My guest sharing her five photos with us today is Julie Ryan. Julie is the author of a Greek island trilogy and a Christmas novel, and was kind enough to answer several questions for me earlier in the year. You can read that post here. Today, Julie’s sharing the pictures that mean the most to her, so welcome back to the blog, Julie.
I really love taking photos so to choose just five that have a special meaning for me is extremely hard. In the end I settled for 5 photos that essentially sum up who I am.
This first photo is my new desk and chair, the place where all the writing happens. Twelve years ago my husband and I bought a near-derelict shop to renovate. When he said that time wasn’t a problem and we had twenty years in which to do the work, I thought he was joking! Three years ago he bought me the desk and it’s been sitting in its box untouched as we carried on renovating. This picture is not just where I work but a symbol of how far we’ve come. It might have taken twelve years so far but we’re getting there! The chair was a birthday present last year so another memory to treasure.
Of course if it’s inspiration I’m after then my go-to place has to be Greece. I lived there in the 1980s and the Greek islands feature strongly in my writing.I suddenly realised though that I hadn’t actually been back for nearly twenty years so a visit was long overdue. Last summer I ticked a box on my wish list by going on a writing retreat in the Peloponnese, a truly beautiful part of the world. It was inspirational and provided the setting for my next book. I think of Greece as my spiritual home as it’s the perfect place to relax, to reflect and simply to be. This is my favourite writing space in the whole world – I mean who could fail to be inspired by that view?
Of course, every writer needs a helpmeet and this is mine. We rescued Gizmo, known as Gizzie, from a local farm where he was semi-feral. He was with us for twelve years until he succumbed to cancer. He was at times a feisty, grumpy old man who knew exactly what he wanted and how to wrap me round his little paw, well huge paw in fact! I could never sit down to read or write without him choosing that particular moment to jump on my lap. He had a bad habit of biting his tail which led to him having half of it amputated. He was such a character and even now when I sit down to write, I half expect him to come and sit on my laptop, one of his favourite positions.
Sometimes I think many of us are guilty of thinking the grass in greener on the other side. I often sit and dream about moving to Greece despite knowing for several reasons that it is unlikely to happen. I was reminded the other day to count my blessings and this photo is of the beautiful River Severn taken on a misty morning looking towards Newnham and the Forest of Dean. Whenever I feel a bit down, this photo reminds me that life is what you make it and I am fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world.With this in mind last summer I decided to visit my nearby town of Gloucester and see it through a tourist’s eye .By doing so I started to appreciate all its advantages as I sought out museums I’d not got round to visiting, tried new restaurants and did a tour of the cathedral.
Finally, nothing sums me up better than chocolate. I confess to being a chocoholic and am known at home as the chocolate monster! This picture of chocolate tapas was taken on the Isle of Wight, a place where we’ve been holidaying since my son was a baby. It has so many special memories that come flooding back when I look at the picture. It’s become a bit of a tradition to make sure we visit the little chocolate shop and factory in Godshill each time we visit. I can still taste those tapas now.
Julie’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. Not venturing too far from home, she studied French Language and Literature at Hull University, where she also trained as a teacher. Then the wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. This broadening of the mind has had an enormous impact on her writing. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire. She is a bookaholic with a one-click addiction.
Her Greek Island Mystery series includes ‘Jenna’s Journey’, ‘Sophia’s Secret’ and ‘Pandora’s Prophecy.’
Her latest book, ‘Callie’s Christmas Countdown’, a chick-lit humourous romance, is a new departure for her.