Thursday, September 19, 2013

Virtual Blog Tour for The Old Rectory; Escape to a Country Kitchen by Julia Helene Ibbotson

Pump Up Your Book is proud to be representing Julia Helene Ibbotson, author of the memoir/autobiography,  The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen as she tours the blogosphere September 2 – 27!

Thoughts from a (fairly) newly published author…. By Julia Helene Ibbotson

Unpublished I might have been until recent years, but I feel as though I have always been a writer. I wrote my first novel at the tender age of 10 years old. It was about my passions at the time: horses, farms and childish adventure, set in quintessential English countryside with traditional countryside pursuits and the permanency of historic farmhouses as ancestral homes. The stuff of dreams for a little English girl from the city suburbs!

But that book remains unpublished, mainly because I was never encouraged to send it to a publisher. If anyone asked me what I wanted to be I always said, a writer. Yet everyone persuaded me that you can’t make a living from writing; it was just a silly dream. And so it became a clandestine activity; one which I pursued privately for many a long year. Secretly, I wrote novels, short stories, poetry. I did it because my soul needed to create.

I graduated from university with a good degree in English literature – the death knell for any creative writer! Then I became a school teacher and although I was encouraging and supporting my students to write, somehow I couldn’t put pen to paper myself any more. As time went by, I became a respected university academic and researcher, and I did write then, as part of my role – but my works were confined to academic papers on my research, articles on my field, monographs, formulaic and within the conventional strictures. 

But something was missing in my life. I had a lovely, wonderful family, but there was a patch of arid desert where once there had been the blossom of creativity.

Then, on a romantic whim, my husband and I bought a dilapidated Victorian rectory in the middle of nowhere, and spent the next four years renovating and restoring the house and gardens to their former glory. I documented it all.

Then I was asked to present my academic work at international conferencesin Australia and America, and got to know a lot of folks from all over the world. I regaled them with stories from the Victorian rectory’s history, and our trials and tribulations in restoring it.

“Wow!” they said, “It sounds intriguing, like Midsomer Murders! You must write a book about it!”

Biting my nails with doubt, I decided to take a chance. I wrote about the renovation but also the history and I became very interested in the idea of the kitchen as the heart of the home, and researched the foods that the servants would have made in my house. The meals and the concept of meal times were very different through the ages of the house: Victorian, Edwardian, wartime, and so on.

Finally my book was complete and  I couldn’t believe it when a publisher in the USA accepted it. And amazingly, with positive encouragement!

So I am writing creatively again and I am loving it. I took a leap of faith and reduced my hours (and thus my income) as a well-paid university academic to make time for my writing and tending my large countryside garden. I am doing what I always wanted to do, not actually writing memoirs, but novels!

At this stage of my long “career” as a would-be novelist: I am now publishing a trilogy on the life story of my new character Jess. It starts with the first novel, set in 1960s  Africa where teenage Jess has fled as a volunteer. But she finds herself instead becoming embroiled in civil war, an unexpected romance, and the tragedy that ensues. And I think of that little 10 year old Julia with her hopes and dreams of becoming an author. How strange life is.

The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen
By Julia Helene Ibbotson

Publisher: Legend Press
Release Date: April 4, 2013

Genre: Memoir/Biography
Length: 180 Pages

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About The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen

Author Julia Ibbotson and her husband glimpsed the old Victorian rectory on a cold January day. It was in dire need of renovation, in the midst of the English moorlands and a mile from the nearest village, but they determined to embark on a new life in the country, to make the sad neglected house glow again and to settle into the life of the small traditional village. As Julia researches the history of the house and village, supervises the renovations and cooks for family and friends, she records their journey.

This real-life, award-winning account focuses on the quest to "live the dream" and, in the end, to find what is important in life. As the book foregrounds the centrality of the kitchen as the pulse of the family and home, each chapter ends with delicious but easy recipes, both current favourites and those from the historic period unfolding within the chapter: Victorian, Edwardian, wartime and present day.

Reviewers have been fulsome in their praise, including “ enchanting”, “a talented writer”, “charming story”, “delightful”, “a jewel”, “ a great writer”, “inspirational”, “truly engaging”, and  “destined to become a classic”.

About the Author: 

Julia Ibbotson is the award-winning author of The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, first published to acclaim in the USA and now re-launched with a brand-new cover by her new English publisher in the UK. Julia has been writing creatively all her life (unpublished!) but her day jobs to pay the mortgage have been as a school teacher and latterly a university academic, gaining her PhD at the age of 57. She delights in being a wife and mother to four, with four little grandchildren. She loves reading, gardening, growing food, cooking for family and friends and country life.

Having published many academic texts and papers, she came late to actually publishing her creative writing, at the age of 60 plus, when she was persuaded to write the story of the renovation of her Victorian rectory in The Old Rectory. She has combined memoir, history, research, story and recipes in this first published book, which has won a number of international book festivals in the biography category, gained 5 star reviews on Amazon, and has been widely featured (along with her house) in the media. She has begun to delve into the world of blogging, facebook and now has her own website at  at which she also posts blogs regularly, about writing, life and her passions.

Her new project is a trilogy of novels following the life story of a new character, Jess, through from fleeing to West Africa as a volunteer teacher/nurse in the 1960s to the millennium. The first of the series, Drumbeats, is due to be published later this year. You can find out more on her website and on her author page on Amazon.

Connect & Socialize with Julia!

Monday, September 2 – First Chapter Reveal at Pump Up Your Book
Monday, September 2 – First Chapter Reveal at Deal Sharing Aunt
Tuesday, September 3 – Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Wednesday, September 4 – Guest Blogging at Bibliotica
Wednesday, September 4 – First Chapter Reveal at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem
Thursday, September 5 – Review at Review From Here
Friday, September 6 – First Chapter Reveal at Psychotic State Book Reviews
Friday, September 6 – Book Review at All Grown Up?
Monday, September 9 – First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter
Tuesday, September 10 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, September 11 – Book Review at Melissa’s Midnight Musings
Thursday, September 12 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Friday, September 13 – Book Review at Thoughts in Progress
Monday, September 16 – Book Review at A Year of Jubilee Reviews
Tuesday, September 17 – Book Review & Interview at Authors & Readers Book Corner
Wednesday, September 18 – Book Review at 2 Kids and Tired Books
Thursday, September 19 – Guest Blogging at Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, September 19 – Book Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, September 20 – Book Review at Thoughts from Mill Street
Monday, September 23 – Book Review at Peeking Between the Covers
Tuesday, September 24 – Book Review at The Self-Taught Cook
Wednesday, September 25 – Interview at Blogcritics
Thursday, September 26 – Book Review at Sincerely Stacie
Friday, September 27 – Book Review at Eccentric Eclectic Woman


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