I’m delighted to welcoming Julie Ryan to Jera’s Jamboree today.
Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and a dippy cat with half a tail. She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance!
“Jenna’s Journey” is her début novel set in Greece, a country to which she has a strong attachment. She is now working on a second novel in the series, “Sophia’s Story.”
Julie is looking for reviewers for Jenna’s Journey. Find out more after the interview.
Hi Julie, welcome!
Please summarise your latest book in 20 words or less.
Jenna hopes for a new future by escaping to Greece but discovers her future may not be what she envisaged.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
Initially it was the setting. Having lived in Greece in the 80’s, I found myself every winter imagining an alternate life in warmer climes. Eventually the characters took over and their story had to be written down.
How do your characters come into existence? Do they have a bio?
It could be a photo of someone on the internet or TV that gets me imagining how they would behave in different scenarios. Before I know it, they’ve gone and done things beyond my control and I have to rein them in a bit. Their bio develops as I go along.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I’d like to be Allie. She’s young, intelligent and beautiful with a gorgeous boyfriend. What’s not to envy?
Do you have a theme for your book covers? Who designs them?
My covers obviously have a Greek theme as that is where this series is set. I enlisted the aid of Linn at ‘Heartfelt Design’ to do the fiddly bits and I’m delighted with the results.
What inspired you to write?
Even as a child, I always had my head in a book or was scribbling. Apart from a few short stories though. I’d never written in a serious way until about 18 months ago. Moving to the country and working part time gave me the opportunity to write. The opportunities for self-pub gave me hope that other people may actually enjoy what I’ve written.
Do you have a most creative time of day?
I don’t have a set time of day as I have a six- year old son! Writing has to be done when he’s in school or in bed. Generally though I seem to write better in the mornings. I’m too tired at night!
Are you a panster or a plotter?
The biggest learning curve for me has been wishing that I were able to plot a story in advance. I’ve tried and I can’t, I’m afraid. I seem to need the spontaneity of the book developing a life of it’s own. That means constantly changing the storyline until I’m happy but it does get difficult to remember which version I’m actually working on. I probably have enough material for another book with all the changes I’ve made. I promise myself to be more methodical on the next book but somehow I doubt I’ll be able to.
Have you joined any writing groups?
I helped set up a book group in my village with a writer friend. The members are very supportive and very good at constructive feedback. We’re hoping to do some writing during our meetings too but so far that hasn’t happened yet.
Do you have a favourite book? Why? What is it about that book?
‘The Magus’ by John Fowles is brilliantly written. He describes the magic of Greece in a way that I can only aspire to. Somehow he gets beneath the skin of the country and I feel a real affinity with this book.
What is in the future?
I felt such a loss when I finished writing ‘Jenna’s Journey’ that before I knew it, I’d started a second book in the series. It’s not a sequel but some of the same characters are in it and the reader will find out more about some of the under-developed characters in’ Jenna’s Journey’. The working title is ‘Sophia’s Story.’
Thank you for sharing with us today Julie. Jenna’s Journey sounds a great read. Wishing you success in all your writing projects.
When Jenna decides on a whim to go to Greece, she’s trying to escape her failing marriage. Will Greg let her go so easily though? Can she make a new future for herself and how did she get involved in an antiques smuggling ring? Is fellow holidaymaker Tom all he seems and will it be happy ever after with Nikos? Twenty-five years later some of the questions are finally answered.
A tangled web of intrigue—can Jenna escape her past and find a new future?