Author Julia Ibbotson talks about her writing career and her upcoming releases


Hi folks, today I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Julia Ibbotson, fellow member of the Leicester chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ association, the Belmont Belles, over to my blog.

Julia Ibbotson

Julia Ibbotson


Julia has kindly agreed to answer some of my burning questions about her rather varied writing career so far and it’s a great thrill to have her here today. So here goes:


Hi Julia, can I start by asking you what motivated you to become a writer and how did you manage to keep persevering until you reached your goal?
I always wanted to be an author, even when I was a child, and actually wrote a whole novel at the age of 10. It was about my passions at the time: horses, farms, adventure. It was never published, of course; I had no idea how to go about that and there wasn’t much encouragement at home!
I never stopped writing, but as a “hobby” rather than professionally.
As a university lecturer I’ve had to undertake research projects and publish research reports in academic journals, but longed to write creatively again and actually publish.The spur came when I went to present at an education conference in Australia and my fellow delegates were eager to hear about the Victorian rectory we were about to move in to. They thought it all sounded like a cross between Midsummer Murders and Miss Marple! I was encouraged to write a book about it and I did: The Old Rectory: escape to a country kitchen, which is a memoir about our house renovation and my research into its history.
I did loads of research into the food and meals that would have been made in my kitchen over the periods the house lived through and there are historic recipes at the end of each chapter. I was thrilled when my first publisher in the USA offered me a contract and despite four subsequent publishers, I’ve never really looked back. The feeling of holding your own paperback or seeing your book on your kindle is indescribable.
If you could swap places with one of the characters from your books just for a day,who would it be, and why?
It would have to be Viv from A Shape on the Air, my WIP (completed and almost ready to go!) as I’d love to experience 499 AD when her counterpart, Lady Vivianne, lived. I’d want to come back to the present at the end of the day though! I like my home comforts.
What do you hope that readers enjoy about your style of writing in particular?
I’m told that one of my strengths is creating a time and place which readers can absorb themselves into. It’s what I myself love about my favourite books: a really vividly described place I can escape to. I love writing about unusual locations and periods. I also hope that readers can identify with my characters and their situations, so I’d like to think that the stories are captivating.
Which genre or sub-genre would you say each of your books fall into and why?
Since I’ve been told that the 1960s are regarded as history (a bit frightening since I remember them!) my Drumbeats trilogy at least starts as a historical romance, but with bite as it’s quite hard hitting; there’s civil war and danger in Ghana for Jess, the young rather naive protagonist. The second in the series, Walking in the Rain, is set in the 1970s and 1980s, so not historical yet, but edgy romance, which doesn’t shy away from issues like mental illness, and Finding Jess (out next year) is a similar romance sub genre.
I’ve written a children’s novel called S.C.A.R.S which is for 9-14 year olds and is a time-slip into a fantasy medieval world, with knights, dragons and a quest. I specialised in medieval language, literature and history so my latest, A Shape on the Air, is a historical time-slip romance set in the dark ages of the early medieval period. I find history fascinating and my focus seems to be refining itself into historical romance (medieval).scars-front-cover
What was the best or most enjoyable thing about writing each or, if you prefer: just one of your books?
I love the research and tend to do rather too much of it. I get engrossed in that time or place and love trying to convey that to my readers. I am now lecturing part time, having reduced my hours, so have the space to write and I love that feeling of independence,not being accountable to anyone else – apart from my publisher! I tend to get so engrossed in my story that my husband has to remind me to eat.
And the most difficult?
All the stuff writers have to do these days after their book is published!
The promo work,advertising, marketing … It’s not my best capability! But I do try!

Has the work of any particular writer/s influenced or inspired you, if so, why?

I love Tracy Chevalier, Jodi Picault and Kate Atkinson: all excellent story tellers and creators of time and place. I have fairly recently discovered the books of Pamela Hartshorne and I adore her time slips based in Tudor York. I was at boarding school in York so they strike a familiar chord.


Can you write anywhere or do you have a favourite place to hideaway and write in?

Sadly, I can’t write anywhere. I wish I was one of those who can just pull out a notebook and write away on a train!
I have to be at my laptop and these days I write at my Victorian desk in our conservatory overlooking our gardens and the beautiful countryside around our house.That gives me inspiration. I also need a coffee or glass of wine next to me, and my music (Classic fm on the radio or Mozart CDs).
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I guess just keep persevering.If you have faith and believe in yourself as a writer, believe that you have something to say and an ability to express it to others, keep determined, even when you get set-backs. It’s all very subjective and I myself have had the odd negative critique which has threatened to make me throw my manuscript in the bin.But then I’ve had a terrifically encouraging one, or a deal from a publisher, and I’ve retrieved the manuscript again! Listen to advice but go with your heart.
And finally Julia, what next? Can you reveal anything at all about your work in progress?
Yes, A Shape on the Air, which I mentioned earlier is finished and is to be published this autumn so I expect I’ll be busy doing promo work on the lead up to the Christmas market, and I’m publishing S.C.A.R.S with a new publisher within the next few weeks.
I’m also busy sprinting to complete Finding Jess, the final novel in the Drumbeats trilogy.
I feel as though I’m juggling with rather a lot of things at the moment!
Gosh it certainly sounds that way, Julia! You’re one busy author at the moment. I very much like the sound of A Shape on the Air and look forward to reading it. Sounds like something I could treat myself too as an early birthday present depending when it’s released. Not that I need an excuse to read a fascinating time slip.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions so fully and eloquently, I really enjoyed reading your responses. You’ve had an interesting writing journey. Good luck with the re release of S.C.A.R.S and with the sprint to finish Finding Jess. With very best wishes Violet 🙂

Julia Ibbotson’s limks

Author page on Amazon:


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Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book


Goodreads author page:


2 Responses to “Author Julia Ibbotson talks about her writing career and her upcoming releases”

  1. Thank you for being such a lovely interviewer! All the best with your own writing too. Julia x

    • Violet Fields says:

      Thank you for answering all my questions so fully and in such an interesting manner, Julia. All the very best, Violet x

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