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Author Showcase: Julia Rose Grey

Published on Friday, November 29, 2013 by

Always believing my upwardly slanted penmanship was an indication of some disease, I tried to correct it. I used a ruler under my pen; drew faint penciled lines; and even turned my paper 45O to the left. Nothing worked. I was stuck with thank you notes, addresses and signatures that were low on the left and traveled one-half inch uphill to the right. A nice lady administering a psychological test told me my slanted script indicated how hopeful I was about the future. She elaborated that I had a sense of responsibility for my own behavior and believed in myself. I was, she declared, an optimist. Too young and still mired in the murk left-over from childhood, I did not fully comprehend what she meant.

Along the way, I learned to type so that my book reports and nonsensical short stories and poems were perpendicular to the top and bottom of the paper. In high school, my writing skills branched into parody and satire. Once I wrote a take-off of Poe’s poem The Raven in which I lamented having to do homework “evermore.” The teacher liked it for its witty twist. My parents weren’t delighted because they believed the parody indicated a flawed character – a preference of listening to my own drummer’s beat rather than conforming – a trait which remains intact to this day.

In college, I was delighted with my ability to churn out term papers. With a few hours research and an afternoon of typing, I could produce a twenty-page paper. Oh the joy! No more necessity for scribbling blurry thoughts all night.

Throughout all my childhood, teen years, and into adulthood, I seemed to never tire of the stories my grandmothers told me about their experiences. Although deceased for many years now, I cling to their tales as the Peanuts character Linus cleaves to his security blanket.

Which brings me to today. My novels have three qualities: They are uplifting tales, loaded with humor, and steeped in yesteryear.

In my first novel, Cry Before Supper, the Campbell family, parents, devoted grandmother and five children start each day with a song and, using happiness as their bond, protect the one child who suffers from a neurological condition that marks him as different. Then, in one swift stroke, irrevocable harm is inflicted upon them by a town local mired in his own bitterness. The family’s joy is shattered. Their future bleak. Except for that one ray of hope. The middle child, Annie, who has the endurance and willingness to provide for others, brings light to them once more. Her account of what happened defines the power of perseverance.

My holiday novel, The Dream Catcher, is a whimsical tale about the diminutive Rupert Rumple, who is concerned about the gloom surrounding the town of Greeneville. Despite his many fears, he sets out on a journey to bring back the joy of making dreams come true.

A third book is in progress. The current title is They Ran Out of Rhyme. I have an outline and I’m in the midst of filling in the storyline with anecdotes, antics, everything from vintage crystal to flapper-style cloches, and a clash of blamelessness with corruptibility.

I live peacefully and happily with my husband of some thirty years in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, USA.

Other Works

The Dream Catcher, a whimsical holiday tale about Rupert Rumple who, despite his many fears, journeys far from home to discover the importance of dreams.

Short story, “Command, Control, Communicate” in Leaves of Change: Lessons on Love, Laughter, and Living, an Anthology by Durham Editing and E-books

Social Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Book Brief 

Cry Before Supper

A story about the power of perseverance (Published July 2012)

It is the early 1960’s.  The Campbell family moves from their Philadelphia row home to a larger house in a suburb where they believe they will have a better life.  For a while, they do.  The parents, devoted grandmother and five children start each day with a song.  Bonded by their happiness, they protect the one child who suffers from an undiagnosed neurological condition from abuse and negativity.  The family’s joy is their strength.

Unfortunately, it is also the source of their demise.

The Campbells’ cheerfulness entices a jealous neighbor — someone whom they help in his time of need — to inflict irrevocable harm upon them.  Each of the family members is struck hard by this strategy none of them can fathom.  The family’s future is shattered.  In an instant, the happiness and closeness are gone forever.

Most of the Campbells react in way that is uncharacteristic.  One child does not.  She realizes that family members need attention and, unwittingly, takes on the task of caring for them.  The irony is, this child is the one who believes she has neither the perseverance nor the resilience to bear such a weight.  The question is, will she, can she, in her own stumbling way, bring the family home once again.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Smashwords

Excerpt

The body fell out with a thud. It wasn’t a hard sound, like the time we were playing hide-and-seek in the library and I turned too quickly, sending the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary and the table it was sitting on crashing to the floor. No. This sound was soft…A sudden crackling sound split the silence like lightning. I jerked with a startle and gasped before I realized the sound was the lady’s jaw. It had dropped open, as if to say “Hello, dearies.” I guess she was as surprised to see us as we were to see her…I let out a sigh and tried to think through this awkward state of affairs…Help might be here soon, I thought. Crosey — Caroline Rose, my younger sister — had taken off as soon as the mysterious lady did her jack-in-the-box routine. Apparently she’d run down the hallway and was now leaning over the balustrade. I heard her shouting, “Mom, call the police! No, make that the coroner. She’s beyond help, now!”

Book Reviews

“This is the kind of book I love and for once I tried to read it slowly to savor it and to avoid reaching the end. I am always fascinated, especially at this point in my life (I am around the age these children would be now) by how other people grew up and by families, which I am sadly lacking. The characters in books become my circle of acquaintances and friends. And these are more than worthy. Through the eyes of Annie we meet a unique family of four generations and a community of friends and helpers. Annie became more and more endearing and quietly courageous the longer I got to know her and I was truly grateful for the ending which left me smiling and yes, dare I say happy. No supervillains, no cliches, no plot contrivances, just people who felt genuinely real.”  D Greenspace

“Cry Before Supper” by Julia Rose Grey was a real treat. The author tells the story of Annie Campbell, beginning in 1961 when the family lives in a suburb in Philadelphia: 5 children, a grandmother and a dog. The story is told in Annie’s youthful and beautiful voice, at times naive, at times, melancholic and later stronger and assertive. We learn about the family background, the sibling rivalries, neighbourhood gossip, the morals and ideas of the times and the special blend of family values that the Campbells live by and how these evolve as the story moves into the 70s and the children make their own way.Christoph Fischer

“Cry Before Supper is both haunting and hopeful. Ms Gray condenses a great deal of time and detail into a mere 250 or so pages. However, no thread is lost, the characters are exactly drawn, including the delightful dog, and the action moves right along. This excellent first novel, which I hope will be followed by others, is reminiscent of the Aeneid in that its structure approaches poetry. Due to the young narrator and her buddy-pal sister, it also has a tinge of To Kill a Mockingbird. The story line glides as seductively as a Bond thriller. Yet if the author has inadvertently channeled any predecessors, I don’t see it. The book is fresh and new. Upon opening it, I thought I would read as far as the on-line excerpt for a start, but I could not put it down! Read through to the end and savored every word. Brava, Ms Gray!” CC Meezer

Purchase Links: Amazon | Smashwords

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