About me

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When I was little I thought the queen would send me birthday presents because I was born on the same day as one of her children. She didn’t.

Where I live:

I live in Cumbria in the north of England, near the Scottish border, which is also where I was born. I have not, however, lived there all my life. In fact, I have lived in seven different towns in six different counties at twenty different addresses. (No, I didn’t keep getting evicted. I just moved a lot.)

Family:

I am married to Steve. We have two children – one of each kind.

Education and Career:

By the age of seven, I had been a pupil at five different schools. (No, I didn’t keep getting expelled. I just moved a lot.)

At school, a teacher told me that the last thing I should ever do was become a teacher, especially not a French teacher, as I wouldn’t be very good at either. I ignored him and went to study French (and Theology) at Hull University. I then ignored him again and trained as a teacher at Durham University.

I have taught French in 9 different schools in 5 different local authorities. (No, I didn’t keep getting the sack. I just moved a lot.)

I left teaching and did two other jobs before going to work as a Learning Support Assistant in a secondary school. I do that part time so that I can spend more time writing.

Early ambitions:

To be a writer. I started writing my first book aged nine but got stuck when I mentioned a hollyhock and realised I didn’t know what one was. I was told by my English teacher, Mrs F*!# (that’s not a euphemism, her name really was a four letter word that started with F) that I had below average talent and would never be able to write anything. (See Education and Career above to find out what happens when teachers tell me I’m not capable of doing something.)

To be an artist. My dad wanted me to have a proper job, so I wasn’t allowed to do art A level in sixth form. I did art A level at evening class and got a grade A. I have my own little art studio at the bottom of the garden now.

To be a dancer. After ten years of ballet lessons, I failed grade 1. As someone who manages to trip over thin air, there is absolutely nothing I can do to achieve that early ambition. Some things are just not meant to be.

45 thoughts on “About me

  1. Lynne

    That’s my big sis! As you can tell she’s a much more talented writer than I am and you should defo read any of her books you can get your hands on!

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  2. Sue Carey

    You write beautifully Julia…
    Well done for ignoring the warnings of early teachers, what do we know?
    I am Tim’s sister, Becky’s sister too (we ignore the law bit, because of the love).
    I followed Becky’s link and am very glad I did.
    So at the earliest opportunity, I will read one of your books!
    Love and best wishes in all you do.
    Sue Carey

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      • Avril

        Hey, Julia, I have learned lots of new things about you here, but I guess I was not around much after your early teens! I love your determination and having had the privilege of proof-reading some of your novels, I am very much looking forward to seeing a published one.

        Avril Tisdall

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  3. Nathalie Raguier

    J’ai toujours rêvé d’être écrivain . J’ai écrit des petits romans mais … que pour moi… j’ai peur de me dévoiler sans doute … Bravo Julia , I’m proud of being one of your friends !

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  4. I saw a comment you left on Tom Benson’s blog and was intrigued enough to take a look. I suspect you have quite a writing career ahead of you. I write a few book reviews from time to time, and have added ‘Strong as Death’ to my to read/review list for the near future (it might take several weeks but I will get round to it). It looks a fascinating read, and along similar lines to another book of the same genre that I thoroughly enjoyed. Good luck in your blogging and future career…

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    • Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and for the care you have taken in reading my posts. I am so encouraged that you have added ‘Strong as Death’to your read/review list.

      I see from your blog that you are grasping the opportunity of early retirement and I applaud you. I am no stranger to life changing decisions (which, in my experience, often spring from life changing events beyond our control) and can honestly say that working part time in a job I really enjoy, but which I can leave at the door when I leave my place of work, has been one of the most liberating decisions I have ever made.

      I look forward to getting to see how you fare.

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  5. I like the bio, and what I like about it most, is the single-minded determination that you show in your life. I’m not going to dish out any advice on that, because I can see you’ve already learned that you get nowhere listening to negative people. LOL.
    I had a lot of that in my life. If I may recommend one of my own short stories which defines the point accurately, please read, ‘Thanks Dad’.
    I live in County Durham, so I’m not a million miles away. I like your county more than mine! I digress; I think you’re going to do well with your writing career.

