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Today Liz Trenow stops by and takes part in my Inspired By feature.
💫 The Dressmaker of Draper’s Lane by Liz Trenow
-Back of the Book
The richest silk hides the deepest secrets . . .
The Dressmaker of Draper’s Lane revisits the opulence and extravagance of the London silk trade in the mid-eighteenth century which Liz Trenow wrote about in her previous bestselling novel, The Silk Weaver.
As a foundling who rose from poverty and now runs her own successful dressmaking business in the heart of society London, Miss Charlotte is a remarkable woman, admired by many. She has no need, nor desire, to marry. The people she values most are her friend Anna, her recently-found sister Louisa and nephew Peter.
She feels herself fortunate, and should be content with what she has. But something is missing.
A small piece of rare silk discovered in a bundle of scraps at auction triggers a curious sense of familiarity, and prompts her to unpick a past filled with extraordinary secrets and revelations . . .
About the author
Liz Trenow is the author of several historical novels, including The Last Telegram, The Forgotten Seamstress, The Poppy Factory, The Silk Weaver and In Love and War. Liz’s family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years and she grew up in a house next to the mill in Suffolk, which still operates today, weaving for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions. This unique history inspired her first two novels, and this, her fourth novel. Liz is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia with her artist husband, and they have two grown-up daughters.
- Can you tell us about someone who inspired your writing in some way? What it means to you now and if you could say anything to them what would it be?
Noo, that’s just too hard! The person who got me started trying to write fiction was Ian McEwan whose early short stories in The Cement Garden and The Comfort of Strangers were so surprising and macabre that he hooked me from the start, and I’ve read everything of his since then.
The author who made me want to write historical fiction was Tracy Chevalier’s The Lady and the Unicorn, which is set in a tapestry weaving workshop. It made me realise that silk weaving could also provide an interesting setting for a novel.
And finally (I am allowed three, aren’t I?) I would nominate my father, who ran the family silk weaving business for most of the last century and whose stories inspired in me a deep love of silk, and led me to write the three hundred year history of the company from which so much of my inspiration has been drawn.
What would I say to them all: a million thanks.
- What words of advice would you offer anyone starting their writing career?
Don’t listen to what people say about the market, just write what you want to write. And don’t give up. Almost every writer has had a dozen or more rejections. It hurts, but you have to persevere.
- What does being a writer mean to you?
Writing is my livelihood, my therapy, my identity, the source of many joys – and the odd tear.
- Finally, do you have a favourite bookish quote?
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” Terry Pratchett
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