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About Julie

Julie Parsons was born in New Zealand in 1951 to Irish parents.  Andy and Elizabeth Parsons had emigrated from Ireland in 1947. Andy was a doctor, who had served in the British Army during the 2nd World War and had received the Military Cross for bravery. Elizabeth had been an officer in the WRNS, the Women’s Royal Naval Service. They had returned to Ireland after the war, but life was difficult  and the winter of 1947, the worst in living memory, convinced them, like many others, to seek a better life in the Antipodes.
In 1955, Andy, who was working in the New Zealand government hospital in the Pacific island of Samoa, went on a medical mission to the remote Tokelau Islands. However the Joyita, the boat on which he and 25 others were travelling, disappeared. Six weeks later the boat was found, but all the passengers were missing. There was never any explanation for their disappearance. His body was never found. The loss of her father is a mystery which has stayed with Julie all her life.
In 1963 Elizabeth decided to return to her home in Ireland. Julie was then aged 12. The family, Elizabeth, Julie, her older sister Gay, her older brother Simon and younger brother Rory, travelled back to Ireland by boat, the usual mode of transport in the 1960s. The voyage, on the Italian ship MV Fairsea took six weeks. They arrived in Dun Laoghaire on a cold, bleak April morning. Ireland was a shock to these Kiwi kids. It was like travelling back in time, Julie remembers. New Zealand was open, secular and egalitarian, a world in Technicolour.  The school holidays were spent on the beach and in the warm waters of Auckland Harbour. Bathing suits and bare feet were the norm. Ireland in comparison was narrow-minded and conservative. Religion dominated everyday life.  Dublin was etched in black and white. Horse drawn carts still clip clopped on cobbled streets and the city was drab, dull and filled with poverty.



Julie settled into her new life. She went to the protestant Hall School in Monkstown, Co Dublin. After school she bucked the trend and went to University College, Dublin, the Catholic University. She worked as a radio producer, then television producer for RTE (Irish national television station). But she had always wanted to be a writer and in 1996 she wrote her first novel, a thriller, 'Mary, Mary'. Published in 1998 'Mary, Mary' was an instant critical and commercial success. It was translated into 17 languages and published in America. This success enabled Julie to become a full time writer. She  followed 'Mary, Mary' with 'The Courtship Gift', 'Eager To Please', 'The Guilty Heart', 'The Hourglass', and 'I Saw You'. All were hugely successful.

Asked why she writes thriller and mysteries Julie always says that it is because there is such a big mystery about the disappearance of her father. “I can’t solve the mystery of what happened to my father but I can, in my creative life, tell stories which have a mystery at their heart, and I can solve that mystery every time.”

Julie lives in Dun Laoghaire. Co Dublin, within sight of the sea. The sea, with all its power, beauty and mystery, is hugely important to her.

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