What’s Cooking? Tamworth LitFest – meet the authors

More details about the Tamworth LitFest … the first festival day is on Thursday 14th April in the evening from 5pm – 8pm. All free and including cooking demos and tastings, author signings and a Waterstones book stand. I’m signing and talking about my book The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, a memoir with recipes to soothe the soul, and a few tasters from those recipes! I hope I see you there – come and have a chat.

UK edition front coverAnd below is the schedule for the event:

Tam Lit Fest Poster A4 PDF [2574586] (1)

Springtime, daffodils and an author interview

P1010634Spring is (hP1010635opefully!) coming at last! A vase of daffodils is a little ray of sunshine, isn’t it? I’m looking out of the window of my study at the daffodils, snowdrops (very late), drifts of crocuses  and grape hyacinths, which are all starting to open into bloom under the trees.

I’m sorry that I haven’t been in touch for a while but sadly we have had the final illness and passing of my mother-in-law recently and the funeral yesterday.

On a brighter note, I’m now preparing for the first of the Tamworth Literary Festival dates, Thursday April14th, when I’m taking part in an evening  session of the Festival’s food and books event. I will be talking about my book, The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen, which is a memoir of renovation and research, with recipes of food to soothe the soul. I may even take along some samples to tempt you.

The other two dates in the Tamworth festival are Saturday June11th focussed on Romance literature, when I’ll be promoting my Drumbeats trilogy, and Saturday October 29th on Hallowe’en, when I’ll be doing something spooky with my children’s novel, S.C.A.R.S.

In the meantime, those of you who have signed up for my quarterly newsletter will have received it today and read my interview with author Anne Harvey over tea and cakes. I’ll be featuring other authors in forthcoming editions, including some famous popular writers … whose names I’ll be dropping in a later post.

Just to give you a flavour, here is the start of my interview with Anne, whose latest novel is just released on Amazon and is called ‘Bittersweet Flight’ and is a nostalgic tale of self-discovery, courage, loss and love in 1950s Lancashire. Check it out at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CBTQH54

So, as we sipped our Earl Grey tea and munched on French macarons, I asked Anne how and when she started writing for publication … she said,

In the early 1960s, I spent a short time living and working in the United States. So life-changing was the experience that I wove a fictional novel around it and naïvely sent it out to various publishers. With no luck, of course. It was still, I now realise, a long way off publication. By then, I was hooked on the love of writing. In the intervening years, I wrote another two novels, now all gathering dust on the shelf, probably the best place for them. I also got involved in tracing my family history and wrote articles, many of them commissioned, on my research for various journals and national magazines. I really only took my writing seriously after taking early retirement. Last year, I self-published my debut novel, A Suitable Young Man, with some moderate success, I’m pleased to say.”

To read the whole interview, click on the Newsletter pic on the right side of my home page, and subscribe.

See you again soon!

My Newsletter

sign up image for website

I’m starting a new venture – a quarterly newsletter! It will contain news, writer-ly and reader-ly stuff, interviews, events, author tips, and maybe a competition every now and then! If you would like to see what I and other writers are up to, the latest books in the genres I love to read (romance, contemporary, historical, time-slip, fantasy, crime and thrillers), and events for writers and readers, as well as my take on life,  then please sign up on the side-bar of my home page (look for the image above to click on!).

If you have ‘liked’ my site or a blog before, you won’t be automatically signed up, so please CLICK. I’d love you to join us (my merry band is growing!) to take

AFTERNOON TEA WITH JULIA

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See you soon,

Julia   x

 

Happy Christmas, everyone

It is the time of year when I go into hibernation for a while to devote my time to my friends and family for Christmas and the New Year. It doesn’t look as though we are going to have the dreamed-of white Christmas in the UK but we are still getting ready the mulled wine, hot mince pies and looking forward to cooking turkey with all the trimmings. Today we have baked sticky toffee pudding which will be an alternative to the Christmas plum pud with brandy sauce, and we are freezing it for The Day!

Our menu:

starters: meat antipasti platter/seafood platter with salad

main course: roast turkey with ‘pigs in blankets’, chestnut stuffing, crispy roast potatoes, carrots, honeyed roast parsnips, brussels with bacon lardons and herb butter

pudding: plum pud with brandy and Courvoisier sauce; raspberry and prosecco panna cotta terrine; limoncello buche de Noel; sticky toffee pudding

We have a lot of guests but I think we’ll be eating left-overs for weeks (hopefully!).

I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and successful New Year. See you in 2016!

