Five Best Things About Being a Writer
by Julie Brooks
Sometimes I can’t believe my luck that I get to do this unbelievable job and have people read my stories.
- Creating the story world.
There are no wizards or warriors in my novels, but I do get to create my own worlds. They are as true to history as I can make them, yet still very much a product of my imagination. Like a bower bird, I pick and choose my favourite pieces to construct the story world. Sometimes the tiniest details tell the story more precisely than pages of description. In The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay, it is middle-aged Rose’s twinset and stockings and child Rose’s enormous collar flapping at her shoulders that tell us when the story is set as much as any date. Plus, I can call my main characters after my grandmothers if I feel like it. After all, I am the boss of my story world.
- Researching the facts.
Research is so addictive that it can be difficult knowing when to stop. For The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay, I immersed myself in books about life in the trenches of World War One, the Voluntary Aid Detachment, grand country houses, passenger ships and early twentieth-century Sri Lanka. But not every fact needs to go into the novel. (Actually, readers will be relieved that ninety-nine percent wasn’t included.) Do my readers need to know everything about life in the trenches? Probably not. But knowing that the men were shipped about ‘like livestock in horseboxes labelled “40 hommes, 8 cheveux”’, and spent ‘half their day hunting lice from their clothes and the other half chasing rats’ gives them a pretty good idea.
- Planning the puzzle.
Every novel is a puzzle. Somewhere near the beginning, the writer poses a central story question that the reader will want answered. In The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay that question is ‘What happened to Rose?’. So how to create the puzzle the reader must solve to answer that question? It’s all part of the fun.
- Engaging the reader.
Speaking of puzzles, I’m not a writer who wants the answer to come as a total shock. Actually, when I read a novel where the person who ‘dunnit’ hardly features in the story I feel cheated. I love that writer and reader go on a journey together where the writer plants the clues and the reader finds them. Maybe they’ll guess the answer then a later clue will leave them doubting that guess, often several times over. It’s the twists that matter.
- Holding the book in my hands.
Oh, that moment when the box of author copies arrives and I hold my amazing new book in my hands for the first time. I can’t resist sniffing the pages, running my hands over the jacket and turning the book this way and that so the light catches the pretty colours. And then I think about all the people involved in creating this lovely thing and all the people who will read it and I feel privileged to be a writer.
by Julie Brooks
Two women set sail for Australia, bound by a terrible truth. But only one will make it off the ship.
'The writing is polished and evocative, the twists and turns are surprising, and the characters' stories emotionally compelling'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ reader review
'Stunning . . . Julie Brooks has written an impeccably researched novel with a wonderful sense of history and character . . . I thoroughly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ reader review
'An incredibly moving story of two women . . . Beautifully written the books draws you in from the start. It's very emotional as the story moves from the different timelines'
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ reader review
The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay is a darkly gripping dual-time novel, with a wealth of twists, turns and secrets, and an absolute book club treat, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Rachel Rhys and Hannah Richell.
'A sweeping tale of family secrets, betrayal, jealousy, ambition and forbidden romance . . . Fans of The Thorn Birds and Downton Abbey will love the epic scope of this novel' ALI MERCER
'I thoroughly enjoyed this immersive story which spans both generations and continents. The evocative details and impeccable research make for a delightful reading experience and I can pay it no greater compliment other than to say, I wish I'd written it' KATHRYN HUGHES
'This is an epic dual-time novel which draws the reader in right from the start and keeps you in thrall until the very last page. The writing is superb, the descriptions detailed, lush and evocative' CHRISTINA COURTENAY
'A gripping story full of family secrets: the price of love and loss within two generations . . . convincing and poignant' LEAH FLEMING
'Rich in evocative detail - the complex mystery kept me guessing right up to the last page' MUNA SHEHADI
England, 1919: Rose and Ivy board a ship bound for Australia.
One is travelling there to marry a man she has never met.
One is destined never to arrive.
Australia, 2016: Amongst her late-grandmother's possessions, Molly uncovers a photograph of two girls dressed in First World War nurses' uniforms, labelled 'Rose and Ivy 1917', and a letter from her grandmother, asking her to find out what happened to her own mother, Rose, who disappeared in the 1960s.
Compelled to carry out her grandmother's last wish, Molly embarks on a journey to England to unravel the mystery of the two girls whose photograph promised they'd be 'together forever' . . .
Readers LOVE The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay:
'This story was gripping and a joy to read'
'A touching and beautifully written story of friendship'
'I was totally gripped from the start, it was well written with good characters and I loved the dual timeline aspect. There was so much going on in this story and I just couldn't put it down'
'An emotional book . . . well written and interesting. I could imagine this book being discussed in book club'
A book a treasures. A wealth of secrets. Look for Julie's next compelling novel, The Keepsake.