The Writing Life of: Julie Ryan
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Julie Ryan. Julie will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Finding Rose‘, which was released on 22nd October 2018 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances; thrillers set in the Greek Isles. She has also written a Christmas rom-com and her latest work, Finding Rose, is a contemporary novel with a strong historical element.
A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and rescue cat. She manages to write a book a year although without their help, she would probably write more quickly. She is a book addict and will soon need either a bigger house for her collection or a new husband!
When not writing or reading or eating chocolate, she can be found treading the boards in the local amateur dramatic society – Oh yes she can!
1) As a child did you have a dream job in mind?
In primary school I wanted to be a musician with a famous orchestra until I realised that I couldn’t really play any instrument very well. Then I wanted to be an actress before finally becoming a French teacher where I could combine all of the former.
2) Who was your favourite childhood author (s)?
I grew up on Enid Blyton – I owe my lifelong love of reading to her.
3) Was there a particular point in your life that you realised you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing but it wasn’t until I started working from home and had more time that I actually wrote my first novel.
4) What is your average writing day like? Do you have any special routines, word count, etc?
Each day is different depending on other commitments, time available and motivation. I try to write in the mornings, as by the evening I love nothing more than curling up with a good read. I used to aim for 2000 words a day but then would beat myself up if I didn’t reach my goal.
Now I try to write as often as I can and I have to have coffee, even if it usually sits undrunk by my side. After years of being in the box, I now have a spanking new desk yet I still write most of my words at the old dining room table.
5) How many books have you written? Any unpublished work?
I’ve written three books in the Greek Island mystery series, Jenna’s Journey, Sophia’s Secret and Pandora’s Prophecy. I’ve also written a shorter rom-com called Callie’s Christmas Countdown and my latest is a contemporary story with strong historical threads to WW1 and the Tudors called Finding Rose.
6) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I don’t think I will ever be one of those writers who can plot out a whole book, as I like the element of surprise. I start with a few characters, a location and a germ of a story but often I don’t know where the story is going until I’ve started writing.
Concerning your latest book:
Pages – 273
Release Date – 22nd October 2018
ISBN 13 – 978-1729113486
Format – ebook, paperback
When three sisters, Ginny, Sally and Molly are brought together at their father’s hospital bed, they are forced to confront not only the prospect of a future without him but also the secrets of the past that have kept them apart.
Their father, Eddie Matthews, drugged up on morphine, seems to be rambling but could he, in fact, be reliving previous lives as a Tudor monk and as a soldier on the Front in WW1? Struggling to speak he reveals that he has a secret and urges his daughters to ‘Find Rose’. Can the sisters put aside their differences to fulfil his last wish?
7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
Finding Rose is a book that I’ve wanted to write for a long time as it was inspired by my grandfather joining up to fight in WW1 in 1916 as a young underage lad. He left a mini diary of key events that helped get the times and places right. As for the Tudor element, that is something I’ve always been interested in but I did a lot of research online and did a lot of background reading to fill in any holes.
8) How long did it take to go from ideas stage to writing the last word?
About two years all in all once I seriously decided to write the book but I think the actual ideas had been germinating for a lot longer than that.
9) How did you come up with the title of your book?
I played around with several titles. I always need a title before I can write although, as in this case, it may change as the work progresses. As there are three storylines and each story features a different character whose name is a variation of Rose, it seemed fitting.
10) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
In the modern story there are three sisters who are estranged. Ginny is the eldest, seemingly living the life of luxury but basically lonely, Sally is the middle sister, heading for divorce with three kids including a toddler. Molly is the youngest and is desperate for a child but isn’t having any luck conceiving. They all have a secret and need to put the past behind them to fulfil their father’s last wish.
11) What process did you go through to get your book published?
Finding Rose doesn’t sit easily in any one genre, part contemporary, part historical so I decided to self-publish on Amazon. The publishing part isn’t so bad, it’s the marketing that I find difficult.
12) What’s next for you writing wise?
It all depends where the mood takes me. I’ve got an idea for another book in the Greek Island series. I also have a different series planned set around a Greek hotel and I’m currently writing a farce for our local drama group. This is a totally new departure and huge fun to write. I can’t wait until it’s actually performed.
1) If you could have any super power for the day which would you choose?
Being invisible might be great fun but then I might overhear something I really don’t want to! Perhaps being able to fly – then I could pop off to Greece at a moment’s notice with no flight tickets to pay for.
2) Do you have any pets?
I love cats and about four years ago a stray adopted us. He’s the friendliest cat ever, even managing to get himself locked in the pub opposite overnight where no doubt he had been made a great fuss of.
3) If you decided to write an autobiography of your life, what would you call it?
“Don’t stop me now”
4) Your book has been made into a feature film and you’ve been offered a cameo role, which part would you choose, or what would you be doing?
There is a small but important role in Finding Rose of Levina Teerlinc, miniature portrait painter to Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. She was hugely successful at that time and held an important position at Court, breaking new ground for women.
5) Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Greece! Anywhere in Greece but I especially love Crete.
6) A baseball cap wearing, talking duck casually wanders into your room, what is the first thing he says to you?
‘This is quakers. I can’t believe I’m out when it was a fowl shot.’
I would like to say a big thank you to Julie Ryan for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.