Author who used Cleethorpes as setting for ‘The Variety Girls’ book to host special online event
Author Tracy Baines will host a virtual event via Zoom this week to promote her book The Variety Girls, which is set in Cleethorpes.
The event, which is set to take place on Friday evening, will see Tracy talking about her inspiration for the book, from working backstage at Cleethorpes Pier when it was a live music venue, to travelling the country with variety theatre acts and the likes of The Nolans and Cannon and Ball.
She will also host a Q&A session during the event and provide tips on how to become a successful fiction writer.
‘The Variety Girls’ is set at the beginning of World War II in Cleethorpes, with locations such as The Pier and The Empire Theatre on Alexandra Road, which is now home to Fair World Amusements.
Tracy was born in Cleethorpes, but moved away to Dorset for her husband’s work.
She said: “It’s where my heart is. I was born there, my family still live there. I’ve been to lots of seaside resorts but there’s nothing like home to fire the inspiration and give depth and authenticity.
“The square mile where my books are set was my childhood playground. I know what it is to walk those streets and that allows me more freedom to think about the characters and plot as I write.
“I think distance helps you reflect on home in a different way, whether that distance is space or time.
“I’ve been to many seaside resorts over the years and they’re the same in many ways, especially in the summer, but I know Cleethorpes inside out. All my happy childhood memories are there and it’s easy to tap into them for the feel-good, uplifting fiction that I write.”
When asked why Cleethorpes stands out from other British seaside towns, Tracy said: “Definitely the people. They are warm and friendly, and I hope that’s reflected in the books. For a period, Cleethorpes seemed to have lost its way – as many places do from time to time, but it’s certainly reinventing and regenerating itself now. I see huge changes each time I return. Redevelopment takes time, energy and money, but the effects of that investment is beginning to show.
“I think Cleethorpes has space, wide open skies and clean beaches. And it has proper sand – so many beaches are shingle and I can’t see the joy in that.
“I love that the donkeys still are on the beach and that there are still traditional elements of what people expect from the seaside – arcades, amusements, the Helter Skelter and other rides.
“St Peter’s Avenue is a little gem and Sea View Street just gets better all the time. There are fabulous shops like Original Emporium and Arttopia and I’m really looking forward to calling in at Maranta on my next visit.
“So many young people have energy and are taking a risk to make Cleethorpes a great place to be. There are great coffee shops and bars – there’s something for everyone. I think Cleethorpes has a charm all of its own.”
The online event will take place on Friday 23 April from 6.30pm to 7.00pm and can be joined via the link here.