As part of the blog tour for Heather Burnside’s latest novel, she joins me today with a fantastic guest post about how her childhood memories have influenced her writing …
Over to you Heather …
In setting the scene for the first part of Born Bad, I have drawn on my memories of growing up in a working class Manchester suburb in the 70s. The area where the two main characters, Peter and Adele, grow up is based on my home town of Gorton in Manchester.
Gorton is famous for the following:
Shameless – The channel four programme featuring the fictitious Chatsworth estate was originally filmed in West Gorton.
Belle Vue – This was a well-known zoological gardens, amusement park and speedway venue until the zoo closed in 1977 followed by the amusement park in 1980 and the speedway in 1987. Belle Vue still has a greyhound racing stadium and snooker hall.
Gorton Monastery – A beautiful Grade ll listed building formerly occupied by Franciscan monks. It recently underwent a £6 million fundraising campaign enabling the building to be restored and is now used as a conference and events centre.
Memories I’ve Drawn On
There are a few scenes in the book where I’ve specifically drawn on my childhood memories of growing up in Gorton. Some of these memories are:
The Corner Shop Gossips – In the 70s there was a corner shop on virtually every corner in Gorton and many women would pass the time of day congregating in the corner shop and gossiping. A lot of them were quite judgemental with the children that went inside the shops and it wasn’t uncommon for the shopkeeper to give children a good ticking off if they were misbehaving.
The Local Park – We referred to it as the park but it was basically a playground with some fields to the side and a red rec next to it where the older boys played football.
Playing Out – As well as going to the local park, we used to play out in the street a lot. There weren’t so many cars in those days so it was usual for children to play games in the street such as – Statues, Ticky It, Please Mr Fisherman, Two-a-Ball, Knock a Door Run, Hide and Seek and Skipping.
Fights after School – It was a tough area to be brought up in and it was common then to settle any schoolyard disagreements after school. As the red rec was quite near to our school, children would often congregate there after school to watch a fight and cheer on the opponents.
The Local Pub – The father in Born Bad was a regular in his local pub. I’ve based the pub on my memories of a local pub called the Vulcan where many men would drink a few pints after work. Its popular name among the locals was the Monkey although there are conflicting views as to why the pub gained this name.
School Spelling Tests – As well as spelling tests, we were regularly tested on our times tables. Competition amongst children was encouraged then. To win a book prize for being Top of the Class, win a race on school sports day or get the lead role in the annual Nativity play were all things that we coveted.
In many ways the 70s were tough times and were quite different to children’s lives today. However, we made the most of what was available to us and were very inventive. Some say children nowadays would benefit from playing out more instead of spending a lot of their time on computers and mobile phones but I think that each era has its own pros and cons.
Want to see all these memories in action? Here’s the book info!
Aria (1 July 2017)
Book 1 in this new, gritty Manchester crime trilogy. When your enemies get close, family loyalty is all you can trust.
Brother and sister Peter and Adele Robinson never stood a chance. Dragged up by an alcoholic, violent father, and a weak, beaten mother, their childhood in Manchester only prepared them for a life of crime and struggle. But Adele is determined to break the mould. She studies hard at school and, inspired by her beloved grandmother Joyce, she finally makes a successful life for herself on her own.
Peter is not so lucky. Getting more and more immersed in the murky world of crime and gangs, his close bonds with Adele gradually loosen until they look set to break altogether.
But old habits die hard, and one devastating night, Adele is forced to confront her violent past. Dragged back into her worst nightmares, there’s only one person she can turn to when her life is on the line – her brother Peter. After all, blood is thicker than water…
You can get your copy over at:
About the author …
Heather Burnside is a Manchester-based author who, after taking a career break to raise a family, swapped credit control for writing and decided to study for a writing diploma. Heather had articles featured in several popular UK magazines before publishing her first Manchester-based crime thriller in 2014.
Be sure to follow the rest of the tour …