Please help me welcome guest author, Judith Barrow, to the blog today. She has been on an exciting blog tour (more links below), and I am thrilled to take part! So without further ado, please enjoy…
Judith Barrow’s new book, A Hundred Tiny Threads, is the prequel of her Howarth trilogy. Pattern of Shadows is the first of the trilogy. Mary is a nursing sister at Lancashire prison camp for the housing and treatment of German POWs. Life at work is difficult but fulfilling, life at home a constant round of arguments, until Frank Shuttleworth, a guard at the camp turns up. Frank is difficult to love but persistent and won’t leave until Mary agrees to walk out with him.
Sequel to Pattern of the Shadows, Changing Patterns is set in May 1950, Britain is struggling with the hardships of rationing and the aftermath of the Second World War There are many obstacles in the way of Mary’s happiness, not the least of which is her troubled family. When tragedy strikes, Mary hopes it will unite her siblings. Will the family pull together to save one of their own from a common enemy
The last of the trilogy, Living in the Shadows is set in 1969. There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way they can escape their murderous consequences.
And so to the prequel: A Hundred Tiny Thread: Winifred is a determined young woman eager for new experiences. When her friend Honora – an Irish girl, with the freedom to do as she pleases – drags Winifred along to a suffragette rally, she realises that there is more to life than the shop and her parents’ humdrum lives of work and grumbling.
Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood echoes through his early adult life and the scars linger, affecting his work, his relationships and his health. The only light in his life comes from a chance meeting with Winifred, the daughter of a Lancashire grocer.
Here, Judith tells us how she came to live in Pembrokeshire…
We found Pembrokeshire by accident.
With three children under three, an old cottage half renovated and a small business that had become so successful that we were working seven days a week, we were exhausted. David, my husband, thought we should get off the treadmill; at least for a fortnight.
Pre-children, cottage and business, we always holidayed in Cornwall. But we decided it was too far with a young family and an unreliable van. We’d go to Wales; not too difficult a journey from Lancashire, we thought.
Once that was mentioned, David was eager to see Four Crosses, near Welshpool, where his grandfather originated from.
‘We could stay there,’ he said.
‘But the children will want beaches,’ I protested. ‘And I’ve heard Pembrokeshire has wonderful beaches.
We agreed to toss a coin and Pembrokeshire won. We’d call at Four Crosses on the way home.
I borrowed books on Wales from the library and, balancing our 8-month-old twins, one on each knee, I read as much as I could about the county. It sounded just the place to take children for a holiday. We booked a caravan and, when the big day came, packed the van to the hilt with everything the children would need, remembering only at the last minute, to throw a few clothes in for ourselves.
It took 10 hours.
In 1978 there was no easy route from the North of England to West Wales.
We meandered through small lanes, stopping for emergencies like much needed drinks, picnics, lavatory stops and throwing bread to the ducks whenever our eldest daughter spotted water. I’d learned to keep a bag of stale bread for such times.
The closer we were to our destination the slower we went. In the heat of the day the engine in our old van struggled; we needed to top up the radiator every hour or so. For the last 50 miles we became stuck in traffic jams.
We got lost numerous times.
All this and three ever-increasingly fractious children.
We arrived at the caravan site in the middle of the night so were relieved to find the key in the door.
The owner, a farmer, had given up and gone home.
I woke early. Leaving David in charge of our exhausted and still sleeping family, I crept out.
The sun was already warm; a soft breeze barely moved the leaves on the oak tree nearby. Skylarks flittered and swooped overhead, calling to one another.
Although the caravan was one of four in the farmer’s field, we were the only people there. It was so quiet, so peaceful.
I walked along a small path. Within minutes I was faced by a panorama of sea. It seemed so still from the top of the cliff, but the water blended turquoise and dark blue with unseen currents, the horizon was a silvery line.
Faint voices from two small fishing boats carried on the air.
The sandstone cliffs curved round in a natural cove. Jagged rocks, surrounded by white ripples of water, jutted up towards the sky.
I fell in love with Pembrokeshire.
I’d always liked living so close to the Pennines. The moors, criss-crossed by ancient stone walls, were glorious with wild rhododendrons in summer, heather in the autumn. Even when brooding under swathes of drifting mist or white-over with snow, I was happy there.
But Pembrokeshire has a powerful glory of its own.
Within months we’d thrown caution, and our past lives, to the wind and moved here, much to the consternation of our extended family; as far as they were concerned we were moving to the ends of the earth.
But it was one of the best decisions of my life.
Judith was born and brought up in a small village on the edge of the Pennine moors in Yorkshire, for the last forty years she’s lived with her husband and family near the coast in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, UK, a gloriously beautiful place.
She’s written all her life, with short stories, poems, plays, reviews and articles being published in many places but only started to seriously write novels after having breast cancer twenty years ago. With six novels safely stashed away, never to see the light of day again, she had the first of my trilogy accepted by http://www.honno.co.uk/. Pattern of Shadows, published in 2010, was followed by the sequel, Changing Patterns, in 2013 and the last, Living in the Shadows in 2015. The prequel, A Hundred Tiny Threads was published in this month.
Judith has an MA in Creative Writing, B.A. (Hons.) in Literature, and a Diploma in Drama and Script Writing. She is also a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council’s Lifelong Learning Programme and gives talks and run workshops on all genres. When she’s not writing or teaching, she’s researching for her book, walking the Pembrokeshire coastline or reading and reviewing books for Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT, along with some other brilliant authors and bloggers.
Along with her friend and fellow author, Thorne Moore, she also organises a book fair in September. This year the venue has changed because so many more authors and poets will be present. Here’s the link that tells all!! Narberth Book Fair.
* * *
* * *
Other Blog Tour Stops:
Friday 25th August www.intheplottingshed.com
Saturday 26th August isabellegoddard.blogspot.co.uk
Sunday 27th August www.lindasbookbag.com
Monday28th August madalynmorgan.blogspot.co.uk
Tuesday 29th August www.clareflynn.co.uk
Wednesday 30th August www.annemariebrear.com
Thursday 31st August jennylloydwriter.wordpress.com
Friday 1st September rosieamber.wordpress.com
Saturday 2nd September mylife428.wordpress.com
Sunday 3rd September www.adriennemorris.com
Monday 4th September itsallaboutthebooksblog.wordpress.com
Tuesday 5th September julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com
Thanks so much for stopping by! Please help me in supporting Judith during her exciting blog tour. Don’t forget to click that like button and share your thoughts below!
Until next time……………………………Stay Creative!!