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    • I have learned that the most destructive negative voice I can listen to is my own, so I try to guard my heart and mind from negative people and influences as much as I can these days. Life’s too short for anything else! I will certainly read your story. Thank you for recommending it.

      I lived and worked in Durham (with a short spell in Hartlepool)for 4 years in the early 80s and remember those days very fondly!

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  6. Terrific on all counts Julia! Hats off to your tenacity. I, too, have moved a lot and in fact am packing up once more, hopefully for the last time. I am richer for the experiences but dismantling a life is not good for us “cancers.” We love to make homes, not take them down. I love that you set out to prove what you CAN do, not be affected by what others predicted for your life. Kudos and keep on going!

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    • Hi Cheryl. Please forgive me for not responding earlier. Usually, I receive an email notification when someone leaves a comment, but for some reason this didn’t happen with yours. Thank you for the encouragement; I empathise with the trauma and upheaval of moving brings and hope your latest experience will prove the richest yet. I heard someone say once that, though those born under the sign of the crab are true ‘homebirds’, they also carry their shells, like homes, with them wherever they go. I’m off to check out your blog now.

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  7. Thanks so much for the encouragement and yes, we do tend to make a home wherever we go. Once I get there it will be magnificently rich I am certain. Wish I could do it with a blink and a wish though. 😉

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    • Thanks Paul. The video really made us laugh, especially when the ostrich just sat down when she first got on! The charities she is volunteering with do fantastic work with few resources in an area of huge need. We take our hats off to her determination.

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  8. Thank you for stopping by to read and follow my blog – it afforded me the delightful opportunity to become familiar with some of your fine writing. I look forward to visiting often.

    Kate

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  9. Hi Kathy. Just getting back into the swing of blogging after the summer. I will gladly participate and will do so in the next few days (if I have any brain cells left after a summer of very little brain use coupled with back-to-work aftershock on Monday when the new term starts). Here’s to a fruitful Autumn’s writing!

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  10. Jim

    Inspirational!
    My love of writing began when I was about 7.
    All the other kids were good at maths, drawing etc. For some reason I just seemed to grasp the basics of the written language very early on. Also. I had a very vivid imagination back then.
    I never progressed much though. I wrote about six short stories (all since long lost) by the time I was 12. Then I just stopped. I didn’t even get an English qualification from school.
    When I was in my late twenties I did a writing correspondence course, but nothing more came of that either.
    Now I am fast approaching 50, the old yearning to write is starting to return.
    I have not put a pen to paper yet (or pressed a key) in the name of starting a manuscript. But, reading the blogs of other authors, such as yourself, continues to inspire me to take it up again.
    Many thanks.
    Jim

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    • Hi Jim. I’m so glad that what I have written strikes a chord with you. It seems to me that maybe your time is now. The desire to write is obviously something that has hovered over your life, and although you haven’t done much yet, you have been gathering stories over the years. It was approaching that same milestone that is looming on your horizon that made me think: ‘Hang on a minute! Life isn’t something that happens in the future; it’s now.’ And with that realistation came to determination to start doing the things that I had been putting off until ‘one day’ arrived. ‘One day’ is here and now and very much in the present. I cannot encourage you enough to start that process and keep in touch with writers you find on the blogosphere – such an inspiring and supportive group to be part of.

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  11. Well, once again, I have nominated you for an award. It’s the “One Lovely Blog Award”, and if you wish to participate, the rules are posted on my blog.
    Hope your writing is going well, my friend. My muse keeps playing hide and seek with me, the ornery bitch. 🙂

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  12. Thanks, Kathy. I’ll see what I can do, though I have to admit that my writing energies, when I have the time, are directed towards re-editing Strong as Death with a view to submitting to agents and working on my new novel. Blogging is taking a bit of a back seat … I hope you have a fantastic break by the ocean. Sounds idyllic. Perhaps you muse will meet you there.

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    • Hi Cheryl,
      I loved reading the five things about about you, and was especially touched by the grocery-shopping -you-loving man fact. Thank you so much for the mention and nomination – I am truly honoured. My life is tied up with ‘stuff’ at the moment – some of it welcome, so not so much … Consequently, I accept your nomination in spirit, though I’m afraid the flesh is currently too overwhelmed to comply. Keep those wonderful poems and photos coming though – they always make my days brighter, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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