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Cambridgeshire author’s novel Finding Ruby proves to be a gem

Linton-based school teacher Jemima Price has enjoyed the reaction to having her first novel published.

Cambridgeshire author Jemima Price. Picture: Tony Ellis
Cambridgeshire author Jemima Price. Picture: Tony Ellis

Titled Finding Ruby and published by Austin Macauley, the book tells the story of Ruby Jones, a young woman who would rather have a designer handbag than a backpack – someone who doesn’t ‘do’ backpacking.

But that is exactly what she finds herself doing when her boyfriend buys her a round-the-world trip for her birthday.

Ruby ends up continuing her journey alone, but will she be able to finish it by herself ? Will she be able to overcome a catastrophe unlike anything she’s ever experienced before?

Jemima, 44, says she first thought of the idea for the story a number of years ago. “We – my husband and I – went travelling in our late 20s,” she recalls. “I was writing travel blogs as we went round and formulating this idea that I might write something from it.

“We were travelling around the time of the tsunami and so I incorporated that as one of the key ideas and then based the storyline around key events that happened to us as we travelled.”

Jemima continues: “I started writing it while I was still travelling – I think we were in Australia. I wrote a massive chunk of it and then left it for quite a few years. I then went back to it and probably finished it off about two years ago, so it’s been a work in progress.”

Cambridgeshire author Jemima Price. Picture: Tony Ellis
Cambridgeshire author Jemima Price. Picture: Tony Ellis

Did Jemima, who found she had a bit more time to write during the first lockdown, base the character of Ruby Jones on herself ?

“Partly,” she says. “I’m not as neurotic as she is at the beginning of the novel, I like to think, but she becomes more like me as she goes along. A lot of the experiences that she has happened to us and a lot of the changes she undergoes, I would say that probably we underwent as well...

“But I didn’t go with my partner and then break up with him halfway round – I’m married to my partner now so that’s different.”

Jemima, an English teacher, has started work on her next novel – she’s about “70,000 words in” – and says she’s always enjoyed writing. “I did creative writing as part of my degree,” she says, “and I’ve always got two or three novels on the go – I’m not really a short story person. It’s just something that I really enjoy doing.

“Teaching and having children put a bit of a halt on it for quite a few years, because it’s just having that time. But it’s like anything, you’ve just got to make that time, haven’t you?”

Jemima’s new novel is not related to Finding Ruby, but she says she may bring the character back in the future. “I have had quite a few requests for a sequel,” she reveals, “so I might return to that because actually Finding Ruby is only about part of our journey.

Cambridgeshire author Jemima Price. Picture: Tony Ellis
Cambridgeshire author Jemima Price. Picture: Tony Ellis

“It was based around part of our South-East Asia leg and actually we travelled for about four years. We had a year in Australia, about three months in New Zealand, a year in Africa and some time in the Caribbean as well.

“So there are so many different journeys I suppose I could take her character on – or one of the other characters in the novel.”

Jemima says that the reaction to the novel since it was published last year has been “really supportive,” adding: “I live in a small village and the school that I teach in is in the village, so I was quite nervous about the reaction in the community, and actually the support locally has been phenomenal.”

Finding Ruby is published by Austin Macauley Publishers.

For more on Jemima, visit jemimapriceauthor.mypixieset.com. Her Facebook and Instagram handle is @jemimapriceauthor.

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