Today, we’re getting to know author Julie Ryan a little better, as she has kindly agreed to answer my questions. Over to you, Julie.
Welcome to the blog, Julie. To start with, what inspires your story ideas or characters?
Inspiration can literally come from anywhere; sometimes a book I’ve read, a discussion on the radio or a snippet of conversation overheard. It may lay dormant for a while and then suddenly a story is crying out to be written. Often the characters that I start out with develop during the course of the book and are very different by the end. I love it when they take on a life of their own.
How do you go about starting a new writing project?
Believe it or not there are people who plot out every chapter of their book before they start writing! Sadly I am not one of them. I start with a general idea of where I want the story to go and a few characters. The rest is unknown territory. I rather like not knowing what’s going to happen next but it does cause major problems when it comes to editing. I think I rewrote my first book about ten times.
What was your favourite book as a child and how do you view it now as an adult?
As a child I adored Enid Blyton, especially the Famous Five series. It was pure escapism and I always wanted to have similar adventures with my friends. Sadly the days of ginger beer and children playing out all day are long gone for most of us yet there is a lovely nostalgia on re-reading them. Thanks to Enid Blyton, I have a lifelong love of reading and I’m not sure that I would be a writer if I hadn’t grown up on the magic of her books. I only hope that children today can find the same joy in books that I did.
Oh, I so agree! It’s astounding how many writers say that Enid Blyton inspired their love of reading and writing – myself included. I imagine there’ll be a whole generation of authors saying the same about JK Rowling. What are your writing goals long term and/or short term?
It’s funny how my goals have changed as I’ve grown in confidence. My original goal was just to write a novel. I figured that so many people say they have a book in them and never finish so I was quite proud when I achieved my first goal. A lucky coincidence in meeting a fellow writer in my village led me to self-publishing on Amazon and I can honestly say that without the guidance of Linn B Halton, my books would still be documents on my computer. Once on Amazon, the next goal was to find a publisher. I never thought it would happen and then a hybrid publisher, Booktrope, published my first book, Jenna’s Journey. The thrill of seeing my book in print was very special. Now, constantly aiming upwards, I’m looking for an agent and a new publisher since Booktrope closed their doors. After that it’s Hollywood and a film deal – well no harm in dreaming, is there?
Most definitely not. What’s your favourite book – if that’s not an impossible question?
I write mysteries set in Greece and one of the books that has greatly influenced me is John Fowles’ ‘The Magus’. I first read the book over thirty years ago and I’m sure it was responsible, at least in part, for my desire to live in Greece in the eighties. His depiction of the magic and mystery of Greece is so well done; not to mention that it’s a cracking good story with a great psychological twist. The fact that the protagonist is an English teacher in Greece is also something I can relate to. I reread the book from time to time and there is always something new in it. For me it’s a book that I never tire of reading.
What thing or things are guaranteed to cheer you up?
I feel as if I’m about to burst into song – ‘raindrops on roses and…’in fact, nature is guaranteed to cheer me up. I love spending a peaceful time in my garden or walking by the sea. Cuddles from my son or cat also make me happy as does anything chocolate related. Books are my passion though and a good book can instantly lift my mood. So, reading in bed, by the sea, with a hot chocolate and a cat curled up at the bottom of the bed is bliss. It really is about the simple things in life and savouring every moment.
What’s your favourite first or last line from a book?
“Tomorrow is another day’ from Gone with the wind. It’s a wonderful principle that if today didn’t go well then we can put it all behind us and start anew tomorrow. I don’t think it means putting things off, simply starting with a new slate, new enthusiasm. We all get bogged down with problems and sometimes we have to remember to let things go and not beat ourselves up too much.
Where do you write?
For the last three years I’ve written wherever I could. It’s usually been on the dining room table as even though my lovely husband bought me a desk, it’s been sitting in its packaging as we had nowhere to put it. This year I decided enough was enough and cleared out part of the playroom so I now have a fabulous workspace and don’t have to tidy away each night. I also got a wonderful chair for my birthday so I’m one happy bunny. Not sure it has improved my writing yet but we’ll see!
Julie’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she went to live in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Using the latter as inspiration she started a series of mystery romantic thrillers set in the Greek Isles.
Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in the Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, promising to delight readers looking for the hidden dark side the Greek Isles. Pandora’s Prophecy and Sophia’s Secret make up the rest of the trilogy. After self-publishing the trilogy, the first book was taken up by publishers Booktrope.