Today I’m delighted to feature author Jules Hayes. Her latest novel The Walls We Build was published in March and is garnering excellent reviews. Jules’ new historical title The Spanish Girl will be published by Orion/Dash in March 2021.
Jules Hayes was born in Nottinghamshire. She studied in London where she completed a Humanities degree, majoring in Modern History and English Literature. Travelling in Europe for several years, she taught in both Spain and Greece – countries and cultures she found fascinating. On return to the UK, she gained a BSc (Physiotherapy), becoming a Chartered Physiotherapist. She now lives in Berkshire with her family.
Jules’ short stories have been shortlisted in the Fish Short Story Competition and the prestigious Bridport Prize. She was also longlisted in the Mslexia Novel competition. She is a graduate of the Faber Novel Writing course.
Jules is fascinated with events from the first half of the 20th century, which is the time period her historical fiction is set.
Jules Hayes is a pseudonym for Julie-Ann Corrigan who writes contemporary psychological and speculative thriller fiction. Her psychological thriller, Falling Suns by JA Corrigan, was published in 2016 (Headline Accent.)
Julie-Ann Corrigan/ Jules Hayes is represented by Camilla Shestopal at Shesto Literary.
Catch Jules’ latest bog post here.
Over to Jules
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
I’ll begin my list chronologically – songs and music which have affected me in some way, from childhood to adult.
My parents were keen fans of Neil Diamond. I remember a particular album – Hot August Night – I loved that album, and remember loving Mr Diamond too! Music was played on a Sunday mostly, whilst my mum made Sunday roast and my dad was doing whatever Dads do on Sundays.
Fast forward lots of years and to marriage: My husband and I were cruising record shops in London and came across the above album in vinyl. We bought it, took it home, and dug out his old record player from university days. The music and tracks took me straight back to my childhood; smells, routines, gentle and quiet Sundays – the days before 7-day-a-week shop opening hours. I still occasionally listen to this album, and always on a Sunday, and I still love Neil Diamond.
At 15, and with a friend, I went to stay with a French family on a vinyard in Nantes. After picking grapes all day, my friend and I listened to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album all night replaying the track, Rhiannon, over and over again. I told my mate that if I had a child, and if it were to be a girl, I would call her Rhiannon. 12 years later I fell in love with a man born in Wales, and went on to have a baby girl – life’s serendipity didn’t pass me by regarding this very Welsh name. It’s a track I always play when life’s little bumps get in my way, because it reminds me of my dreams and aspirations, and the importance of the people in my life.
From around 10, I was an avid David Bowie fan. It’s been a lifelong love affair and hasn’t ended with his death. Music, art and literature last forever. When I went off to university at 18, it was Bowie’s Hunky Dory album which saw me through revision and dissertation writing in that final year. My flatmate must have been so sick of listening to Kooks, a song Bowie wrote soon after his son was born. Following the birth of my own child this became my favourite early Bowie track all over again.
The genius of Bowie takes up two spots on my list.
Bowie’s Let’s Dance is my fourth choice – it’s a song that evokes special memories of a 16-year-old me. The lyrics and the music are so muscular, so passionate, so full of verve and energy, encapsulating a dazzling and vibrant phase of my life.
My fifth choice is Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. What a discovery. On my virgin exposure to this song it was a really hot day. I was lying prone in the garden taking in the rays and listening to the radio, but despite the heat, goosebumps immediately appeared over every inch of my skin. Listening to this song for the first time was like reading a magnificent opening chapter to a book.
Rolling in the Deep, and the album in which it’s included, is my go-to when I want to find inspiration to exercise, write, or to just be.
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
My little home gym, because I know that without it, I’d never work-out – time is precious and I’d never make it to a public gym every day!
Our dog. I love him and no matter how bad I think things are, when I give him a belly rub the world is a better place.
Travel to warm and interesting locations – it nourishes the soul, reboots my imagination, and reminds me that there is more to the world than the radius of my internal mind.
Water – either the sea, a lake, a river, a stream or close to a waterfall. I possess the need to be near water as much as possible. The sounds of it, the smell, the feel of cool liquid encompassing my entire body when swimming, is one of life’s experiences that allows me to empty my head of circular thoughts.
