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THE INSPIRATION BEHIND

SING ME A SECRET

553B9CEB-3BD4-48C9-9E85-27E1F4DD5648This blog made its first appearance in the blog  of Jane Hunt Writer

 

SING ME A SECRET returns to the village of Westenbury in West Yorkshire where Pandora Boothroyd, the self-appointed First Lady of the village, has put forward an application to The Really Useful Group – an actual organisation that gives permission for local rep. companies and choirs to perform the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The story was somewhat inspired by my own venture into musical theatre.

About fifteen years ago, the choir I’d sung with for several years, was given permission by The Really Useful Group to put on a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar in Leeds Town Hall, the several hundred-strong choir taking the part of the chorus waving palm leaves and belting out the many songs, while Jesus and Judas were drafted in from another part of Yorkshire to strengthen the ranks.

And what a Jesus! I can’t even remember his name now but he was gorgeous, and at every weekly rehearsal we’d be asking, ‘Jesus, just look at Jesus. Is Jesus here yet? When’s Jesus going to do his bit? No Jesus tonight?’ We were all a little bit in love, starstruck even, by this talented young man who, during the day, was possibly a painter and decorator, a postman, a teacher – I really have no idea – but at every Monday rehearsal night was transformed into the son of God.

Similarly, when the characters from SING ME A SECRET are first introduced to their Jesus, there is much wide-eyed oohing and aahing amongst the women:

‘Everyone…’Pandora trilled, holding out an arm before kissing Jesus as if she were compering the Oscars. ‘Everyone, I want you to give a warm welcome to Brett Bailey. Brett is from Barnsley – he’s just finished a run of Joseph in Sheffield – but has agreed to travel over every week to be with us.’

‘Brett Bailey from Barnsley?’ Ariadne, at Juno’s side, who up until then had said very little throughout the proceedings, gave a loud bark of laughter and then started giggling, unable to stop.

‘Oh, but look at him,’ Izzy sighed. ‘Look at Jesus. Jesus, he can lay his hands on me anytime.’

 

At our actual rehearsals in Leeds, it appeared that someone was missing: seemingly we didn’t have a Herod. During rehearsals, at the point where Herod should be going for his one big number – historically camped up and wearing an over-the-top costume – our musical director, Gary, would simply pass over Herod’s entrance and go on to the next. It wasn’t until the dress rehearsal, when we’d almost forgotten that Herod even existed in the musical, that he made an appearance, flamboyant in yellow suit and purple wig. To begin with, we couldn’t quite work out who was hiding under the wig until he started to sing and we realised it was Gary, the musical director himself. He was brilliant, really superb, and I’ve recreated this scene in SING ME A SECRET when the village have lost their first Herod and a new manifestation then makes an appearance in yellow suit and purple wig, the rest of the choir at first unable to work out just who it is up camping it up on the stage.

 

What was so great for me, when writing this story, was losing myself once again in the many fantastic numbers in this musical, almost waving a virtual palm leaf as I wrote, remembering not only our very own gorgeous and brilliant Jesus, but my eight-year-old son constantly singing around the house:

Jesus Christ, Superstar

Six feet tall and he wears a bra.

 

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MY WEBSITE HAS HAD A BIT OF A SPRING CLEAN

I’m so pleased I’ve given my website a bit of a spring clean. Do come over and have a look and say hello and sign up for news, new publication dates and competitions!!

 

gray and brown floor mop on white wall

Photo by Rony Stephen Chowdhury on Pexels.com

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THE WESTENBURY NOVELS

Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 18.35.00.pngSo, I’m often asked, are your novels all part of a series and, if so, should they be read in any particular order? 

No!!

The books are all set in Westenbury which is a mythical village in the town of Midhope, half way between Manchester and Leeds, and the same characters do pop up again and again. They can all be read as stand alone novels but, if you’ve not read any of my books yet and fancy doing so, then the following order might be helpful, But not essential!!Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 20.40.58.png

 

GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME

 

 

Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 18.35.00.png This is the first novel of the series and introduces Harriet, Grace and Amanda.

 

THE ONE SAVING GRACE

 

4d76a18c-c433-4308-b3c5-76794e279e11_4_5005_c       This  continues the story of the three women, but absolutely can be read as a stand alone novel.

 

AN OFF-PISTE CHRISTMAS

 

Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 20.40.58.pngA Christmas novella in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Who will Grace and Harriet find up that mountain?

 

 

 

LOOKING FOR LUCY

Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 18.46.40The story of  Clementine and her search for her identical twin.

 

A VILLAGE AFFAIR

IMG_0789  Over 125 000 092AD219-EA9A-4DE2-A956-20BD2233265E_1_105_ccopies sold and the seventh most downloaded ebook in the UK throughout 2019.  Meet Cassie Beresford after that explosive auction evening.

 

COMING HOME TO HOLLY CLOSE FARM

dd2299de-e37f-410c-95db-59dfbca2922b_1_105_cThe Maddison sisters, Charlie and Daisy find themselves drawn into the secret held by their grandmother, Madge, for the last seventy years.

 

SING ME A SECRET

 

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My new book out on Thursday May 7th 2020.  I am so excited about this. I loved writing it…it made me laugh so much. Four sisters – two with a secret – and a somewhat zany production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

 

A VILLAGE VACANCY

 

Front cover to be revealed!! Out October 22nd 2020

Grace, Harriet and Amanda are back. Or are they? There’s a vacancy in the village. Who has left it? Who will fill it. Again, I’m so excited for readers to get stuck into this. There’s a slight frisson of unease going on…

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SING ME A SECRET

Julie Houston

I’m so excited that my new book, Sing Me A Secret, will be released on May 7th 2020. This is my eighth book published by Head of Zeus/Aria and we return to the village of Westenbury to meet The four Sutherland sisters, daughters of renowned classicist, Professor Patrick Sutherland.

