Whilst I’m recuperating I’ve re-scheduled some of my early ‘Fives’ to reach a wider audience. In addition I’ve added the YouTube videos that are now a standard feature as well as updating the booklist to make it current.
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 Greenwood is a UK novelist published by Orion, writing historical novels set mainly in romantic Cornwall. She has always been a bookworm and a storyteller, writing her first novel (a sweeping historical epic) at the age of ten. Juliet is fascinated both by her Celtic heritage and the history of the women in her family. Her great-grandmother was a nail-maker in Lye, near Birmingham, at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, and her grandmother worked as a cook in a large country house.
Juliet has previously written stories and serials for magazines, as well as three historical novels published by Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press, two of which reached the top #5 in the UK kindle store.
Juliet now lives in a traditional quarryman’s cottage between the mountains and the sea near Conwy Castle in North Wales, and always has a camera to hand…
Sadly Juliet lost her beloved collie Phoebe earlier this year, so I hope the references in this post bring back happy memories rather than sad ones.
Over to Juliet:
Which piece of music/song 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.
‘Serenade 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).
What (apart from family and friends) would you 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 a piece of advice for 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 something 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 ….
Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.
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!”
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
The Girl with the Silver Clasp
Will they find the courage to follow their dreams?
St. Ives, 1916.
Jess Morgan always hoped to become a celebrated silversmith, but when the men return from war she’s forced to return to her job as a seamstress. All she can cling to is the memory of that delicate, unique silver clasp she created for a society bride.
Rachel Bellamy served as an ambulance driver on the front line during the Great War but now it’s up to her to save the family home and picturesque harbour from her wealthy brother-in-law, before it’s too late.
Giselle Harding fought her way up from poverty to become a Hollywood movie star. Yet even the most beautiful jewels she owns will never fill replace the man she lost.
As the lives of the three women collide, will they be able to overcome their differences and fight together for the dreams they once held so close?
The Ferryman’s Daughter
Can Hester help her family escape desperate poverty and fulfil her dreams?
1908: Hester always loved her mother best, her father had always been a hard man to like, spending more time (and money) in the local than with his family. After her mother’s sudden death, followed by an injury forcing her father to give up his job as the ferryman, Hester is placed in the position of care-giver for her young brother and sister.
As the years pass Hester must row the ferry night and day to keep them all from starvation, while her hopes of working in a kitchen and one day becoming a cook, slip further and further away.
But just how far is Hester willing to go to make her dream a reality? And as the threat of war comes ever closer to the Cornish coast, will it bring opportunities or despair for Hester and her family?
A gripping family saga perfect for fans of Sheila Newberry, Glenda Young and Mollie Walton. Escape to the Cornish coast and discover a strong woman who will do anything for her family and for her dreams…
The White Camellia
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.
We That are Left
August 4th, 1914: ‘It was the day of champagne and raspberries, the day the world changed.’ Juliet Greenwood’s moving, thrilling novel honours the sacrifice of soldiers and civilians in World War I and captures how lives were changed afterwards, some destroyed, but some, with love and courage, rebuilt anew. Elin lives a luxurious but lonely life at Hiram Hall. Her husband Hugo loves her but he has never recovered from the Boer War. Now another war threatens to destroy everything she knows. With Hugo at the front, and her cousin Alice and friend Mouse working for the war effort, Elin has to learn to run the estate in Cornwall, growing much needed food, sharing her mother’s recipes and making new friends – and enemies. But when Mouse is in danger, Elin must face up to the horrors in France herself. And when the Great War is finally over, Elin’s battles prove to have only just begun.
Two women struggle with love, family duty, long-buried secrets and their own creative ambitions. But more than a hundred years ago Ann left a trail through London, Cornwall and Wales that leads Carys on a tantalising and increasingly shocking search for the truth. What is the connection of the dilapidated north Wales estate, Plas Eden with her childhood sweetheart and her own family history, and what are the secrets of the statues in the garden?