I have recently finished reading Walking in the Rain by Julia Ibbotson and what a beautiful read it is. It is heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measures, a love story that is not everything you'd expect or want, but tests your strength of love to breaking point. Today I have Julia here on my Blog talking about the secret behind writing Walking in the Rain, but before Julia takes centre stage, here is my review...
This is an emotional read in every way. It will have you screaming at Jess and at the same time begging her to listen. A book filled with many issues that are not readily addressed even in our modern society. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found I could not put it down. I am now waiting impatiently for book 3. A beautiful read and for me it deserves the full 5 stars.
The secret behind Walking in the Rain and the Drumbeats trilogy
The title of Walking in the Rain, my latest novel, comes from the old 10cc song, “The Things we do for Love”. Remember it? So at one level, it’s about the crazy stupid things you might do with a new lover – not being bothered about getting wet in the rain because all you’re wanting is to hold his hand and saunter close together in a haze of passion. You don’t care about discomfort of soaking strands of hair, squelching shoes, and a wet skirt slapping against your thighs. You probably don’t even notice the rain. Like at the end of the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral” – clichéd, I know, and many of us cringed when we heard That Line, with Kristin Scott-Thomas and Hugh Grant, but the sentiment is one we’ve all felt.
At the other level, it’s about trying to carry on walking when your eyes are full of tears, trying to carry on walking through life when all about you is dissolving and washing away. Like when your partner is not the person you thought they were, when they’re difficult and increasingly impossible and you don’t understand why, when they’re wanting a life without you, maybe with someone else. That feeling of betrayal, and a shattered life, broken dreams.
I wanted the trilogy to explore both these aspects of the same woman’s life. How might one woman cope with different issues, good and bad, and remain true to herself?
I wrote the prequel to Walking in the Rain which was the first in the trilogy, Drumbeats, about Jess as a 19 year old, escaping from a strict family to travel to Ghana to find herself. I chose that setting because I myself had a gap year in West Africa, and it was a place that I found enthralling and could still feel and describe vividly. I love the 60s so that was the time location. Some of the events were built up from those in the “real world”, some were imagined. A lot of political stuff was going on at that time in Africa: danger, war, suspicion. Jess was naïve maybe, an innocent with dreams, but by the end of the book, she had escaped, had found herself to some extent …
But what if Jess escaped, only to find tragedy?
Walking in the Rain picks up Jess’s story when she returns to England, and moves it on to marriage, family and relationships. I came across an issue about debilitating illness, mental illness, which affected a number of people I knew, and I wanted to investigate it. How might something like bipolar disorder/manic depression affect a close relationship with a partner? What if Jess had to face that, how would she cope with it and what might it do to her family? Mental health is a big issue at the moment and people often deal with the sufferer but ignore the partner and family who are so affected by it.
The last book of the trilogy, now provisionally titled Finding Jess, brings her story to a climax. It’ll hopefully be out next year. The main focal points of her life were her marriage, her children, her best friend, and her work. Two of these are lost. How can her life find its focus again without them?
So I started thinking: what if you couldn’t tell anyone about a secret that threatened to destroy your world? What if you walked in the rain with the love of your life – then suddenly you were walking in the rain with eyes blinded by tears? What if you had to find out how to live your life again?
What would you do to find yourself again?