Tell 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
The 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.