The Next Big Thing

I’ve been tagged in the Next Big Thing by fellow author and friend Juliet Greenwood, whose wonderful novel, ‘Eden’s Garden’ was the Welsh Books Council’s Welsh Book of the Month for May 2012. She instructs me to tell you all about my next book by answering these questions and then to tag other authors about their Next Big Thing. So here I go!


What is the working title of your next book?

I have two books in the pipeline at the moment. One is Silent Trauma.










The other is Changing Patterns









This is the sequel to my first book Pattern of Shadows.


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Silent Trauma is the result of my connection with DES Action UK & USA; a charity set up a long time ago to help women (and some men) affected by the drug Stilboestrol (Diethylstilboestrol). To cut a long story short I wrote an article for the UK based Des Action, which resulted in a short story and then turned into the novel. So it’s fiction built on fact.

Two of my characters in Pattern of Shadows, Mary Howarth and Peter Schormann, begged for the story of their lives to be continued so I felt obliged to carry on. Once I’d started the rest of Mary’s family clamoured to join in so, in Changing Patterns, it’s their stories as well


What genre does your book fall under?

Hmm! Difficult for Silent Trauma. Women’s fiction?

Easier with Changing Patterns; Historical Fiction crossed with Crime Fiction, crossed with Romance. Oh dear, sounds odd written like that; perhaps not that easy to put into a box after all.


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Silent Trauma: Judy Dench as Meg, Gaynor Faye as Jackie, Natalie Portman as Rachel, Cate Blanchett as Avril (but she’d have to put a few pounds on)

Changing Patterns: Anna Friel as Mary Howarth, Daniel Day-Lewis as Peter Schormann.

I’ve compiled a list for the rest of the cast for both films


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Silent Trauma: Four women fight back –leading the way for other women.

Changing Patterns: Mary Howarth and Peter Schormann face prejudice in the aftermath of WW2, against the backdrop of a family in turmoil, but will they all pull together in the ultimate disaster that faces them.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Silent Trauma is independently published as an eBook and will be available by the end of December 2012.

Changing Patterns will be published in May 2013 by Honno; the publishers of Pattern of Shadows.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Both took a lot of research before I even started the first draft.

Silent Trauma was a long time – perhaps three years altogether. I was very conscious that the main theme is a serious fact of life; that the drug has affected the lives of many women but that it also needed to be a good fictional read as well. I hope I’ve got the balance right.

Changing Patterns – the first draft took six months. Needless to say, five drafts on, the novel is nothing like the first one. And is so much better.


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that would stand alongside Silent Trauma as a genre; it feels like a book on its own.

Changing Patterns is easier; any wartime/ nineteen fifties novel I’ve ever read; I love that era. I especially like the Bodie Thoene and Brock Thoene books – brilliant writing!


Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My contact with other Honno authors and the editors there spurred me on initially.

 Silent Trauma – I have been inspired by my contact with every woman that has been affected by the drug; either personally or through DES Action,

Changing Patterns seemed to be a natural follow on to Pattern of Shadows which was inspired by the research and discovery that the first German POW camp was in a disused cotton mill in Lancashire. I just wanted to find out what happened next to Mary and Peter.



What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Silent Trauma – then facts behind the fiction; the drug and the side effect caused, is not known by many. Through the fictional lives of the four women I hope not only to entertain the reader but to bring the truth of Stilboestrol to the forefront.

 Changing Patterns – throughout the last two years since Pattern of Shadows was published, I have given a lot of readings, talks and workshops and have been asked many times what happens to Mary and Peter. Changing Patterns tells their continuing story


I’ve enjoyed taking part in the Next Big Thing; thank you to Juliet for inviting me here. And I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about both my forthcoming novels. Here are … fabulous authors I’ve tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing..


Here are some lovely authors I’ve tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing!

Sharon Tregenza. Award winning children’s’ author

Helena Mallett: author of  Flash Fiction 75x7s=Flash Fraction


3 Responses to The Next Big Thing
  1. […] next big thing is Judith Barrow’s new book called “Silent Trauma”, a fiction built on fact […]

    • judith barrow
      March 8, 2013 | 10:32 am

      Hi Pam, It was a privilege to write this – to get to know so many brave and strong women. I am glad I managed to get the right balance. So many thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. Judith

  2. Pam Solère
    March 8, 2013 | 9:22 am

    I received “Silent Trauma” yesterday here in the south of France and read through the night. I feel something much deeper than emotion : gratitude that the fiction portrays and respects the families whose lives are shattered by DES all over the world – your characters share their stories, and as I read I felt I was sharing mine too and was “part of it”. We can’t change what happened to our lives but we can fight back and repeat “it’s not our fault”. Life is tears and laughter and also cups of coffee, scones and brandy and friendship and so much more…
    Thank you Judith.
    Pam (a DES mum)

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