The Writing Life of: Julie Shackman
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Julie Shackman.
I trained as a journalist, but writing romance has always been a dream of mine.
When I’ve not got my head in a book or drafting one, I write verses and captions for greetings card companies. Writing at home seems to be incredibly difficult for me – I usually require tea, music and noise!
My second romcom, ‘Hero or Zero’ is out now.
‘Rock My World’, was my début romcom and I’ve almost finished writing my third romcom, which features a well-known historical figure…!
Apart from pretty stationery, I’m fanatical about reading and handbags.
I’m married, have two sons and live in Scotland.
1) Do you remember the moment you decided that you would like to become a writer?
I’d always loved creative writing and books from a young age, but I remember reading "Princess Daisy" by Judith Krantz at the age of 13 and thinking “Wow! I would love to do this for a living!”
2) How did you go about following your dream?
I trained as a journalist, but it was always romantic comedies that I wanted to write. I had two childrens’ picture books published in the late 1990s but once our two sons got a bit older, I decided to try and write my first romcom, "Rock My World".
3) Is there a particular author that inspires you?
There are many authors who inspire me, but my favourites are Jenny Colgan; Wendy Holden and Sophie Kinsella – their characters and stories are so unique and I laugh out loud a lot at their terrific writing!
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any strange writing habits?
I really don’t have an average writing day, although I do try to!
Usually, once the boys have gone to school, I’ll gather up my writing things and head to a local coffee shop for a couple of hours. If I try to write at home, it isn’t usually very successful as I get easily distracted! Once I’ve got several pages written in long-hand in my notebook, I’ll head home and type it up on the PC. I’ll try to do as much as I can before the boys get home from school – in between looking at Twitter, which I’m a bit of an addict of!
I also write captions and verses for several greetings card companies, so if I have a deadline for a brief, I’ll concentrate on getting those polished off and sent.
5) Do you write Longhand, Type writer, Computer?
6) From all your books, do you have a favourite character?
I feel an affinity with all my characters but Matt Jardine, my sexy journalist from my debut romcom "Rock My World" did steal my heart, I must be honest! He’s a real alpha male; a bit full of himself but warm-hearted underneath all the bravado.
7) Do you plot your books completely before hand or do you let your imagination flow whilst in the writing process?
I tend to plot out more details around characters and setting more than anything else. Then I just tend to run with it and see where my characters take me.
Concerning your latest book:
Author – Julie Shackman
Publisher – Not So Noble Books
Release Date – 27th September 2014
When single mum Chloe Jones wins a magazine competition to have TV heartthrob Ethan Blake live with her for a month, she thinks her dreams have come true. And the presence of the handsome star in her home and small Scottish town certainly causes a stir.
But when Chloe begins to see his true colours, will she find the courage to face him, and admit where her heart truly lies?
8) How long did it take to get from the ideas stage, to the date of publication?
I would say approx eight or nine months. I kept tweaking it and revising it.
9) Did you suffer from writer’s block at any stage? How did you overcome it?
I think most writers do at some time or another. If I feel I’m struggling with my writing, I usually go and read a book; play some of my favourite music to inspire me or I’ll go for a walk.
I’m a bit of a fresh air fanatic!
10) How did you come up with the name(s)for your lead character(s)?
For "Hero or Zero", Chloe Jones just popped into my head, as did Sean Jeffries name. With Ethan Blake, I wanted something that sounded a bit more “fancy” and after reading some celeb magazines, I plucked the two names from there.
11) If your book was made in to a film, who would you love to play the lead character(s)?
I would love somebody bubbly and a bit ditsy like Scottish actress Ashley Jensen to play Chloe. As for Sean, it would have to be Michael Fassbender with that killer smile of his and Ethan Blake is loosely based on the lovely Richard Armitage – although I’m sure Mr Armitage is a hell of a lot nicer in nature than Ethan!
12) Did you get anyone in particular to read your work before sending it to the publisher i.e family member, friend etc?
No, I didn’t. I just wanted to finish it; edit it and then send it to my publisher.
Ruby Cameron, an ambitious reporter for her local paper, lives with a man whose idea of living dangerously is to leave the heating on when he goes to the shops. But when her squeaky-clean boyfriend betrays her and she moves out to a new life, she finds her new house is haunted by the ghost of a cheeky rock star who becomes her best friend.
Will this mysterious presence help Ruby find real love?