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
It doesn’t matter that you are not eight stone. It doesn’t matter that you are not linear in shape, or linear within your thoughts too.
It doesn’t matter that some people (actually many people) dislike you, or are indifferent to you, or have no idea that you exist at all. It doesn’t matter because it affects your life not at all.
It doesn’t matter that you failed some exams because honestly, there is much more failure on the way – get accustomed to it, deal with it. Move on. Failure is the step needed to arrive at the landing of success.
Ensure you like yourself as soon as possible.
Live in the today, allow the past to fade, and permit the future a chance.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
As a teenager I ran the 100 metre sprint in under 11.8 seconds.
My favourite job was waitressing at a café bar in Baker Street – it was probably my best paid job too. Enormous tips!
I once stood next to David Bowie at Portobello Market in London.
On holiday in San Francisco I ran the width of Golden Gate Bridge 3 times in rush hour traffic to retrieve my stray hat. I survived, obviously.
After completing my degree, and with a friend, I inter-railed around Europe. We got on the wrong end of the train in Bilbao and so ended up in Madrid rather than Barcelona. While on the packed Madrid Metro someone stole my money, my passport and inter-rail ticket. We spent the next 3 days at the British Embassy attempting to sort it all out. I remember those 3 days in Spain’s heat-laden capital city as being deliciously fun.
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
Visit South America.
Write a novel set in South America.
Build our own house – with help obviously!
Meet the Dalai Lama.
Learn to fly. Like a bird, I mean.
Many thanks for sharing with us today Jules, it’s been lovely to discover more about you. I really enjoyed your music choices and had great fun playing through the Hot August Night album. I’d forgotten how much I like Neil Diamond. Another Bowie fan here too – not least because Mick Ronson and the other ‘Spiders’ were from Hull and surrounding area. When Mick worked for the Council Parks Dept rumour has it he cut the grass at my school! Adele is another favorite in our house too – fabulous voice. Love the advice to your younger self – we should all live in the today! Now standing next to Bowie, that’ll take some beating! Glad you didn’t allow your Madrid ‘debacle’ to dim the fun of your trip. These things all make interesting memories. Hope you managed to see Barcelona (then or since). That trip to South America needs to happen so you can tick two off your list, but hopefully you’ll get to tick off more, but not sure the flying is so easily achievable!
The Walls We Build (as Jules Hayes)
Disastrous choices, heartbreaking consequences, but a love that endures a lifetime.
During the 1920s Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable, but when Frank marries Hilda for duty rather than love the friendship between the three fragments. Then comes WW2 and Frank goes on to make other catastrophic choices – the repercussions of which will leave a lasting and tragic legacy.
For over fifty years Florence has been the keeper of Frank’s secrets. Soon after Frank’s death she writes to his grandson, Richard, hinting at his family’s troubled past. Richard gradually learns more about Florence, her generosity of spirit and love for his grandad, but as he digs deeper, he will unearth disturbing secrets, which not only haunted Frank, but will impact on him too.
When a pivotal encounter between Frank and Winston Churchill during WW2 is revealed and a mystery relative in a psychiatric hospital discovered, how much more does Florence dare disclose about her and Frank? And is Richard ready to hear?
The Spanish Girl
A country torn apart by war.
Two love stories divided by decades.
One chance to discover the truth…
Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past.
As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain’s civil war – when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart.
But can Isabella trust the man she’s fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left uncovered…?
Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love. Perfect for fans of Angela Petch’s The Tuscan Secret and Kathryn Hughes’ The Letter.
Falling Suns (as JA Corrigan)
Ex-DI Rachel Dune’s small son is missing. Then his body is discovered. Her cousin Michael is found guilty of his murder and incarcerated in a secure psychiatric unit.
Four years later, now divorced and back in the police force, Rachel discovers that Michael is being released to a less secure step-down unit, with his freedom a likely eventuality. Unable to cope with this, she decides upon revenge, assuming a new identity to hunt him down and kill him.
However, as she closes in on her target, her friend Jonathan, a journalist, uncovers some unnerving information about her mother and others in her family and begins to suspect that Rachel’s perception of the truth might not be as accurate as she thinks – that she might be about to murder the wrong man…
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