Julia Jefferson has recently published her second novel, a domestic noir thriller that has received rave reviews
Having always wanted to write a novel, English teacher Julia Jefferson got the idea for her first book three years ago during a conversation with a good friend.
“I have always been an avid reader but never thought I had the stamina to write a book,” explains Julia, who works at Pendle Vale College. “But I was chatting to a good friend who mentioned that there was very little out there in terms of LGBT literature. She had an awful experience as a teenager as her family found it very difficult to accept she was gay and weren’t very supportive.”
Julia’s first book Proud questions the reader’s fixed ideas on gender and sexuality. It also covers the main character’s ‘coming out’ and questions homophobic behaviour and the deep-rooted intolerance displayed within some cultures.
Written under a pseudonym, J J Perri, Proud has received rave reviews on Twitter and Amazon. One reader commented: “This book is very timely. It shows bigotry being confronted not by isolation but by people standing together in the face of intolerance and violence. More power to you J J Perri.”
Another wrote: “The style and construction of the novel with its intermittent flashbacks and the extensive building of the main characters’ lives and personalities is very well executed.”
Julia adds: “The LGBT genre for young adults is quite niche so I found marketing the book quite difficult, but I have had some great feedback, which has made it all worthwhile. I loved writing it!
“I had a lot of inspiration for this book and I learnt so much. I spoke to many people who gave me lots of motivation and I found that by the time I had finished it, I felt very humbled. I really understood what it must be like for these people to feel you have to hide who you really are.”
Last year’s lockdown sparked Julia’s second book The Beginning is the End, a psychological domestic noir thriller charting the relationship between a young couple Layla and Matt: “The book is written in the third person and has a dual narrative. One of the character’s narrative works back from the end while the other narrative works from the beginning to the end – they meet in the middle when it becomes clear what is happening and who the villain is.
“The structure of the novel means that the reader is aware from the beginning that the story ends tragically,” says Julia, who self-published the book with Amazon.
“My sister and niece helped proof read and after reading the first two chapters, as delicately as they could, told me they thought it was little awkward. It’s always difficult to accept criticism and I think I was a little prickly but when I asked them to explain further, they said it sounded like it had been written by an English teacher!
“When I read it back I could see how contrived and affected it actually was. With their input and honesty, I totally re-wrote it and just let it flow and it worked much better.
“For a while it was definitely a work in progress but I now have a Kindle version and paperback version. It’s amazing to be able to do that – especially when the book arrives through your letterbox!”
Reviews for The Beginning is the End have been similarly positive. One reader comments: “This was scary. A real thought-provoking psychological thriller that kept me gripped to the end.”
Another adds: “A pacy read. The characters are convincing and the switch between time frames deftly handled. An enjoyable read that reveals the art of manipulation and how that becomes a dangerous and destructive force within a relationship.”
Proud by J J Perri and The Beginning is the End by Julia Jefferson are available in Kindle and paperback version from: amazon.co.uk