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Julie Mayhew Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Red Ink (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Big Lie (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mother Tongue (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Electrical Venus (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Impossible Causes (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Julie Mayhew is a British actress turned author of young adult novels. She is also a journalist who says that she decided to get into acting as she needed a more creative way of telling stories. She also became a scriptwriter when she found that brilliant roles for women were scarce. As an author, she has attained some of her biggest dreams to become an award-winning novelist. Her debut novel “Red Ink” was a coming to age novel that she first published in 2013 to much critical acclaim. The Hot Key Books published novel was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and got a nomination for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Julie Mayhew’s second novel “The Big Lie” was a novel about the life of girls in an imagined modern Nazi Britain. The novel also got a nomination for the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal and made the shortlist for the Shropshire Teenage Book of the Year award. “Mother Tongue” her third novel is a novel set in contemporary Russia just after the Beslan disaster. She recently moved to Bloomsbury and at her new publishing house has written “Impossible Causes” an atmospheric thriller that explores the consequences of silence and the power of secrets. Mayhew has also been writing plays and wrote “A Shoebox Of Snow” that made the BBC Audio Drama Awards finals and The Electrical Venus that was a nominee for the BBC ADAs. She has also written scripts for BBC Radio 4 based on the Rapunzel fairy tales.

Julie Mayhew was awarded the K Blundell Trust Award and the Arts Council England Award to allow her to write her next work set in Peterborough her hometown. She credits her success to the Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring scheme, where she learned the art of writing under Maria McCann. She also learned a lot from an invitational Writers’ Group run by Headlong Theater Company. The Peterborough native spent much of her childhood in the city before she went on to train as a journalist in college. She put her skills to use working as a breakfast presenter named “Black Thunder Babe.” She would then become a columnist for several national news organizations. She was a features writer, a football correspondent, and a travel and traffic presenter. As an actress, Julie made regular appearances on Radio 4 and at the Edinburgh Festival. She currently lives in Hertfordshire where she is the host of “The Berko Speakeasy” a short story cabaret. Mayhew also heads “The Berko Writers’ Workshop” a creative writing initiative.

Growing up, Julie Mayhew devoured the “Sweet Valley High” series by Francine Pascal and credits it for inspiring her love for the young adult genre. She loved the quick reads and pure escapism of the stories that followed the adventures of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield the all American twins. She found their American high school lives glamorous and exciting as compared to the dull life she had to endure in Peterborough secondary school in the UK. She also read other popular young adult fiction authors such as Judy Blume and Margaret Atwood who she thought would tell her how to become a grown-up and intelligent woman. Apart from the young adult fiction, she also read the likes of Stephen King that perhaps explains the dark streak in her writing. She loves the genre since it takes her back to when she was young and carefree and could try out things. However, she does not like to put herself in a straitjacket and hence she will often dip into young adult, crime, commercial fiction, nonfiction and literary fiction to find the characters and stories to delight her readers. In fact, she says that the crossover appeal of her debut “Red Ink” perhaps comes from her effort to write a book that just appeals to her readers.

Julie Mayhew’s debut novel “Red Ink” opens to Melon dealing with the grief of losing her mother to a tragic accident. She had been living with her mother in London though her mother was Greek. The only relation she has in London is a great aunt that has never liked her mother. Melon cannot go to Greece since the family there seem to have also had beef with her mother. Apparently, her mother had shamed the family by getting pregnant with a farm boy when she was only fifteen. Now dead, her mother has turned her life upside down and the anger and frustration she had always felt towards her mother even when she was alive now bubbles to the surface. Stuck living with her mother’s boyfriend, her life at school has become even harder with even her best friend keeping her distance. She gets even more frustrated when she learns that the story had told her about her life is nothing but a made-up tale. The true version of her story is one that she will find hard to live with.

Mayhew’s “The Big Lie” is a thought-provoking and interesting coming to age story. The story is set in contemporary Britain that had fallen to the Nazis during World War II. The country is now part of the Fourth Reich under the Fuhrer and Jessica has to please not only her parents but also Herr Fisher her boss who runs Bund Deutscher Madel. She is training to become an ice skater and is struggling with emotions and feelings of attraction towards her girlfriends. Nazi laws have outlawed lesbianism and this has left her fearful confused and rebellious. She is most attracted to Clementine her next-door neighbor who is something of a rebel. Clementine has never been one to tow the party line and predictably thinks very little of the worldview of the Nazi regime. She is an outspoken young woman willing to take the consequences of making a stand against the authorities. But Jessica is torn between her adoration of her crush and her loyalty to the Fuhrer. Clementine is convinced the government is corrupt to the core and none who serves in it is even redeemable. She is soon sowing seeds of doubt in the impressionable Jessica who is now doubting everything she was taught. All she knows is that the Nazis do not brook dissension and move fast to spot and quell it.

Mayhew’s “Mother Tongue” is a hard-hitting emotional novel about survival and grief. The lead is an 18-year-old girl named Darya that was forced to mature before she was old enough. Her mother had shut down after the birth of Nika her last child, forcing Darya to take over the reins and raise her siblings. Darya dreams of moving to Moscow to find a job and start a new life, where she can finally achieve all she has ever wanted to achieve. Nika is enjoying being a big girl that has finally made the age for school. But this will be the last time the two girls will ever see each other again. Nika’s school in Beslan is attacked by armed militants and the teachers and learners are held hostage for more than seventy-two hours as they wait for rescue from the Russian military that eventually storms the building. 186 children including Nika die in the incident and while her decease is shocking enough to get her mother out of her reverie, Darya is left devastated. But the two deal with their grief very differently which soon has them going for each other’s throats. With the town swarming with journalists, Darya is approached by an American who assists her to move to Moscow where she believes her dreams await her. But she is not made for city life and is soon caught up in the murky underworld of Moscow.

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