Chatsworth Proms 2015P1010599

Having fun with posters

My grandson started me off with a poster of my books so far …

all books poster

 

(a little blurred, I know, but lovely!) … and then I got the bug. A friend told me about photofunia and so the addiction began …

Books gallery photofunia

This  is fun – my book covers as artwork in an exhibition. What else could I do …

 

 

 

Drumbeats and Walking poster PhotoFunia-

 

Maybe posters along a wall down an urban  street …

 

 

Drumbeats pic PhotoFunia-

 

Someone actually enjoying reading my book! So relaxed and peaceful.

 

 

PhotoFunia-1444664744

 

And, me …

My Lovely Blog Hop

I’ve been invited by the wonderful Berni Stevens at http://bernistevens.blogspot.co.uk  to join in the Lovely Blog Hop. Berni is my talented cover designer at http://ww.BerniStevensDesign.com. She’s also a writer of fantasy romance. The blog hop is intended to let you in on a few of the lesser-known things about my life that have helped make me who I am. You’ll find some links to other blogs and writers I like. The writers have all agreed to take part hopping and blogging and being lovely!

First Memory

Sitting in the branches of my favourite tree in our garden, reading, of course. I spent a great deal of my childhood reading and writing (and climbing trees and building treehouses! I was a bit of a tomboy!). I had real friends but many of my best friends were the characters in books: feisty girl heroines who had the adventures I wanted, too.

Books

My first books that I remember clearly are the Anne of Green Gables series. My mother used to read them to me, I think from way before I really understood any of them! I loved them. Gilbert Blythe was my first fantasy romance. And Anne was my role model: feisty and brave. You see a theme here? I think I subsequently read every LM Montgomery available! I collect old books: leather bound, gold tooling, silk bound, hide bound – you name it. I have a wonderful 17th century family bible and an early copy of Pilgrim’s Progress. I love the feel of them in my hands. I have a tatty early copy of Winnie the Pooh which  my daughters loved – here it is, all fixed together with cellotape! Books are to be used not kept in a cupboard! P1000783

I never thought I’d get used to kindle reading, and I resisted for a long time, but I travel so much and for fairly long periods of time, and being an avid reader, I simply can’t pack all my reading in my suitcase, so my kindle was actually a blessing! There I have hundreds at my fingertips. I spend a fortune on Amazon; I think I single-handedly keep them in business!

Currently I’m reading Sophia’s Secret by Susanna Kearsley (also published as The Winter Sea), which was recommended to me by Amanda Grange who also set the seeds in my mind of the book I am now writing for the RNA NWS. Thanks to Mandy!

Libraries/Bookshops

My life! My husband has to drag me out before I borrow/buy the whole stock. I spent a lot of my childhood in libraries; there were just too many books I wanted to read for me to afford to buy them. I was (and still am) a voracious reader. And I love those bookshops with coffee and relaxation areas. There’s a wonderful one near us, in the cathedral quarter, called the The Bookshop Café that serves lunches too.

One of my biggest memories of my daughters’ childhood was going to the local library for the story telling sessions and we all sat on huge bean bags drinking orange juice and coffee.

I love having a pile of books waiting to be read and having the joy of thinking – which one next? It’s not quite the same with a kindle, but … hey ho …! Here’s my first book The Old Rectory on special display at one of my favourite bookshops, The Bookshop at Kibworth: Bookshops April May 2014

What’s Your Passion?  

I have quite a few! Apart from reading and writing, I love walking in the countryside and cooking for family and friends. There’s nothing like a great chat and a laugh over a good meal and a glass or three of wine! Family and friends are very important to me and the joy of my life.

Choral singing has given me a great deal of joy over the years, especially in a local choir where the range encompasses classical, modern, gospel, rock and pop. They also say it’s very good for you (I have long term asthma) so there are health benefits from singing too. The utter joy of reaching the soprano highs in Mozart’s Requiem in the Albert Hall last year was fabulous. It sent shudders down my spine – an inspiring, ethereal moment to share with the others. Here’s me ready for it! P1010060

I also love swimming; I’m not a strong swimmer but I find it relaxing and it makes me feel fit, especially when it’s somewhere hot in an outdoor pool!

One of my greatest passions has to be travelling and exploring new places. We aim to go away overseas at least four or five times each year: I love Italy, France, Spain, Portugal. I’ve travelled quite a bit in the USA, Australia, and West Africa, although there’s far more to investigate! We have an apartment in Madeira where we go and chill out every summer.
P1000847 I would really love to explore India and China. And I’ve never been to the Caribbean which I’d love to do; we’re planning a cruise … I’d love to visit the island where Death in Paradise is filmed! A cosy crime romance novel coming up??P1000860

A recent passion: meeting and chatting to the very supportive folks in the Romantic Novelists’ Association, both online and in the flesh. They are such a lovely, generous, giving crowd and I love them all. So important for the isolated writer, sitting over a hot keyboard! Writing is essentially a lonely profession, by definition, so you need those contacts, the ready support and encouragement, and time out with like-minded folks.

