It’s like having a baby… only less painful!


Julia with her new bookIt's twenty five years since I last had a baby but earlier this week I had almost the same rush of emotion when I finally held the first copy of my book eighteen months after I had the original idea for it. Like anyone else who has developed something from scratch, it really does feel like your baby. 

Until that moment I had only seen all the words on sheets of A4 paper (rather a lot of sheets actually) or as a PDF file on my computer when I was checking the proofs from my publisher, Random House, so to actually hold the finished article brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.
The first thing I did, when I had finished snivelling, was to pack one up and send it to my mum – I wish I had been there to see her face when she opened up the unexpected parcel this morning. She rang my home but unfortunately I was not there as I am in Essex signing 5000 copies of the book.

Julia signing her new bookI have never seen that many books all in one place before and I must admit it was a little daunting when I walked in, but thanks to Georgie and the team at TBS the first day went very smoothly.

Talking of 'babies', I wrote the book on my Samsung Netbook, a QVC purchase six or seven years ago, which I always refer to as 'baby' as I have a full sized laptop too. I turned 'baby' on the other day to do some writing for a different project and it simply wouldn't work – probably on strike! It has now gone to the computer 'hospital' to hopefully be nursed back to life!
There is not long to wait now until the book 'One Hundred Lengths of the Pool' is available on QVC but over the next few weeks I'll be giving you little tasters of it. I thought I would start with an excerpt from Chapter Five, which is about my QVC audition:


Julia on her first day at QVC   'You're probably not going to be interested in this,' said Jo, my agent's second-in-command, 'but you've been asked to go for an audition for a new shopping channel tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.'
   'Isn't it rather short notice?' I asked. It was 5.30 p.m. and Jo would normally have left for the day.
   'Well, apparently someone has dropped out and you were on the reserve list after we sent them your showreel last week.'
   'I'm not sure. What will I have to do?'
   'You need to choose an object and sell it to them for approximately ten minutes. I know it isn't exactly what you're looking for, but it would be good experience and might get you noticed.'
   'OK then, if you think it would be a good stepping stone. What's the address?'
And that was it. Out of the blue, I was a last-minute replacement to fill up the audition list. 

If you want to read about the actual audition, it's all in the book. As I said, I'll be revealing an extract each week until it goes on air so keep popping back to read more – I do hope you enjoy reading it! And what's more, each week I will also be giving away a personally signed copy of my book! This is how you enter this week:

Simply answer the following question: What year did I start at QVC?

To enter, email your answer with your full name and address to before next Thursday (14th). We won't be able to publish any answers that get posted here or they will give the answer away! I will reveal the winner next Friday in my blog and the winning prizes will all be sent out at the beginning of March when the stock is delivered to our warehouse. Good luck!

Read the full terms and conditions here


  1. tracy mawby February 8, 2013 at 11:24 am -  Reply

    hiya julie..when can we purchase your book are amazing and look fab xx

  2. Alana February 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    I’ve entered the competition! Fingers crossed I’ll win! If not I’ll definately be buying one. the extract sounded great, can’t wait to read the whole book.

  3. Lorraine McGill February 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia just entered your competition. If I am not a lucky winner when can I buy your book, I think it will be a great read.
    Take care and congratulations on your book X

  4. Joy padley February 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia
    You must be so proud to see your book finally in print. It looks a thumping good read! I too have entered the competition but I’m one of those who never seem to be lucky.
    Anyway will buy it if not and I hope that as you will have writers cramp after all that signing that the Q will be selling a signed copy?
    BTW our Pilates group are starting a book club so perhaps we can pick your book especially Chapter 100.
    Do you think you will write another one some stage?
    Looking forward to taster number 2.
    Joy xx

  5. Carole cooper February 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia just entered comp hope I win, but will buy book anyway Carole Wigan x

  6. Steven February 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm -  Reply

    Julia that is amazing congratulations. I bet you are well chiffed and rightly so. Love the cover of the book too xx

  7. eng winter February 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm -  Reply

    Hope I win as I want a signed copy.

