This week, Julia Ibbotson is stopping by to share her Inheritance Books, as part of her Old Rectory book tour.
Hi Julia, welcome to Inheritance Books, tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi Rhoda, good to meet you and your readers! Well, where do I start? I’m an academic and author, but the latter only fairly recently! I always wanted to be a writer and in fact wrote my first novel at the age of 10. It was all about my passions at the time which were farms, country life, horses and dogs – and of course, full of lots of adventures. Sadly, it remained unpublished – in fact it never even reached a publisher’s desk. I didn’t receive much encouragement from home (“you can’t be a writer, Julia, that’s not a proper career”) so although I went on writing it always remained in my own private notebook! I became a school teacher, then trained teachers, then became an academic supervising teachers on their masters and doctoral programmes. I wrote plenty of papers and texts through that time, but it was all academic and research stuff, and not the novels I really wanted to write. Ironically, it was when my husband and I attended a couple of international conferences to do with my academic work in Australia and America that I received the encouragement I needed. We had just bought and were renovating an old Victorian rectory in the middle of the English moorlands, and my new found friends were very enthusiastic about the idea of me writing a book about it all. They were very complimentary about my academic writing that they were reading at conference and kindly said that I was a good writer! What a difference encouragement makes! And so, on our return home, I wrote and eventually published my memoir The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen which combines history, renovation, the kitchen as the heart of the home, and recipes to feed the soul. It has since gained four awards from international book festivals: London, best in biography category, Paris, New York and New England. And it’s gained several 5 star reviews on Amazon. Wow, I could write creatively again! So what about my life now, as a writer at last? I’ve drastically reduced my hours at the university and I’m now completing my second book, a novel, the first in a trilogy. It’s called Drumbeats and is set in 1960s Ghana, where 18 year old Jess has fled as a volunteer teacher and nurse in the African bush. It’s a story of love, loss, adventure and tragedy, coming of age and finding yourself. It’ll be out by the autumn, so look out for it on Amazon!
Wow, that sounds very dramatic. Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
I’ve been an avid reader all my life since the age of 3 when I learned to read. Yet my mother used to read aloud to me every night all through my childhood. The book I most associate with her is Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. My mother passed away eight years ago and left a chasm in my life, so I dedicate this choice to her. The book is set in a rural community on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and I loved picturing that gentle world where the major dramas were about drinking sarsaparilla, painting the wicket fence and rescuing wandering cows. I loved the tales of Anne, the feisty and endearing flame-haired heroine, who was adopted by Matthew and Marilla (mistakenly, as they really wanted a boy to help on the farm). I read the books (there’s a whole series) to my own daughters and in fact the cover photo accompanying this is from my daughter’s copy (I think she has three!). So, in choosing this book, I raise a glass to my late mother – thank you for introducing me to the delights of Green Gables, Avonlea, and PE Island.
I adore Anne of Green Gables. Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
It has to be Winnie the Pooh! I read it to my daughters so many times they got to know it by heart. I even recorded the stories onto audio tape (with the appropriate dramatic voices) for them to listen to in the car and after the last bedtime story of the night. This was long before the advent of audio books, and how I wish I had been entrepreneurial enough to produce these or sell the idea! I would have been a millionaire by now, and not a struggling author! Again, it was a book that my mother read to me, but I don’t know what happened to my childhood copy; possibly I gave it to my grandchildren. The copy I still have, and which is photographed here, is the one given to me by my mother-in-law which she had received as a young child from her parents, so it’s well over 80 years old, re-covered several times, bound together with tape, much loved and much used. So this “antique” book is the one I’d leave to future generations, hoping that it doesn’t fall apart just yet! This copy is on its 4th generation now; maybe there’ll be one or two more.
Hooray for the joy of Pooh!
Thank you so much for sharing your Inheritance Books with us, Julia. All the best with the book tour. Where can we find out more?
Find me on my author webpage where there is also a blog (www.juliaibbotson.com), on my author facebook page where it would be great of you could “like” me or my Amazon author page where you can buy The Old Rectory.
Part of a Fiction Addiction Book Tour.