My guest today, Julie Anne Rudd, is an author and poet. Julie has come along to ‘Patricia’s Pen’ to chat about her writing career. Without further ado, let’s go over to Julie.
History of my Writing
Julia Anne Rudd
I have always loved reading and wanted to be a writer since I was eleven. After failing my 11-plus, and going to secondary school, I discovered essay writing. Initially, I struggled with essay writing, but thanks to my father’s guidance, I finally mastered it and never looked back.
In my early teens I aspired to become a journalist. Following my secondary education, I enrolled on a college course, serving indentures on the Middlesex County Times in West London. During my journalist career I reported on newspapers in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, writing everything from court reports and features to entertainment columns and property news. I also trained in sub-editing, relishing headline writing and page design and loved working alongside printers in hot metal newspaper production.
My lifelong ambition was to write a book, but with such a busy career I didn’t get round to it until I retired several years ago, when I moved to Devon with my second husband, Chris. In 2017 I published my debut book; a comedy mystery, The Hippies of Haggleby Hall.
The Hippies of Haggleby Hall tells the story of when my first husband, Bob, and I bought a run-down country mansion in Sussex with friends back in 1986. We wanted to renovate it while raising our families – and it proved a rollercoaster journey! I wrote as Belinda Flowers, with husband Tom, and friends, Mike and Amanda, who I named Cameron and Miranda Maclaren. With us was Mike’s feisty mum, Olive (Granny Grace in the book), without whom we could not have afforded our dream home.
Many people regarded us with scepticism including the locals, who, believing us hippies, inspired my book title.
My book characters are fictionalised (though there’s no escaping the real “us”) and some of their shenanigans are, shall we say, exaggerated, though much is true. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but we did have fun!
The plot has a chilling mystery running through it, partly based on the mansion’s history and partly on a happening in my journalism days. The book is written as a tribute to Bob, who, sadly, succumbed to lung cancer, and to our friends, who remain part of our extended family.
I also enjoy writing poetry and, in The Hippies of Haggleby Hall, Belinda Flowers joins a young mums’ poetry group. Some of Belinda’s verses are included in my debut poetry book, Female Facets – Poems Celebrating Womanhood, published earlier this year. It is described by award-winning author Tania Crosse (RNA 2020 Romantic Saga Award) as:
“A lovely collection of musings on Womanhood, full of laughter, tears, poignancy and delight.”
My readers keep asking for a sequel to The Hippies of Haggleby Hall so I am now busy writing: ‘Team Spirits – the race is on to save Haggleby Hall’. This time, the friends, facing bankruptcy, launch a whacky business venture, while new hope of a valuable landscape under the stairs saving the day is dashed when the painting goes missing.
My goal is to publish the sequel later this year…so watch this space as they say in the newspaper industry.
About Julie Anne Rudd
Northampton born Julie Anne Rudd was a provincial journalist, training in West London and working most of her life in Surrey, Sussex and Kent. A versatile writer, she has had countless articles published and her poetry has appeared in several anthologies. Having retired with her second husband to Devon several years ago, she is busy writing a sequel to her first novel; another comedy mystery called, ‘Team Spirits -The Race is On to Save Haggleby Hall’. It continues her fictionalised story of her life in the Eighties and Nineties, when she and her first husband shared a dilapidated, Sussex country mansion with unconventional friends.
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