A Very Serious Interview With Myself About Being Chosen for Richard and Judy’s Book Club

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Being chosen for the Richard and Judy book club is a really big deal, and a huge honour. But here are the questions that really need to be asked:

Q: What did you say when your agent rang you, with the news that your book Dear Thing had been chosen for Richard and Judy’s Summer Book Club?
A: ‘Noooooooooooooo way!!’ (Essentially I turned into my 1980s teenage self.)

Q: Who did you tell?
A: I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone. I was forbidden, on pain of possibly being dropped from the list. But I did tell my husband, who was on his way to Japan, and my mother.

Q: Did your mother keep the secret?
A: Only under duress. The next day, we were in the library together talking to the librarian, and she said, ‘Julie, don’t you want to tell Luke your BIG SECRET?’

Q: How did you get through the next three and a bit months without telling anyone?
A: Whenever I felt the temptation to blurt it out, I stopped my mouth with another sip of wine.

Q: We know all the stuff about how thrilled you were, and how great it is for your book, yadda yadda. What we are really interested in is what you wore to meet Richard and Judy.
A: I went to John Lewis personal shopper! And I totally lied to the Personal Shopper about what I needed an outfit for. I said I was doing some newspaper interviews and photo shoots. She brought me about a million dresses to try on, and it was a wonderful experience which I can totally recommend (plus you get free coffee and cake). In the end I bought a Whistles dress, a leather jacket, and a killer pair of red heels.

Q: Since you normally turn up at the school gates in pyjamas or old leggings, how did you explain it when you turned up in full slap and a Whistles dress, before you went into London?
A: I told everyone I was filming in London at Penguin. Which was fortunately also true—I did some clips for My Independent Bookshop in the morning, before I went off to The Meeting.

Q: Where did you meet Richard and Judy?
A: In a Soho boutique hotel. I still didn’t believe it was true, right up to the minute I saw a man walking around with a pile of books, including mine. Then we went into the drawing room and there was Richard Madeley, being interviewed with a journalist. I was rather nervous and a little freaked out, as you can see from this photo.

I don't look nervous at all, do I?

I don’t look nervous at all, do I?

Q: Your hair looks very nice.
A: Why thank you. I had it professionally done, and didn’t try to dye it myself the night before an important event as I normally do. Which is the reason why it’s not green.

Q: What did you do then, after being nervous?
A: I met a really lovely broadcaster, who made me feel totally at ease. She got me to read an extract of Dear Thing for the podcast, and asked me some questions about the book. Then all of a sudden someone from WHSmith arrived and told us it was our turn with Richard and Judy.

Q: So, what were Richard and Judy really like?
A: They were great. They were friendly, welcoming, warm, and they knew my book really well and clearly liked it. Richard revealed that he and Judy had lost their first baby, so they could both relate to the portrayal of infertility and miscarriage in my novel. It was very personal, and also very touching, and probably the most complimentary thing that a novelist can hear. Then we got chatting about fairies and Arthur Conan Doyle, as you do. You can listen to the entire podcast here.

Chatting with Richard and Judy

Chatting with Richard and Judy about my book and fairies

Q: What did you do afterwards?
A: I dragged my lovely publicist Tess and my lovely editors Harriet and Bella to the old man’s pub across the road to drink wine in a darkened room.

Q: What was the best part of the day?
A: Judy liked my shoes!

'I like your shoes,' said Judy Finnegan. To me.

‘I like your shoes,’ said Judy Finnegan. To me.

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2 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Where are the pics of the shoes? You can’t talk about a pair of killer red heels and not have a pic! (Specially not when Judy said she liked them.)
    Congratulations again and thank you for giving me something special to smile about when it was a bit hard to do that. So happy for you.
    But where are the shoes??


  2. GOOD POINT. I will take a picture of the shoes. I know what people want.

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