SAGA SATURDAY!! Welcome Ebury Press author, Tracy Baines...

Confidence is a funny thing isn’t it. You can look at someone and think, ‘Yep, they’ve got their stuff together, they know exactly what they’re doing.’ But if you got the chance to chat you might find the truth is the exact opposite. Most of us are good at putting on a mask, aren’t we? Even if it’s only saying how delighted you are for a Christmas present that you loathe – I’m thinking of Mark D’Arcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary, his tacky Christmas jumpers and awful ties. Acting – and good manners.

I saw Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration, on TV at Christmas. She bounded onto the Palladium stage in front of a packed audience, full of energy and pizzazz - and my immediate thought was, ‘How terrifying. I couldn’t do that.’ But many performers do exactly that, even if that particular day they don’t want to. It’s their job. To summon that amount of energy on demand must be exhausting.

So, you may wonder where I’m going with all this? Well, I am fascinated with performers. What makes men and women able to go out there and act, sing, dance? When I was nine my parents took on the management of a pub, The Pier Hotel, and began putting on live entertainment. The pub was opposite Cleethorpes pier and many of the entertainers from the variety shows came into the pub. 

Entertainment and entertainers fascinated me. How did they become that larger than life person on stage when they were so normal off it?

When I was sixteen, I got a job backstage at the pier theatre. The first summer season starred Tony Christie, and Cannon & Ball. I was able to see first-hand how these performers behaved, how they become something ‘other’ once they stepped out into the spotlight. It can’t just be confidence can it? 

It has to be something else. Discovering what it is keeps me writing, keeps me curious.

My debut novel, The Variety Girls is set in Cleethorpes just before the outbreak of war in 1939. Jessie Delaney goes to see a variety show on Cromer Pier and it changes her life forever. Jessie is one of The Variety Girls; she gets to appear on stage, I get to write about the things I love, the things I’m curious about. We’ve perhaps all heard the phrase ‘Write About what you know’. I’d say, write about what you love. You’re going to spend a long time alone, writing, researching. If you love what you do it will all become so much easier.

 The Variety Girls by Tracy Baines

Even with the country at war the show must go on …

After the tragic death of her father, aspiring singer Jessie Delaney has been forced to live with her bullying aunt and dreams of getting the break of a lifetime to escape.

When she's cast as one of the Variety Girls in a new show at the Empire Theatre, Jessie hopes this is the new beginning she's been longing for. But following her dreams on stage will mean being separated from sweetheart Harry.
As she starts her new job, it's not long before she forms a close-knit friendship with Frances and Dolly, although the girls soon find that life in the theatre isn't always glamorous. And with the country on the brink of war, everyone is facing an uncertain future. Can friendship help Jessie through the challenges ahead?

 A gritty and heart-warming saga perfect for readers of

Elaine Everest and Daisy Styles.
From the age of sixteen, Tracy Baines worked summer seasons, pantomimes and everything else in-between at the local end of the pier show. She met her husband when he was appearing with the Nolan Sisters and she was Assistant Stage Manager. Her knowledge of the theatre world from both sides of the stage and the hierarchy that keeps the show running really bring this saga to life. She’s also written articles and short stories for key publications for this audience including Woman’s Weekly, Take a Break, The People’s Friend and My Weekly.
Facebook: @tracybainesauthor
Twitter: tracyfbaines            
Instagram: tracyfbaines        

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