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April Book of the Month: The Lido by Libby Page. Ask Libby a question ahead of the author webchat on Tuesday 7 May at 9pm

(34 Posts)
SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Apr-19 12:27:46

Our bookclub read for April is Libby Page's debut novel, The Lido, a heart-warming and inspiring tale about an age-gap friendship and taking a stand for the important things in life.

Find out more about the book and read or listen to an extract. And then grab a copy and join us in reading The Lido ahead of the author webchat on Tuesday 7 May at 9pm.

Buy the paperback now for £5.75

Sponsored by Orion Books

Blankspace4 Sat 13-Apr-19 13:15:14

Read this and loved it

TheresaT Wed 24-Apr-19 14:27:12

Can anyone recommend some great non fiction books in the mind body and spirit genres. Thank you.

littlerose12345 Thu 25-Apr-19 09:20:29

Almost done, looking forward to the chat!

Skyejuly Fri 26-Apr-19 12:43:08

Count me in.

SunnySomer Fri 26-Apr-19 17:17:40

Ooh I read this last week and really enjoyed it! I live in a town with a lido that’s only open May- September and was feeling quite envious of Brixtonites’ ability to swim year round!

MintyT Sat 04-May-19 06:52:29

Loved this book, it needs to be made into a film

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 07-May-19 14:39:05

Hey folks! Thanks for your feedback so far. Don't forget to post any questions you have for Libby ahead of the webchat tonight smile

centralmix Tue 07-May-19 16:10:49

I love the sound of this book smile Is

SuckingDieselFella Tue 07-May-19 17:13:04

Hi Libby, how long did it take you to write The Lido and you have any advice for someone trying to finish their first novel?

SuckingDieselFella Tue 07-May-19 17:15:11

That should say, do you have any advice!

ShirleyAvenue Tue 07-May-19 18:01:54

I enjoyed this book - especially the friendship between the older lady and the younger woman. I wish there were more opportunities for peoples' lives to cross in this way. Both sides have something to offer the other.

I also liked the way the story moved between past and present- like swimming from the shallow end to the deep end and back.

FernieB Tue 07-May-19 19:56:49

I'm partway through the book and really enjoying it. It's reminding me of when I lived abroad for a few years and every town had a lido which was open 8 months a year. Like Rosemary I loved swimming in the rain - even heavy rain. It was so atmospheric. My favourite memory of it though was swimming watching birds and butterflies swoop down to drink from the pool just ahead of me.

Libby - what's your favourite thing about lidos? And do you like swimming in the rain?

HarrietMWelsch Tue 07-May-19 20:24:33

Hi Libby, am really enjoying the book. My question is: Do you have much experience of age-gap friendships?

I personally have only really experienced them through work (and also book clubs). Do you think society would be better if there were more opportunities for them to flourish - and indeed, more of a sense of community to be created, especially in places like London?

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 07-May-19 20:57:03

Good evening and welcome to Libby Page, debut author of heartwarming novel The Lido. Thanks so much for joining us Libby. Over to you... brew

LibbyPage Tue 07-May-19 21:00:39

Hello everyone! Thanks so much for joining me and for all the great questions so far. I'm cosy on my sofa with a cup of tea and am ready to chat with you - looking forward to answering your questions.

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 07-May-19 21:07:32

We'll let you answer the questions already here but before I forget, here are the ones we ask all our Book of the Month authors smile

What was your favourite childhood book?

What was the last book you gave to someone as a gift?

What was the last book you read?

Can you describe the room(s) where you wrote The Lido?

LibbyPage Tue 07-May-19 21:08:37

SuckingDieselFella

Hi Libby, how long did it take you to write The Lido and you have any advice for someone trying to finish their first novel?

Hi and thanks for your question! The Lido took me about 6 months of planning - for me this didn't mean plotting out the whole book as such but more building the characters and story in my mind and feeling really confident that this was the story I wanted to tell before starting. It then took 1 year of actual writing to finish the first draft, which I then sent out to literary agents.

In terms of advice, firstly I'd say good for you for making a start! I know how hard it can be to fit in writing alongside other life commitments. I wrote The Lido whilst doing a full-time job in marketing which meant getting up early in the morning to write before work, writing during my lunchbreak and on weekends. If you're serious about wanting to write a novel I do think you need to be serious about planning out time to dedicate to it, as otherwise it just won't get done. I found setting a daily word target helped, but the actual amount of words will completely depend on you and what other things you're juggling. If you do a little bit regularly it will get done, however impossible it might seem at times!

I found monitoring my progress really helped me to stay motivated. I just used a simple star chart for every 1,000 words I wrote which might sound silly but did really help to make me feel like I was getting somewhere! A book can take a long time to write so I think it's important to acknowledge the small steps along the way.

Good luck and stick at it - I'm certainly so glad that I persevered with my book!

FernieB Tue 07-May-19 21:11:45

What was the inspiration for the book? The characters just leap off the page - they're so wonderful. Are any of them based on people you've met?

HarrietMWelsch Tue 07-May-19 21:17:55

Love the idea of a star chart! Have you got a second novel in the works? And how did you find the process of writing that in comparison?

