Good morning Julia and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?
Hello, Jo. Good to be here with you today. I’ve been writing forever but only started seriously publishing about five years ago. I started my career as a school teacher (English and Drama) and then became a senior university lecturer, which I still do two days a week as Director of Studies for PhD students. That enables me to write the other three days! My first book to be published was The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen in which I retell our adventure in renovating and restoring our Victorian rectory in the heart of the English countryside. I researched the previous residents over 150 years and the meals they would have cooked in my kitchen, so the book also has recipes from the historic periods the house has lived through: Victorian, Edwardian, the world wars, to the current day. I loved writing it and that started me on my journey as an author. I then published S.C.A.R.S, a children’s book, and then embarked on my Drumbeats trilogy which starts in 1965 Ghana and then travels to 1970s/80s England. The last of the trilogy brings the story of Jess up to date – or at least the millennium and will be out next year. It’s a bit delayed because I got engrossed in a different writing project, a historical romance time slip called A Shape on the Air.
When did you first decide you wanted to write and how did you begin that journey?
I always wanted to be an author even as a child. I wrote my first novel at the age of 10 – never published! I scribbled it in an old school exercise book and it was about my then passions: horses, farms and adventures in the countryside! As a university lecturer I did a lot of research projects and published papers in academic journals which was great because I then had to present them at international conferences in the UK, USA and Australia. But I wasn’t satisfied with the strictures of formulaic writing and wanted to return to creative work.
Who are your favourite authors and have any of them inspired your writing in any way?
I love Tracey Chevalier (just saw her at the HNA conference in Oxford) and have read all her books and I’m also a great fan of Kate Atkinson but Barbara Erskine and Pamela Hartshorne have inspired my new focus as a writer of historical time slip romance.
Having written adult fiction, children’s fiction and a non-fiction book, which did you enjoy the most? Are you planning to keep this broad remit for your work or do you intend to concentrate on one genre in particular for the future?
The non-fiction was a one-off as it was inspired by our home and my academic writing I think is consigned to the past (been there, done that!). The Drumbeats trilogy is also a one-off in that it was something I felt I had to write for personal reasons. My children’s novel S.C.A.R.S was the spring board for my current work for adults, as it was a time slip to a fantasy medieval world. It’s about a troubled boy who has to find himself. A friend read it and loved it, asking me to write something similar for adults. Hence, A Shape on the Air which is a time slip romance where the protagonist, Viv, slips through a portal in time and space to the real historical period of the dark ages into the body of Lady Vivianne. It’s about how these women 1500 years apart need to help each other to survive and rescue their dreams. My specialism is medieval language, literature and history, so I’m focusing on that genre now. I love writing for both adults and children so I’d like to continue to write both. Maybe I could start a trend for writing books that can be enjoyed by both ages!
Are you able to tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?
I’m doing the final edit of A Shape which I hope will be out next year and I’m in the midst of writing the last of the Drumbeats trilogy which is called Finding Jess. It involves Ghana again, but 40 years after the setting of Drumbeats. I need to get it to my publishers very soon, so I’d better crack on …! Bring on the coffee – and chocolate!
And lastly, if you had to spend a whole year on a desert island, what would your ‘must haves’ be and why?
My kindle. The only thing I need! Well, I suppose I should have sun lotion and my swim cos too. Realistically, I don’t think I could survive without my laptop, or at the very least paper and a pen. I think I might be quite happy if I could while away the time reading and writing!
Julia Ibbotson is an author and academic, and lives in the middle of the English countryside in a renovated Victorian rectory with her husband, an orchard, a kitchen garden and far too many moles. Their four children are now grown up and they have four grandchildren. She was a school teacher for many years before becoming a senior university lecturer, researcher and writer. She loves travelling, choral singing, walking, sailing and swimming, as well as, of course, gardening and cooking for family and friends.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Author page on Amazon:
Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book
Goodreads author page: