Novel ap­proach

Au­thor’s lat­est work puts Air­drie in spot­light

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News -

“I left Air­drie, but Air­drie never left me.”

It’s clear that, de­spite the fact she now lives in Lon­don, au­thor Julie Hamill will al­ways have a soft spot for her for­mer home town – and that’s none more ap­par­ent than with the con­tent of her sec­ond book.

Frank, telling the story of a man suf­fer­ing from the grief of los­ing his wife, is set in Air­drie and events take place in a se­ries of lo­ca­tions that will be hugely fa­mil­iar to res­i­dents of the town.

Julie, 45, told the Ad­ver­tiser: “I had to set the book some­where and I felt it had to be Air­drie, where I lived from the age of nine un­til I was 17.

“It takes place in the 1980s and we get a lot of mu­sic from that era – both good and bad – get­ting played in Air­drie Work­ing Men’s Club.

“Writ­ing the story evoked a lot of mem­o­ries of what peo­ple were wear­ing back then and I re­mem­ber go­ing to the old Air­drie market and buy­ing a lu­mi­nous green jacket!

“When I was grow­ing up, there wasn’t much to do but wan­der around and I have fond mem­o­ries of go­ing to Christie’s for a cream ring and Zam­bonini’s chippy for pineap­ple frit­ters in the town cen­tre.

“We also spent a lot of time in Cairn­hill woods climb­ing in through a bro­ken win­dow of the Cairn­hill Hotel to play hide­and-seek.

“It was great fun tap­ping into all of my child­hood mem­o­ries. I left Air­drie, but Air­drie never left me.”

Frank is the first in a tril­ogy of sto­ries that top firm Saron Pub­lish­ers have com­mis­sioned Julie to write and the au­thor de­scribed what read­ers can ex­pect from the novel: “Frank’s dead wife June is haunt­ing him, but he’s not sure why; it’s a bit­ter­sweet com­edy in the style of Philom­ena.

“The reader must de­cide if June re­ally is a ghost, if it’s the strength of Frank’s grief or if his con­fu­sion and for­get­ful­ness is a pre­cur­sor to an on­set of de­men­tia.

“It’s about how when loved ones pass away, peo­ple try and keep them alive through many dif­fer­ent means and the story stemmed from a play I wrote called On the Bench about the Grim Reaper vis­it­ing Frank.

“The in­spi­ra­tion for Frank came when I heard about a man who went around go­ing to funer­als to get free steak pies, which struck me as an in­ter­est­ing case of gal­lows hu­mour.

“The next two books in the tril­ogy will fo­cus on Frank’s wife June and daugh­ter Jackie.”

Frank fol­lows on from Julie’s hugely suc­cess­ful de­but book 15 Min­utes With You, which was ded­i­cated to her love of Manch­ester mu­si­cians The Smiths.

Re­flect­ing on the com­ple­tion of her sopho­more lit­er­ary project, Julie said: “I wrote Frank five years ago and it’s won­der­ful to see it all put to­gether and edited. This is the fun, ex­cit­ing time. Edit­ing a book is hard and get­ting a pub­lisher on board is even more dif­fi­cult, but I have se­cured a brilliant pub­lisher.

“Saron Pub­lish­ers wanted a tril­ogy to de­velop the char­ac­ters in Frank and I was thrilled to be able to carry on the story.”

Frank will be re­leased in Novem­ber and be avail­able from Ama­zon and all good book shops.

To pre-or­der a copy of the book email Saron Pub­lish­ers at info@saron­pub­lish­ers., and for more de­tails on Julie and her projects, visit

In­spi­ra­tion Julie re­called her child­hood when writ­ing Frank

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