LibbyPage Tue 07-May-19 21:20:23

FernieB

I'm partway through the book and really enjoying it. It's reminding me of when I lived abroad for a few years and every town had a lido which was open 8 months a year. Like Rosemary I loved swimming in the rain - even heavy rain. It was so atmospheric. My favourite memory of it though was swimming watching birds and butterflies swoop down to drink from the pool just ahead of me.

Libby - what's your favourite thing about lidos? And do you like swimming in the rain?

Hi FernieB!

What a lovely description of your experience of lidos! I have never seen butterflies while swimming (that sounds wonderful!) but definitely agree that birds dipping into the water as well as flying overhead is a very special part of swimming at a lido.

I live in London, so for me, a big appeal of lidos are the fact they enable me to feel a connection with nature that I might otherwise lack. I love watching the seasons change in a lido, feeling the water temperature change, seeing leaves falling on the surface in autumn and blossom in spring. There is something magical and freeing about swimming beneath open sky - I now struggle to swim in indoor pools as I find them too claustrophobic!

I love how friendly lidos are. Although my novel is fictional, the sense of community I describe in the book is very real. Whenever I visit a lido I end up chatting with people, either in the changing room or in the pool. They are places where all sorts of people come together and share their love of the water, and I love that. Teenagers hanging out in the summer, 'serious' swimmers training for triathlons, families with young children... you get everyone at a lido.

Many lidos are also very special buildings too - there are some truly beautiful lidos across the UK. Brockwell Lido, where my book is set, is an amazing art deco style building. They are very unique and feel such an important part of our history.

And yes, I do enjoy swimming in the rain! When you're standing on the side whilst it's raining it can feel very unappealing to get in the water! But as soon as you're in your whole perspective changes. The rain is suddenly something beautiful - the way it falls on the water, the way you feel part of it. I can sometimes get quite low when the weather is rubbish, but swimming in the rain has helped me see the positives in bad weather! A useful lesson for life I think!

LibbyPage Tue 07-May-19 21:27:44

HarrietMWelsch

Hi Libby, am really enjoying the book. My question is: Do you have much experience of age-gap friendships?

I personally have only really experienced them through work (and also book clubs). Do you think society would be better if there were more opportunities for them to flourish - and indeed, more of a sense of community to be created, especially in places like London?

Hi HarrietMWelsch,

Lots of people ask me if Rosemary's character is based on someone in my own life, and I'd love to say she was! I'd love to have a friend like Rosemary! I think in some ways I wrote about a kind of friendship that I would have loved to experience when I first moved to London and really struggled to find my feet.

That said, since writing The Lido I have tried to broaden where I look to find friends, because I completely agree that friendship doesn't have to be limited by age or background. I really believe it's possible to share connections with people of all ages, and that just being human means we have more in common with others than we might think. I have recently made a new friend in my local area and it only really entered my mind recently that we are very different ages (I am about the same age as her daughter) - we just have so many shared interests that I don't really notice the age gap. I also spend quite a lot of time with my soon to be mother-in-law who again is from a different generation but who has lots of shared interests with me.

I think there's so much to be said for having friends of different ages, and just for encouraging people to think 'outside the box' when it comes to friendship - to realise we have much more in common with others than we might realise. I was heartened recently when an 18 year old reached out to me via social media and told me she'd read my book and has a really close friendship with her neighbour who is 90 years old. She said they have a great time together and make each other laugh - and isn't that what friendship is all about?

impostersyndrome Tue 07-May-19 21:35:55

Hi just spotted this. I loved your book. It was so good on being lonely in a crowd. And your description of the streets around the lido just brought it to life even though I’ve never visited there. Have you lived in the district yourself?

LibbyPage Tue 07-May-19 21:36:28

FernieB

What was the inspiration for the book? The characters just leap off the page - they're so wonderful. Are any of them based on people you've met?

Thanks FernieB for another great question, and I'm so pleased to hear you enjoyed the characters in The Lido. The inspiration for my book came from lots of different places. I lived in Brixton for a while as a student, and it's while living there that I first came to feel a sense of community around me - something I'd struggled to experience when I first moved to London from a small town at 18. In Brixton I felt like there really was a strong sense of community, but that it was under threat by chains and developers moving into the area and threatening community spaces such as libraries and independent shops. I wanted to write a story about how much we have to lose when we lose those kinds of places from our towns and cities.

At the same time I was also coming to love outdoor swimming and I felt really inspired by the community I saw around the pool too. While Rosemary's character isn't based on any one particular woman, she was definitely inspired by seeing older women at lidos who jump fearlessly into cold water while teenagers are left shivering on the side. I found that attitude really inspiring so wanted to write a character like that.

Some of the secondary characters are inspired by people I saw at the lido too. For example when I write a small scene about a heavily pregnant woman swimming at the lido - I so often see pregnant women swimming at the pool and see how much relief they seem to experience as they enter the water and are suddenly weightless.

I suppose that Kate's character was partly inspired by my own experiences of moving to London and struggling to find my feet. The panic attacks she experiences are something I've gone through too. In many ways I'm quite different from Kate, but I definitely used a lot of my own experiences to build parts of her story.

I think that in general when I come up with characters they are a mix of my experiences, people I've come into contact with plus people I'd like to meet or who just come to me in a burst of imagination!

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 07-May-19 21:38:51

I agree with @MintyT that The Lido would make a great film. Who would be your dream Rosemary and Kate?

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