fan and bought every one of my books. She eventually retired in her eighties. Knowing I hoped one day to pen a novel about a dancer, she gave me all her old dance syllabuses, and told me all about her war-time experiences in a repertory company which inspired Cissie’s career in the book. Sadly she never saw it all come to fruition, but her friendship and all that she taught me will remain in my heart forever.

My own ballet days are long over, although peek through the window and you might catch me spinnning a few posĂ© turns across the kitchen floor. And the legacy of my passion for dance is that whenever I hear some suitable music, I am instantly choreographing in my head, whether it be for soloists, pas-de –deux or corps de ballet. Of course, I see my dancers performing to a standard I could only ever dream of myself, but I understand every movement, every step, every port-de-bras.
When you read some of the technicalities in the book, you can be assured that every detail is correct.

So, all in all, I believe that old adage holds true. Yes, there are always more details you need to dig out. I find research absolutely fascinating, and what a joy it is when you come across something that, say, inspires a new thread to the story. The greatest joy, though, is sharing your knowledge with your readers and using it to create a tale that will stay with them long after they have finished your story.



Fragile, broken, dead inside. She only lives when she dances...

In the summer of 1945, the nation rejoices as the Second World War comes to an end, but Banbury Street matriarch, Eva Parker, foresees trouble lying ahead.

Whilst her daughter, Mildred, awaits the return of her fiancé from overseas duty, doubts begin to seep into her mind about how little she knows of the man she has promised to marry.

Meanwhile, new neighbour, dancer Cissie Cresswell, hides a terrible secret. The end of the conflict will bring her no release from the brutal night that destroyed her life. Can she ever find her way back?

Under Eva’s stalwart care, can the two young women unite to face the doubt and uncertainty of the future?

Published in e-book and paperback by Aria Fiction, an imprint of Head of Zeus
Available to download from Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Apple Books and GooglePlay
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Tania Crosse was born in London and lived in Banbury Street, Battersea, the setting of her two latest novels, The Candle Factory Girl and The Street of Broken Dreams. But when she was five, the family moved to Surrey where her love of the countryside took root. She later graduated with a degree in French Literature but did not have time to indulge her lifetime passion for writing stories until her own family had grown up.

Side by side with her meticulous historical research and love of Dartmoor, she began penning her novels set in that area from Victorian times to the 1950s, all based closely on local history. In 2014, she completed her Devonshire series with her tenth traditionally published novel, Teardrops in the Moon, before taking her writing career in a new direction with four sagas set in London and the south east, published by Aria Fiction. Tania is particularly excited about her latest release as the heroine is a dancer, and dance, in particular ballet, has been one of her life-time passions. Like her heroine, she once danced solo on stage at Wimbledon Theatre so knows first-hand what a thrill that would have been.

Tania and her husband have lived in a tiny village on the Hampshire/Berkshire border since 1976. They have three grown-up children and two grandchildren. Tania was shortlisted for the area Sue Ryder Women of Achievement Award 2009 and her brother is famous thriller writer, Terence Strong.

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