Former Wigan social services employee publishes debut novel

Author Julie Conrad has published her debut novel High PlacesAuthor Julie Conrad has published her debut novel High Places
Author Julie Conrad has published her debut novel High Places
The book plunges readers into the murky world of political scandal.

Julie Conrad’s first book High Places takes the reader on a thrilling journey into the corridors of power and the dangerous place where serving the country and affairs of the heart clash.

Julie, who worked in Wigan between 1990 and 2002 as a social worker and then a regulatory inspector, has penned the tale of a senior politician carrying on an affair with a much younger woman.

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Julie started writing High Places in 1990 but then put the unfinished manuscript in a box and did not get chance to look it again for years.

However, lockdown last year gave her the opportunity to have a second look at the book and get it finished and out to readers.

Julie, who now lives in Altrincham, said: “I started High Places in 1990 but then it got put in a box and I forgot about it. With working full-time and just how life was I didn’t have the time or inclination to do it.

“When lockdown started I really thought I must get the book finished. It needed a lot doing to it but I’m absolutely delighted with it.

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“It’s about a Conservative MP who’s having an affair with a 20-year-old secretary.

“Things start to disintegrate between the two of them because he’s married and wants out and she won’t let him, but they don’t realise they are actually pawns to another, elusive woman.”

Julie was inspired to put pen to paper by a string of high-profile political scandals involving MPs and affairs which happened in the late 1980s.

She was therefore pretty astonished to find herself beginning to promote the book some three decades later just as Matt Hancock was being forced to resign from his job as health secretary after being caught on CCTV having an affair with an aide.

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She said: “It’s strange that should happen in parallel to this book coming out.

“It was something that intrigued me at the time. I was thinking about how politicians have these careers and then their egos get built up so much that they think they are above and beyond everything, and then their worlds come crashing down.”

Julie says she has had really good feedback on High Places and has well and truly been bitten by the writing bug.

She is currently working on two follow-up projects, the first a novella called Demons about an actor which she hopes will be out this autumn and a much larger-scale work which may be divided into two volumes following a character’s life.

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She said: “All my books are psychological thrillers and they are all about people who make poorly-judged decisions and could have dealt with things better.

“They never seem to learn from this and carry on using the same coping strategies and wondering why they are getting the same results.

“I’m really enjoying what I’m doing at the moment with writing. It’s like a new career for me now.”

Julie has self-published High Places and believes the internet has made it so anyone who has a good story in them can achieve their ambition of getting their book out to readers.

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She said: “I really think people should just do it if they’ve written something.

“There are so many great stories that never get heard.

“Amazon allows people to self-publish and the good stuff will come to the top. It’s very liberating.”

High Places, by Julie Conrad, is out now. The novel is available from Amazon, Apple, and online at all bookstores.

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