Juliet lives in a traditional Welsh quarryman's cottage between Anglesey and the mountains of Snowdonia. She has a large garden that would have been used by original inhabitants to grow vegetables and fruit to supplement their wages. Juliet tries to follow in their footsteps with the aid of a polytunnel and plenty of experimenting with the results. Juliet has been told that her great-grandmother was the cook at a big country house at the beginning of the last century. She has definitely inherited the baking gene - her chocolate-and-orange cake is legendary!
As a child, Juliet always had her nose in a book. She wrote her first novel (an epic inspired by Rosemary Sutcliff and set in Saxon times) at the age of ten. After studying English at Lancaster University and King's College, London, Juliet worked in a variety of jobs, from running her own craft stall at Covent Garden Market to running puppet and storytelling workshops in North Wales. A severe illness over 15 years ago inspired her to pursue her life-long passion and finally fulfill her ambition to become a published author.
As well as novels under her own name, Juliet writes serials and short stories for magazines as 'Heather Pardoe'.
'Eden's Garden' was chosen by the Welsh Books Council as Welsh Book of the Month May 2013 and is a finalist for The People's Book Prize 2013/14
Are there any other authors in your family?
When my mother died we discovered that she had been writing a novel. We had it published privately for the family. It's very touching, and I still get a slight shiver reading it. Although we never shared our writing, I can recognise my own in mum's description of landscape, which is a strange feeling. My greatest regret is that she didn't live to see me become a published writer. I'm sure she would have loved it and she'd have continued with her own writing. I'm feeling it especially now as part of the inspiration for 'We That Are Left' is her journey back home from Paris on her own, as a 17 year old, on the day the Second World War broke out. We recently found her postcard when she finally arrived in Dover describing the terrifying and heart-breaking scenes, and being stalked by a submarine when they were halfway across the channel. 'We That Are Left' is aimed for Mother's Day next year, so that will be particularly poignant. I'll be toasting her in the elderflower champagne she taught me to make when I was a child.
Can you describe a typical writing day?
I'm a morning person, so I get up early and work for a couple of hours before taking my dog out for her morning walk. I live on the edges of a village in Snowdonia, so I have a wide range of walks. Sometimes we are sociable and meet up with other dog walkers on the old slate quarry below my house, or in woods at the bottom of the valley along the banks of a river. This is also my thinking time, so if I've got stuck with the story I'm working on I go off onto the hills behind the house, to an ancient settlement on the top, with stunning views over the mountains. I usually find this does the trick and things start to fall into place. And Phoebe the collie has the thrill of eyeing up the forbidden sheep from the safety of her lead ...
When I get back, I make myself a proper coffee and settle down at the computer. I then work through until the short afternoon dog walk. I try to spend the evenings reading, researching or working on publicity, but if I'm in full flow, or have a deadline, I keep on going until the brain is fried, then fall over.
What was the last historical novel you bought?
'The Colour' by Rose Tremain. I loved it!
If you could go to any concert, would you choose classical, pop, rock or country music?
I enjoy all kinds of music, but for a concert it would have to be classical. When I'm writing my books I'm going through both the highs and lows of my characters' emotions, so for music I love calm and ordere, like Mozart or Handel. My iPod, on the other hand, is full of world music, Adele, and Bonnie Tyler belting out 'Holding out for a Hero'!
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
I lived in London for years and I still love going back for a holiday. I visit old haunts, see a play, take in galleries and museums until I drop and get a real buzz from the atmosphere. It it's abroad, it would have to be Venice, it's such an atmospheric city. If I can't make Venice, I'm only a hour away from the Italianate village of Portmeirion, which has its own magic – and I can dream!
Sweet or savoury dish for your favourite course?
Cake every time! I meet up regularly with the brilliant and supportive novelists of Novelistas Ink. http://novelistasink.blogspot.herobo.com/ With baking diva Trisha Ashley in our midst, we are famous for our cakes! My next book, 'We That Are Left' contains baking recipes from the First Word War, so I'm spending much of my time at the moment exploring traditional and early 20th century recipes. It's a bit of a challenge, being a vegetarian, but now I've a source of veggie suet and rennet, I'm having a whale of a time. I'm sworn to secrecy for now, but there are some real finds. I have some very happy friends, who have been drafted in as tasters and savers of my waistline. I'm also hoping to put on a WW1 afternoon tea with the local library next year – lots of baking ahead!
How will you spend Christmas this year?
Very quietly, with friends and family. I know 2014 is going to be a very busy year, so I'm keeping it simple. I'm going to friends a few doors away for a meal on Christmas Eve, and if it's not actually freezing (I live halfway up a mountain, with steep and winding roads, so these things count!) we are hoping to go to a local carol service. Then I've friends arriving for Christmas Day. They've been warned they might be obliged to taste WW1 delicacies along with the chestnut roast. After the festivities are done, I'm going to shamelessly slob with red wine, chocolates and a few good books. And 'The Wizard of Oz', of course.
We that are left, published February 2014
You can find out more about Juliet on her website http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/