  8. Evelyn Soanes February 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, How pleased you must be to have it finished and going out to all your friends. Seventeen years ago last month I lost my husband and it was QVC with you and your other presentors that got me through those first months even through the nights. So I would be so pleased to get your book. I think it must be the end partof 1993,about October, As you were the first presentor

  9. Kathryn Sheehan February 9, 2013 at 9:47 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Just wanted to wish you Good Luck for your Book, before we go to The Gambia in a couple of weeks time.
    I’m sure with all the QVC customers there are 5000 won’t last long on the Hope your mum enjoyed reading it, will bring back lots of memories for her i’m sure.
    Just realised i havn’t changed my surname yet.!!!
    Speak soon.
    Kathy x

  10. Susanne Howard February 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Just entered your comp, Can’t wait to read your book even if i don’t win. Any chance of you coming down to the west country (Yeovil) for the signing of any copies.
    Love Sue H

  11. marie mugford February 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm -  Reply

    HiJulia Can’t wait to read your book. But you hardly ever seem to be on air anymore QVC is just not the same without you. I know you have a life outside but you seem to be on a lot less.
    Hope you’re not leaving I think QVC’s success is very dependent on good presenters and not just the products.
    Hope to see you on air soon

  12. Mrs Jean Pugh February 10, 2013 at 9:13 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Wow you must feel proud at the completion of your book, that is a lot of time and work gone into that.
    I expect your Mum was proud to receive a copy, I am going to hopefully buy one when they come available on QVC. It sounds as if it is going to be very interesting.
    5000 copies to sign, that is a lot, but as you are signing you can think to yourself, that is all my own work there.
    Will be watching out for the book.
    Love Jean X

  13. Sue Wright February 10, 2013 at 11:38 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Really looking forward to your book particularly your references to Nottm and your dancing days! I don’t have any luck in competitions so I will wait until it goes on air in March to buy it. I hope I get one of the signed copies before it sells out!
    My daughter’s dance school are taking part in their second festival this weekend so we are hoping for some medals again! Back to decorating props and costumes !
    Take care and congratulations on finishing your ‘baby’

  14. Annette Roberts February 10, 2013 at 11:42 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    One word…stunning!!! I may have chosen the purple dress in your picture poll on here, but soooo glad you picked that one, because your eyes are drawn to the bright colour, whereas the purple wouldn’t have that effect.
    At least you’re not wearing wrist braces this morning whilst doing L’Occitane, missed the beginning of the show though and thought you were off all week…are you standing in for somebody?
    Chris came home on Friday with ‘Man Flu’ and although I’ve benn anti-bacing like mad, I have a sore throat this morning, so gargling with AB Tea Tree oil in water, hoping it will kill those pesky bugs!
    Great pictures!
    Annette x
    Like the other ladies and no doubt gents, I have entered your competition, fingers X

  15. Doe Brown February 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, many congratulations of the publication of your book,well done, I am sure all those hours working away at it and now you have your baby there in print. What a thrill that must have been seeing all your! books in front of you, Wow!. I have entered your competition, fingers crossed!. but will buy it anyway, I am sure it will be a great read. Well done Julia, lots of love to you, Doe XX

  16. Marian Bolton February 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Just entered the competition so fingers crossed but, if not, I’ll be buying your book anyway! You must be so proud, what an achievement. Very best of luck with the sales. Your hand must have been aching after signing all those copies!

  17. Kay Salisbury February 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm -  Reply

    Congrats Julia-can’t wait to get a copy A.S.A.P-i will be on Q cut the minute the item number (and price?)come on the screen. Will there be a follow up to the book? Surely you can muster up some more experiences for us???? Have you no longer got your house in Spain? Or are you buying a new mansion next time? Good luck. Love Kay.XXX

  18. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:05 am -  Reply

    Hi Tracy
    Thanks for your kind compliments. I am just waiting to hear from the buying team when it will be available on advanced order – should be very soon – for despatch early March.
    Hope you enjoy it
    Julia x

  19. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:07 am -  Reply

    Hi Alana
    Good luck in the competition – it ends at midnight tonight and we will be announcing this week’s winner and launching the new competition at midnight Thursday on my new blog, with another extract from the book.
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  20. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:11 am -  Reply

    Hi Lorraine
    Thanks for the congratulations – it has been a labour of love but I am very happy with the result.
    Good luck in the competition, one each week until launch, and also one coming on twitter.
    The books will be sent out very early March
    Julia x

  21. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:16 am -  Reply

    Hello Joy
    I hope your luck changes – much better odds than the lottery!
    How fab would that be to be the read for a book club …… there may be an extract from chapter 100 coming soon (tease tease).
    I will definitely write another book. I am starting to do the ground work on a novel at the moment but,depending on the success of this one I could write “One Hundred Lengths of a Different Pool” maybe??
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  22. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:24 am -  Reply