DR JUNO ARMSTRONG: A GP working part time in the Westenbury village practice. With her husband recently gone to the states for a year, Juno has time to fill…

PANDORA BOOTHROYD: The village of Westenbury’s Queen of Organisation. Girl guides, the Church Rota, Meals on Wheels, and… the village choir mistress. If it moves, Pandora will suck you in and organise it…

ARIADNE SUTHERLAND: A Classics teacher newly returned to Westenbury -the village of her youth – from abroad. The eldest of the four sisters, she’s single, feisty and feels the need to keep her sisters in order.

LEXIA RYAN: Famous for winning the reality TV show THE BEST as a seventeen-year-old, the last thing she expects, or wants, is to return to Westenbury after fifteen years away.

WHICH SUTHERLAND SISTER WILL YOU BE GUNNING FOR…?

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Where the hell’s my purse??

So, it’s last Friday afternoon and I’m on the King’s Road in London just walking and window shopping and enjoying the last of my three day break away. I’ve had a great evening at  the RNA Winter do, met up with lovely editors and fellow writers at Aria Publishing, taken son Ben out for dinner and met up with friend Kathy from Geneva. I know I’m due to leave King’s X around 8pm and have arranged to meet friend Chris from  Wimbledon at the station for drink and food before catching train back to Yorkshire.

I remember I have a M&S voucher to spend so decide to head for Kensington High Street and jump on a number 49 bus. Now, London buses won’t take cash – you just flash your credit card at them. I know all this because I’ve been travelling on the tube. What I can’t work out is how do they know what to charge you on the bus? It seems to be the same price whether you stay on one stop or spend the day travelling round seeing the sights and/or having a snooze. I’m gazing round, purse in hand, trying to work out what to do with credit card when I get off. Nothing it seems. Decide to get off to look at some interesting shops. They weren’t, so jump on next 49 bus and go to flash credit card. Except I can’t as purse has gone.

What do you do when you’re in the middle of London with no money and no credit cards? Two hours, 4 and a half miles and 32000 Fitbit steps later I arrive at Kings X. Chris is waiting for me and we attempt to explain to young man in Left Luggage why I no longer have the ticket to get out my case left there earlier in the day.

“Can you describe the case?”

‘Yes, bright purple with an American Express logo and – very helpful – the metal handle has been sawn off (don’t ask!) leaving two metal sticky out bits on which to rip your fingers and ladder your tights”

The young man duly searches out said case. “Can you tell me what’s in it?”

“White nightie wrapped around Babyliss hair drier”

“Tell me the name of all your make up?’

“HourGlass, Charlotte Tilbury…”

“Name of toothpaste?”

“It’s wrapped in a shower cap and is Sensydne Total White”

“Correct.”

It was bit like playing that game at a party when you have to remember what’s on a tray before it’s whisked away.

I’d obviously passed my A Level in Left Luggage and told young man I’d be back to pick it up in two hours once we’d eaten.

Half a bottle of red wine and several phone calls to police to report stolen purse later and

we return to pick up case from Left Luggage with fifteen minutes to go before train leaves.

To same young man: “Hi, me again, can I pick up case now? Friend here will pay for it seeing as I have no purse.”

“Can I see your ID?”

“We’ve been through all this. You’ve seen my toothpaste and nightie.. You know it’s my case.”

“Sorry, need some ID.”

“A letter in my bag?”

“No, it has to be your driving licence…”

“It was in my purse. It’s been stolen.”

“Your passport…”

“At home.”

“Sorry, it’s policy.’

“So why didn’t you tell me this two jours ago when you were rifling through my make up and nightie?”

He points to a notice on the counter. “It’s here in black and white. No ID, no case release”

Various expletives on my part. Ten minutes until train goes. “Just give me my case, don’t be ridiculous.”

Folded arms on his part.

“I’m getting it”

“No, you’re not” He takes case away and puts it in the back.

“So what do you suggest?”

“It stays here at £12 per day until you come back with ID”

I ring husband who is not at home. He zooms the five minute journey home, rushes up to safe to find my passport and sends picture of it to my phone.

Quel hero!!!

Case released and I run for train while friend pays £12 plus £15 lost ticket surcharge to this young man who “is just following procedure.”

All cards stopped, new driving licence applied for as I try to think what else was in wallet.london-2084138_960_720.jpg

 

Monday morning I ring London Transport. “I don’t suppose you’ve had a brown Ted Baker wallet handed in from Number 49 bus last Friday?”

“Yes, love, you’re in luck, it’s here.”

How amazing is that? My wallet with all its credit and debit cards all intact and handed in. My faith in human nature totally and utterly restored.

 

 

 

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A VILLAGE AFFAIR

published by Aria

Nov 2018

 

My new book is out!!

THERE’S HUMOUR, ROMANCE, A SQUIRREL IN THE PINK CUSTARD, A LITHUANIAN LOLLIPOP LADY, GOOLIES IN THE SCHOOL CELLAR AND LOTS LOTS MORE!!
Twenty-six 5* reviews from professional reviewers/bloggers on #Netgalley

HERE’S THE LINK TO TAKE YOU STRAIGHT TO IT:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Village-Affair-Perfe…/…/ref=sr_1_1… IMG_0013IMG_0789

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apricot Plots

 

So, welcome to newly formed Apricot Plots of which I’m a member. Why not have a look at Apricot Plots on Facebook and find out what Jane Cable, Morton S Gray, Caroline JamesAuthor, Tora Williams, Mariam Kobras, Angela Barton and I are up to over on our APRICOT PLOTS Facebook page?

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