Thursday, October 3, 2013



Julia Hughes is the creator of “The Celtic Cousins’ Adventures”.  Book two “A Ripple in Time” has recently been re-edited and will be available to download from October 10. Or you can win your own special paperback edition simply by leaving a comment, or for more details visit Julia’s site:

How old were you when you wrote your first story? What was it about?

My first story was written when I around nine. Title: “The Sensational Six” It was about six cousins who find a mysterious cave while on holiday, and was a complete rip-off of Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” adventures.

A Ripple in Time deals with family ~ Carrie’s grandmother etc. How much has your own family influenced your writing?

The main theme of “A Ripple in Time” derives from something my own gran used to say: “Everything happens for a reason”. Bad things happen to good people, you have to deal with it, and hope some positive comes from a negative. When I’m casting around for characters’ details, I tend to use characteristics from my own family. I’ve got a wide range to choose from!

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever done researching a book?

In “A Raucous Time”, the Celtic Cousins “borrow” a light airplane. I badgered our local aerodrome with questions, and received some stony silences in response. A son who shall remain nameless banned me from picking him up from Air Cadets. But I did blag a couple of rides in motored gliders!

You’re a perfectionist - always revising and rewriting. Describe your writing process from concept to publication.

As you know, it all begins with one idea, and a few little words: “What if…or if only.” The IDEA is quickly followed by “What would happen next?” I started out on “A Ripple in Time” by imagining how brilliant it would be if only we could go back in time and warn our grandparents of impending disasters. Maybe because I want to do this so much, I then developed a storyline which demonstrated that tampering with the past can lead to an even greater disaster for future generations.

What advice do you have for beginning authors?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write.  What works for me is sketching out first drafts in the first person. I find it helps me get inside a character’s skin. Find a good critique partner, someone sympathetic to your writing, and learn how to take what suits your story from their advice. 

If you could die and be reincarnated as any fictional character what book would you live in?
What an amazing idea! The child in me shouts out Lucy Pevensie, known as Queen Lucy the Valiant in the Chronicles of Narnia, or maybe her sister, Susan, who gets it on with Prince Caspian – at least according to the film version!
Describe your worst day ever … then your best.

If I were to go into detail, I’d totally bore the pants off your readers. Really. Plus they’d think I was making up stories. Briefly: We were on a cycling holiday in Europe. My friend got us lost. We ended up in a small French town nestled at the foot of a mountain range. That’s when I bumped into …no – I’m going to skip that part. Anyhow, we started out of town, and this road went around a mountain. So far, so pretty – think of the scenery in “The Sound of Music”. The road continued, now climbing halfway up the next mountain. We’re leaving civilization behind. The next mountain, the road went over. It was a bright sunny warm day, and there was snow at the top of this mountain. A pickup truck swept by, the first vehicle to pass us (every sane driver used the convenient tunnel that ran through the mountains). The driver stopped to talk to my friend, who was about two hundred yards ahead of me.  Wheezing and pushing my bike, heavy with camping gear, I rushed up to them just as the pickup truck drove off. “What did he want?” I puffed. “Oh, he asked if we wanted a lift. I told him we were okay.” My friend said casually. As he spoke, the sun dropped behind the horizon and the air froze. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cross with anyone in my life. Especially as my friend thought it was hysterically funny and kept singing “Come down from the mountain, Julia dear”. I could have chucked him over the side. Although, the pickup driver could have been a mad serial killer in search of cycling tourists, so maybe it was for the best that my friend declined for us to climb inside his nice warm truck and ride in comfort to the next town. I remember the darkness was complete, and there was an eerie crackling sound of glaciers moving, and I was terrified. Too scared to keep on moving yet far too frightened to stop and pitch camp.
After that experience, every day of my life has been the best, although the day Wonderdog Sickem swum across the Atlantic to visit London stands out as a real dazzler!

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