    Hi Carole
    Good luck in the competition – you can enter each week, so four books in total plus a competition on twitter. First winner will be announced on my next blog
    Julia x

  23. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:27 am -  Reply

    Hi Steven
    Thanks I am well chuffed! Glad you like the front cover, photo taken by Kathy Tayler’s husband, I think you may like the back cover too, photo taken by my Chris!
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  24. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:29 am -  Reply

    Hello Eng
    Good luck in the competition – three more chances if you don’t win this week. The first 5000 copies are all signed but the competitions are to win signed books personalised to you
    Julia x

  25. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:32 am -  Reply

    Hi Evelyn
    I’m so pleased we were there for you when you needed company in the dark months after losing your husband. We lost my dad over five years ago but my mum still ‘talks’ to him every day.
    Good luck in the competition and so pleased to know that you still watch after all these years
    Julia x

  26. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:35 am -  Reply

    Hi Kathy
    Hope you and your hubbie have a lovely time in The Gambia – do you have to get a new passport when you get married?
    I genuinely have no idea how many people will be interested in my book …. It really is a ‘suck it and see’.
    Julia x

  27. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:39 am -  Reply

    Hi Suzanne
    That would be fun doing book signings around the country but it’s the venues that would be a problem as it is not going into book shops at the moment ….. Maybe everyone could come to your house? Lol!
    Hope you will enjoy it, and if you don’t win this week, keep entering each week
    Julia x

  28. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 9:45 am -  Reply

    Hi Marie
    A lot of people have mentioned that I have been on air less lately. It is true that I am doing one day less a month but I am still working full time, four days a week. We have more Presenters now so we all tend to only do two hours on air per shift and occasionally three.
    I have no plans to leave QVC unless they decide to put me out to pasture! I’m on air for Butler & Wilson Thursday evening at 9pm for a 2 hour show, then on all weekend.
    Hope you will like the book
    Julia x

  29. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm -  Reply

    Hello Jean
    You are right it was a lot of hard work but I am thrilled with the final book. It seems a little weird now that I can’t make any alterations ….. Too late, it’s in print.
    Mum was very proud, I just wish my dad could have been around to see it but hopefully ‘he knows’.
    Thanks for your words of support over the months and I hope you will enjoy it.
    Julia x

  30. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Sue
    There are quite a few references to Nottm, particularly both the dancing schools I attended, Sissie Smith & Nora Morrison. I also mention Goose Fair and trolley buses (do you remember those?)
    Hope your daughter’s dance school do well at the weekend.
    Do enter the competition, you never know ‘it could be you’!
    Julia x

  31. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    I must confess I was really pleased the coral won …… Here’s the funny thing, I must have had about 80 or so shots taken at the photo session and the picture on the book cover was the first of the lot!
    Yes I was covering for illness on Sunday morning – there has been a lot of sickness amongst the Presenters recently, various different things. I am starting with a bit of a tickly cough, so am hoping that won’t develop into anything. How are you? Did you succumb to Chris’s man flu?
    Good luck in the comp – a new one starts Thursday midnight
    Julia x

  32. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm -  Reply

    Hello Doe
    You are right I spent many many hours writing, probably thousands, so I hope everyone who buys the book will think it was worth it. It was actually quite a cathartic experience particularly when writing about the not-so-happy memories.
    Good luck in the competition – I should imagine the odds are quite favourable!
    Julia x

  33. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Marian
    Funnily enough my hand wasn’t too bad but my shoulder ached a bit even though I had plenty of breaks.
    New competition starts Thursday midnight if you don’t win this week
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  34. Julia roberts February 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm -  Reply

    Hello Kay
    Thank you so much for your enthusiasm. It’s a bit frustrating for me as I have the item number but I’m not allowed to tell anyone until it’s available to purchase on advanced order …. won’t be long now I promise, and I think you’ll be happy with the price ………. in fact you could say ‘The Price is Right’!
    I would love to do a follow up book but I guess we will have to wait and see if this one is popular.
    I sold my house in Spain last summer and as yet undecided whether to buy there again.
    Hope you will find it a good read
    Julia x

  35. Irene Pritchard March 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, believe it or not I stumbled on your blog by accident when I was trying to contact some former dancers…..there we were photographed in our cancan costumes on board the Doric!
    All my love and best wishes.Irene.

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