Ruth Fowler: Despite a career in banking – I was a freelance IT consultant – I have never been very good at managing my own money.
My first business partner, Mick, was slightly more prudent than me, and persuaded us that we should take out life assurance. Sadly this proved very prescient as, when he unexpectedly died a year later, it provided the deposit for my first property purchase. My subsequent business partner, Graham, now my husband, was also more prudent, and introduced me to Keith, a long-standing friend and financial advisor. Keith looked after us for many years, until he retired having ended his career at Polestar.
By the time Ian Russell took over from Keith as our IFA, we had paid off our mortgage and over the years he has helped guide investments, more recently confirming that I could in fact afford to retire.
Our son, Tommo, had a slightly different take on financial advice, with his initially being supplied by the Bank of Mum and Dad. However, when he and his partner Holly decided to buy their first home together, I promptly contacted Ian! Tommo and Holly weren’t the most likely candidates for a mortgage: one a theatre maker, and the other a freelance journalist. Unfazed, Ian introduced them to a broker who found them a mortgage.
Holly is now a novelist with her first book, What Time Is Love?, having just been published to excellent reviews. I am sure that, if the book is as popular as the early indications, Ian will soon have another client…
Holly Williams: When the world locked down in 2020, I was staying with Ruth and Graham – who kindly put Tommo and I up as things began to look worrying.
It was, of course, a very difficult time, but 2020 also proved to be a transformative year for me – not least because I finished writing my first novel.
What Time is Love? imagines what would happen if one couple met at three points in the 20th century: 1947, 1967, and 1987. Each time they meet, Violet and Albert are always 20, but the world around them changes hugely, and they must reckon with differences between in them in gender, class, opportunity and ambition.
I loved spending time with these characters, and working on the novel during lockdown was something of a blessing: a welcome distraction, and a safe imaginary world to disappear into, when the future seemed uncertain.
One of the other uncertainties of that time was attempting to buy a house, navigating a frenzied market and insecurity as freelancers. We were lucky to receive sound advice, on Ian’s recommendation. So somehow, I had become both a homeowner and an author within a few weeks. And to see the novel now, in print and in bookshops, is a thrill I don’t think I will ever tire of. Who knows, if it is successful I too may be seeking investment advice!
Soon after Ruth letting me know about Holly’s launch of “What Time is Love” I bought and read it. I found it a charming and easy read that led me through the times of youth for my grandparents, to my parents and finally for myself, brilliant and compelling in its lightness. I would strongly recommend it.
What Time is Love? by Holly Williams is published by Orion and available now from all good booksellers or buy online at Waterstones.
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