Julia Jones's introduction to books came as a child. Her parents bought author Arthur Ransome's yacht Peter Duck when Julia was not quite three years old. Julia soon discovered that her berth on board Peter Duck was the snuggest place in the world for reading - and writing and dreaming as well. It wasn't until many years later when she and her partner, Francis Wheen, had bought Peter Duck for themselves that she discovered that her special reading place had originally been designed for Ransome to store his typewriter.
Julia ran a bookshop in the Essex village of Ingatestone when her children were young and began publishing local titles in a larger-than-usual print to suit her older customers. She worked closely with Age Concern Essex to compile anthologies of material from their annual essay competitions. Out of this activity came When I was a Child, Yesterday's Heroes, The Last All-Clear and In Those Days She called her publishing company Sarsen Publishing with reference to the sarsen stone in Ingatestone High Street.
Sarsen's biggest seller was detective novelist Margery Allingham's wartime testimony The Oaken Heart. Julia soon became close friends with Margery's sister Joyce and went on to write Margery Allingham's biography, first published in 1991 by Heinemann and re-published in 2009 as The Adventures of Margery Allingham. She has also edited Philip Allingham's autobiography Cheapjack (2010) and produced a new, illustrated edition of the Oaken Heart (2011) which includes extensive local material.
2011 also saw the publication of The Salt-Stained Book and A Ravelled Flag, the first two volumes of the Strong Winds trilogy - described as "21st century Swallows and Amazons". The concluding volume, Ghosting Home, was published in the summer of 2012. Two later volumes, The Lion of Sole Bay(2014) and Black Waters (2015) extend the Strong Winds trilogy into a series. Pebble (2018) is volume 6.
Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory (2012) is Julia's non-fiction account of the working life of Herbert Allingham, Margery Allingham's father. It has been described as "an important contribution to book history" and springs from Julia's PhD research for her 2006 thesis Family Fictions.
Julia is a member of the Authors Electric collective and edited their 2012 anthology Sparks. She has contributed to several other Authors Electric publications.
In 2016 Julia published Beloved Old Age - and What To Do About it. This comprises the first publication of Margery Allingham's The Relay with Julia's own reflections on caring for her mother in old age. A lucky find in her attic saw Julia editing and publishing her 21 year old father's reflections on 1939 in the nautical title "The Cruise of Naromis" (2017) -- described as a "minor classic". Julia is literary correspondent for Yachting Monthly magazine.
Since December 2014 Julia has been running John's Campaign for the carers of people with dementia with fellow author Nicci Gerrard. This influence of this can be seen in books like NOT Forgotten Lives, Please Tell Me and Please Tell Me More -- as well as Beloved Old Age. Her heart remains in the Strong Winds titles and she hopes it wont be quite so long before vol 7 is complete...