Author’s latest work puts Airdrie in spotlight
“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. co.uk, and for more details on Julie and her projects, visit www.juliehamill.com.
Inspiration Julie recalled her childhood when writing Frank