 Learning

I always loved English: literature and language, but also I was intrigued by the way people behaved and interacted, and I ended up at university studying English, Psychology and Sociology. It turned out fortuitous because I did my PhD in socio-linguistics. Getting my doctorate was a real highlight of my life: a “mature” student and on my second marriage. I truly believe that it’s never too late to do what you want.

I hated Maths at school because I hated the teacher: she was an Amazonian woman, very severe and impatient, fair hair stretched back in a bun, large winged glasses on her nose. She scared me to death. When O levels came along I was determined to get a good grade in Maths (which we needed for university entrance in those days, along with Latin, which I loved) – simply because I couldn’t bear to retake and have Mrs Schneider for another year! I remember taking all the Maths text books home and systematically ploughing through them. And suddenly the whole thing clicked! A eureka moment! I got an A, the same as for English. Sheer determination. And strangely enough it stood me in good stead when I had to do statistics and economics as part of my Sociology!

I’m convinced that motivation is a prime factor in learning. And a good sympathetic teacher who can inspire that motivation. Later I became a school teacher and latterly a university lecturer and researcher. I love helping pupils/students to research and learn.

I can’t get enough of researching; I love that part of writing – I’m constantly investigating on Wikipedia and finding papers and books on the time, country or subject. I find learning new things very exciting. I drive my family mad calling “Hey, did you know that …?”

Writing

I’m literally just about to publish the second in the Drumbeats trilogy called Walking in the Rain. It follows Jess from Drumbeats, back from Ghana and about to go to university. She marries the man she truly believes is the love of her life, but then discovers that he is not the man she thought he was. There’s tragedy and danger again for Jess. How does she cope?

Drumbeats Berni    WALKING IN THE RAIN_300dpi

and the last in the trilogy, due out early 2016 …

I’ve always written – I mean literally ever since I could hold a pencil in my tiny hand. But you need support and encouragement and I lacked that (“writing isn’t a proper job!”) and ended up following the conventional route through school, university, teaching … etc etc!
I wrote many academic papers and contributed to multi-authored books in my subject, but creative writing (preferably novels) proved elusive, mainly because I didn’t have the time: marriage, two children, divorce, fulltime sole bread-winner, remarriage, two step-children…

Then I started writing again, egged on by friends, and eventually published a memoir/recipe book (The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen) about our acquisition and renovation of a Victorian rectory in the heart of the English moorlands, along with recipes from my country kitchen.

After that, there was no stopping me … I made wonderful writer friends, joined groups for support, and the rest is history! As well as adult novels, I like to write for children, the 9-14 age range, and my first published book for this group came out last autumn – S.C.A.R.S, which is about a troubled boy who slips through a tear in the fabric of the universe, to find himself on a quest in a fantasy medieval land. I think I might just write more in that vein!

Currently I’m working on my novel for the RNA New Writers’ Scheme (brilliant scheme!) which is a romance with a time shift element where the heroine finds herself slipping into a parallel universe of the early middle ages.

HOT NEWS UPDATE: Just 3 days ago I received a new publishing contract, so watch this space! All my books are available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook editions, at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Julia-Ibbotson/e/B0095XG11U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377188346&sr=1-2-ent

and a book trailer to enjoy, for Walking in the Rain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3pUErb8cZc

and for its prequel, Drumbeats https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OYlEXhHvsc&list=UUP3hKZjeUBuTMoyvZmBXbow

I nominate the following friends to take up the baton in the lovely blog hop:

Pauline Barclay at http://www.paulinebarclay.co.uk/

Lizzie Lamb at http://lizzielamb.co.uk and at http://newromanticspress.com

Rachel Brimble at http://www.rachelbrimble.com/

Gwyneth Williams at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gwyneth-Williams-Author/1518528911735022?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

And some more to come, hopefully, which I’ll add!

TANYA”S MONDAY POST HALLOWEEN WEEK ON BLOG (RED OR BLACK COVER BOOKS )

What a wonderful review blog today from Tanya, about Drumbeats!

Ajbookreviewclub

TANYA’S MONDAY REVIEW POST 
HALLOWEEN WEEK ON BLOG (red or black cover reads too)#mondaychallengbooks

DRUMBEATS BY JULIA IBBOTSON

THE BLURB 
Drumbeats is the first novel in a trilogy and follows 18 year old English student Jess through her gap year in West Africa. It’s a rite of passage novel set in the mid-1960s when Jess flees her stifling home background for freedom to become a volunteer teacher and nurse in the Ghanaian bush. Apprehensively, she leaves her first real romantic love behind in the UK, but will she be able to sustain the bond while she is away? With the idealism of youth, she hopes to find out who she really is, and do some good in the world, but little does she realise what, in reality, she will find that year: joys, horrors, tragedy. She must find her way on her own and learn what fate…

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