From fan mail to fiction: the letters from famous authors that made me a writer
As a schoolgirl Julie Myerson wrote to the likes of Daphne du Maurier and John Betjeman. Here, she reveals how their generous replies shaped the person she became
On Wednesday 24 September 1975, I was at home in Nottingham, off school with a “tummy upset”. “Had a bowl of cornflakes this morning,” I wrote in my Nationwide Building Society diary, “and 10 minutes later they were in the washbowl upstairs!! It’s Lucozade and arrowroot for me today!” Never one to stint on the exclamation marks, I might even have helped myself to a few more had I known that, many miles away in her imposing grey slate house in Cornwall, my literary idol was at that very moment sitting down to pen me a postcard. Yes, really!!!!
“Dear Julie, How nice of you to write to me and I am so glad you enjoy my books. This is my home and appears in my novel The House on the Strand, which I think you would enjoy as much as the others. Good luck to the ‘O’ level exam in November and to the ‘A’ levels which will follow later. I’ve temporarily deserted writing novels for historical biography and it’s hard work! Yours sincerely, Daphne du Maurier.”