Hello, my friends!
Today I have the pleasure to take part in Elisabeth Carpenter’s blog tour for her latest gripping thriller, 11 Missed Calls. If you still haven’t read it, do not worry. I’ll leave the Amazon links below. My review is coming up later this week, but today I have a guest post from lovely Elisabeth for you. Many thanks to lovely Sabah and the amazing team at Avon for the chance to be part of this blog tour. Enjoy!
Going back to the 80s.
Part of my second novel, 11 Missed Calls, is set in Lancashire in 1986. I had only just started high school that year, so my memories are vague. My main character, Debbie, is in her twenties, so she has a different view of the world at that time than my eleven-year-old self had. This meant I had to do quite a bit of research (and annoy my mum with a million questions a day!)
Debbie grew up on a council estate, where she sees the face of it change with the introduction of the Right to Buy in 1980. She remembers the time when all the houses looked the same, but she believes that those who bought their houses wanted them to look different to those who didn’t (as I wrote about that, I kept thinking about Coronation Street’s Vera Duckworth and her stone cladding!) Of course, this is my character’s generalisation.
Debbie’s father also felt the impact of Thatcher Britain – he was made redundant from a car manufacturing plant a few years before and carries with him a huge hatred of Margaret Thatcher – he can’t even watch her on television. My grandad was a docker in Liverpool at the end of the eighties when the Nation Dock Labour Board was dismantled under the Conservatives. A lot people working in such sectors (including the car and coal industries) despised Thatcher because of all the new employment laws and her desire to disempower the trade unions.
On a lighter note, I had forgotten that television ended around midnight until I read old TV Guides. When my character wakes in the night to feed the baby, she uses Ceefax as a distraction. Usually, though, by the time she’d read half a page it would flick to the next. Looking through these television magazines, I saw the rise in soap operas and Australian dramas (Sons and Daughters and The Sullivans on repeat – there were lots of repeats back then). Eastenders had first aired the year before in 1985, as had the short-lived Albion Market.
Debbie’s mother in 11 Missed Calls, loves the royal family (much to the disgust of her husband) and in 1986 was the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. This was held on a Wednesday and not a Saturday like I’d assumed so I had to re-write the timeline to reflect this. Her mother holds a tea party with red, white and blue cakes, while her husband hides in the shed.
It was really interesting researching 1986 – I must have had blinkers on when I was eleven! I hope that in including the details above, it has added to the authenticity of Debbie’s chapters of the past.