Today it’s the turn of the lovely Juliet Greenwood to share her thoughts with us. I’m sure I won’t be the only one to be a teensy bit envious of Juliet’s idyllic location and I can understand why she finds inspiration in nature.
Juliet is the author of three novels published by Honno Press. The first, ‘Eden’s Garden’, was a finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, and the second, ‘We That are Left’, was completed with the aid of a Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary. Both reached the top #5 in the UK Amazon kindle store. Her latest novel, ‘The White Camellia’, is set in Edwardian Cornwall, complete with a crumbling mansion, a goldmine with a dark secret, and a long-running family feud.
Juliet lives in a traditional cottage in Snowdonia and loves walking her dog and working in her garden, complete with a polytunnel and grapevine. Gardens somehow find their way into every book, and have quite taken over the one she is writing now …
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ – Cindi Lauper – Okay, rumbled. I was an eighties girl in London, living my own life, following my dream, to the despair of my parents, who thought I should get a husband pronto and do something with my life. I just wanted to write and be the one to walk in the sun – and I’m still having fun!
‘When You Taught Me How to Dance’ – Katie Melua. I can’t possibly say. Let’s call it vital research for my novels. ☺
‘Ode to music’ – Vaughan Williams. I studied music at ‘A’ level, this was one of the pieces. Shakespeare and music, and soaring voices hanging in the air. Wow.
Youssou N’Dour. I played his CDs in the car in my trip round Cornwall. At the time I had an ancient Romahome Camper van, which only had a cassette player. I played it so much I wore the cassette out. Now I’m wearing out the CDs …
‘Exhultate Jubilate’ – Mozart. I love Mozart, it’s what I turn to when my plots are going awry and I need a bit of order and grace to get me back on track – and this just goes for it. It’s the feeling when a book (or just a plot twist) comes together and I’m bouncing round the house (Phoebe the collie still thinks I lose my mind every now and again).
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
My animals. Phoebe is a collie with a bit of spaniel (that’s the naughty bit), and I’ve somehow acquired three cats. Dog walking is wonderfully social (the best gossip around), and takes me out in all weathers and to all places, and is my thinking time, where I wrestle with my plots. Plus, there’s never a dull moment in my house. The cats constantly assert their authority.
My garden. I love my garden. It’s my solace, my bliss, my place for thinking and letting my imagination run riot. I love my flowers, my pond, my veg patch and my small polytunnel, complete with grapes. Any moment I can, I’m out there.
My independence. Many of my heroines are living in Victorian and Edwardian times, so with little control over their lives. It has made me value my ability to live my own life and earn my own money. Of course, I’d love, in theory, to marry a millionaire and have nothing else to do all day but write. But things are never quite that simple…
My books. My cottage is filled with books. I can’t imagine life without them. I go all cold just thinking about it. (Yes, I love my kindle too, but it’s not quite the same)
Cake. Need I say more?
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t worry what other people think of you. You don’t have to please them. Anyone who matters is someone who loves you, and they love you as you are.
Follow your star, stick to your passion, you’ve nothing to lose. Not even your dignity.
Live your life as if it is going to last for every, and every day as if it is going to be your last.
Ask older people about their lives, and listen. It’s a unique history that’s so easily forgotten, and it is what formed you, plus living a life does teach you wisdom – even if not always to be a wiz on the Internet!
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I have a spinning wheel in my bedroom. It’s one I’ve had since I was a teenager. I learnt at school, and I’m a pretty mean spinner when I have the time. My knitting is rubbish.
As a teenager, I used to make all my own clothes. I’m afraid I gave that up when I discovered red wine and gentlemen. Although sewing came in useful when I ran my craft stall at Covent Garden Market!
I learnt to swim in a Welsh mountain stream. I should have known I’d never make a lady.
I had chickenpox as a teenager while camping in Greece. I remember lying on a camping bed under an olive grove looking up at Mount Olympus in a dazed state. Seriously surreal.
I played classical guitar when I was younger – but I have very small hands …. ☺
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
Visit New Zealand.
Sail though the Norwegian Fiords and see the Northern Lights.
Take the train that goes through the Canadian Rockies.
To learn how to ice skate without breaking a leg (and without anyone watching).
To spend a week in ‘White Horses’ cottage in Portmeirion with friends (it’s where Patrick McGoohan stayed when he was filming ‘The Prisoner). “I am not a number, I am a free (wo)man!”
A cottage full of books complete with dog and cake sounds like my idea of heaven. I’ve also got Portmeirion on my to see list. Thank you so much for taking part and letting us have a glimpse into your life Juliet.
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If Juliet’s answers have piqued your interest in her work then you can find more detail by following the links below.
1909. Cornwall. Her family ruined, Bea is forced to leave Tressillion House, and self-made business woman Sybil moves in. Owning Tressillion is Sybil’s triumph – but now what? As the house casts its spell over her, as she starts to make friends in the village despite herself, will Sybil be able to build a new life here, or will hatred always rule her heart?
Bea finds herself in London, responsible for her mother and sister’s security. Her only hope is to marry Jonathon, the new heir. Desperate for options, she stumbles into the White Camellia tearoom, a gathering place for the growing suffrage movement. For Bea it’s life-changing, can she pursue her ambition if it will heap further scandal on the family? Will she risk arrest or worse?
When those very dangers send Bea and her White Camellia friends back to Cornwall, the two women must finally confront each other and Tresillion’s long buried secrets.
You can find my review of The White Camellia here
You can also connect with Juliet via:-