Q&A and Book Giveaway With Julia Romp

julia_rompTell us a little about yourself?
My name is Julia Romp. I work at Twickenham Academy School, and I also work as a volunteer for a local animal charity, The GuardianAngels, transporting sick animals. I’m 39 years old. I’m a single parent to my son George. We have three stray cats living with us called Bibby, Henry and Kitty. My favourite things are gardening, spending time with friends and family, walks in Richmond Park and the theatre. I just recently watched We Will Rock You in London – the best show ever!

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t really ever plan to write a book. It was all based on a diary I kept after realizing my son wasn’t born normal I knew one day he would want to know all about his life and I worried, being a single parent if anything happened to me, who would be there to tell him? So I kept a day to day diary and as the months went on, I was so glad I had.

How did you come up with this book and title?
I came up with the British book title A Friend like Ben as the story is about our cat Ben, but it’s also a story about friendship and the best friend you could have. It’s the true story of our life so far. Ben was all the friend George had in his life, as he didn’t know how to relate to the outside world. The book was also always called The Cat Who Came Home for Christmas, as the joy of Ben coming home is the happy ending we hoped for.

What was your inspiration for this book?
My inspiration? My inspiration was wanting George to remember his life, hoping one day he would remember the good and the bad days we had together. In the back of my mind, I always worried if anything happened to me would he ever remember our journey together? Would he forever remember the bad and forget all the happy times we’ve had too?

What are you working on next?
I’m continuing to keep a diary about George’s life and hope one day to finish the story, part two of A Friend Like Ben. I feel I have more to say already about George’s journey growing up. I’m asked most days if there will ever be part two of A Friend Like Ben, and I really hope one day that will be possible.

What book are you reading now?
When Children Grieve, by John W James & Russell Friedman, authors of the grief recovery handbook. A great friend from Canada who I met through my book bought this for me as a gift to help me be able to help George with the grieving process in the future.

Do you have a favorite deadline food?
Deadline food, has to be cheese, pickles and salmon (not at the same time!).

Do you have any techniques you use when you get stuck in the writing process?
Techniques on a deadline? I just focus as hard as I can, thinking about my son George and how I need to be ready for him when he comes home from school.

Here’s something fun:
Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla
Cheerios or Frosted Flakes? Frosted Flakes
Yogurt or Ice Cream? Ice Cream
Kindle, Nook or iPad? iPad
Crime Dramas or Reality TV? Reality
Vacation or Staycation? Vacation

Cat Came HomeThe heart-warming true story of a little boy and the cat that changed his life.

Julia’s nine-year-old son George was autistic. Quiet and withdrawn, he appeared lost in his own world. Then one day a small black-and-white stray cat appeared in her garden and George’s face lit up.

George bonded with Ben and began to open up to his mother as well. For three happy years, the trio was inseparable and George made remarkable progress. But then disaster struck—Ben went missing and George regressed.

The weeks turned into months, and Christmas was fast approaching, but on December 21, Julia got a call from a family more than fifty miles away, which finally offered a ray of hope . . .

Genuinely touching, The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas is a story about devotion, love, and a holiday miracle.

** Thanks to Penguin, I have two (2) copies of THE CAT WHO CAME BACK FOR CHRISTMAS to give away. Contest open to US residents only and ends December 22. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

12 responses to “Q&A and Book Giveaway With Julia Romp

  1. What a wonderful behind the book story. Dee

  2. Sounds like a wonderful story…looking forward to reading it. I love your Something Fun choices and agree with all of them except I would choose Crime Dramas over Reality TV. kuzlin(at)aol(dot)com

  3. What a wonderful way to spend Christmas, with someone you love!


  4. I’d love to win this!!!

  5. I always love reading stories about cats! This sounds good! Thank you for the giveaway!

  6. I would love to win this book as a gift for my #1 son in law. We met him one summer when we were on vacation at a Kosher Dude Ranch in upstate NY. He, then 18 was the helper and caretaker for an autistic teenage boy. He is now married to my older daughter (who is 5 yrs younger then he is) and works with the severely handicapped at a school here in Brooklyn.


  7. I’m always happily surprised at how animals can make such a wonderful difference in a person(s) life!

  8. This sounds like a wonderful book. I would love to win this. Animals have a spcecial place my heart and my dog make a world of difference to mine.


  9. What a great story. Who wouldn’t enjoy this. Thanks for the timely giveaway. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  10. This post makes me want to cry!!! My brother is grown and is severely autistic. When my mother died, the choice was group home or for me to quit my job and take care of him. He gets up in the middle of the night and sometimes tries to cook something like in Rainman. I couldn’t afford to quit my job so he had to go to the group home. But when I flew to my mother’s house on the next flight, they had already put him in the group home. They placed the cat (tuxedo just like the on the book and her son’s cat in another person’s home. He was so attached to the cat. They wouldn’t even let him and me say good-bye to her. They said someone might be allergic to cats!!!
    They told me that they had to pry his hand open to release Happy Day. So when he went trhough grief therapy, he had to grieve for my mother and Happy Day at the same time.

    I am so glad about the ending to this story and would love to read it myself.
    I find it amazing that that this boy bonded to a cat that is also a tuxedo cat! !!

  11. I am dying to win this one! I took it out of the library and started it, but my mom got sick and as it was a new book I couldn’t renew it. I loved what I had read so far. I have three autistic nephews and we are a huge cat loving family, so this book speaks to me on a very personal level.

    Thank you for interviewing the author and bringing attention to this wonderful book. It seems even more important now after the tragic events in CT and all the misinformation surrounding autism as a result.

    Thank you for the chance to win my own copy. Merry Christmas to all!

  12. contest is closed.