Fishermen’s revival book was a real joy to write for Halesworth woman

Local author Dorothy Stewart with her new book "When The Fisher Girls Came to Town"at Waterstones bo

Local author Dorothy Stewart with her new book "When The Fisher Girls Came to Town"at Waterstones book store, Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

An author from Halesworth has published her first novel based around the Great Yarmouth Fishermen’s Revival of 1921.

Dorothy Courtis, who writes under the pen name Dorothy Stewart, said she found researching and writing the novel a “sheer joy”.

The inspiration for the book came from lunch with Alice and Peter Blackburn of Pulham Market.

Mrs Courtis is a lay preacher in the Waveney Valley Ecumenical Partnership and was being entertained at lunch after leading worship at the Methodist church.

She said: “We were talking, and I mentioned I came from Wick. Mr Blackburn said ‘Well, you’ll know all about the 1921 Fishermen’s Revival,’ and I said no, I don’t actually.


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“That inspired me to look into it. And almost at once I knew I had to write a book based on it.”

Determined to keep to a routine, she wrote for an hour each day, completing 1,000 words of the novel in each session.

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“It was like watching a video in my mind. All I had to do was type fast enough to keep up with it,” she said.

Mrs Courtis, who has written 10 other books, recommends writing every day, stating if you leave it too long you “start to lose touch with the characters.”

When the Boats Come Home follows Wick fisherman Robbie Ross, who is thrown off the family’s boat after a dispute with his father.

His sister Lydia, a First World War widow, reluctantly sets out to bring him home, and finds herself in Yarmouth amongst the fisher lassies she was taught to look down on.

As the revival takes the town by storm, Lydia falls in love with a visiting Baptist minister Frank Everett. But the path of true love does not run smooth - there is a family secret.

“I realised the clue was something that happened in World War One,” said Mrs Courtis. “Two of my great-uncles had been killed in the war so I began to dig into what happened to them.

“I started to think there was maybe a mystery in one case so I took some of that mystery and put it into the novel.

“But all is revealed in the end and there is a happy ever after!”

When The Boats Come Home is available at local bookshops and on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.

Are you releasing a book or publication? Email bbj.news@archant.co.uk

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