About Julian

Julian Smart Snapshot

I live with my wife Harriet and cat Alfie in a 17th century house in Berwick-upon-Tweed, the most northerly town in England.

The historic buildings and beautiful landscapes around Berwick have inspired my writing, in particular 'The Thomas Rufford Mysteries'. This is a series set in nineteenth-century Hawksbridge, a fictional town in the north east of England, featuring amateur detective Thomas Rufford and his friends. These books take me – and I hope my readers – to a time when etiquette and restraint made social interactions more civilised, but also heightened the drama of broken taboos. In a world that advances at an ever more alarming pace, fiction can remind us of simpler and in some ways gentler times – despite the high crime rate in the charming but troubled town of Hawksbridge!

I relax with antique hunting, grooming the cat, and listening to music, especially early 20th century composers such as Kurt Atterberg, and modern composers such as the excellent Oliver Davis. I also love the mostly historical songs of Al Stewart, which always have an interesting story to tell.

You can follow me on Instagram: @hawksbridge.


I was born in Nottingham, England, and studied Computer Science at the University of St Andrews, where I met my wife. I have a doctorate from the University of Dundee. I have worked for the University of Edinburgh, the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute, the Scottish Crop Research Institute, and Red Hat UK. For a few weeks, I worked at Acorn Computers in Cambridge, where they were working on a top-secret project: the now-ubiquitous ARM chip.

In 1992, I started the wxWidgets open-source GUI toolkit project which is used by many organisations and individuals worldwide. Audacity is a well-known application that uses wxWidgets, and I use it for my own projects.

In 1996, I left AIAI to do consultancy work, and in the early 2000s I started to write and sell software for other software developers and writers. I am Technical Director of Anthemion Software Ltd.

In 2010 I released the first version of the e-book editing software Jutoh. Harriet and I use Jutoh to write and publish all our books, and many independent authors and small publishers have found it indispensable.

In 2021 I collaborated with Harriet to write 'Emma Vernon’s Northminster Ghost Stories', a spin-off from Harriet’s 'Northminster Mysteries' which I have edited since 2010. Having enjoyed that, I started on the Thomas Rufford Mysteries, the first three volumes of which were published in 2022.