Please describe your book in twenty words.
A romantic mystery, a journey of discovery, where Sliding Doors meets Shirley Valentine.
What is your writing process from inspiration, editing, to feeling your book is ready for publication?
I start with a couple of characters and a setting and only a brief outline of the plot in my head. Writing is such a creative process that I never know where it will end up. It’s only after a lot of changes as I go along that I have a story. Then comes the hard work of editing. I try not to edit and write at the same time but it’s impossible for me. Every time I re-read what I’ve written, I have to change something. When the book is as good as I can get it grammatically, I send it to a select few Beta readers. Their help has been invaluable and after their input, the book looks very different to my first draft. Then it’s more editing. To be honest, I never feel that a book is ready for publication but there has to be a cut-off point so when I’m happy that the book doesn’t have any glaring errors, it’s time to format and publish.
Where did you get your ideas for the storyline in your book?
I lived in Greece during the 1980s and have always felt an attraction for the country so it was no surprise that it should figure largely in my books. The idea for ‘Jenna’s Journey’ came one winter morning when I was gazing out of my window at the dismally gloomy day and started to wonder what I would be doing if I’d stayed in Greece. From there the story just developed a life of its own.
What research did you do for your book and did you enjoy it?
I did some research into Greek customs as it had been a long time since I lived there but the rest was based on my time in Greece. If I’ve made any errors then it’s probably down to my faulty memory. I enjoyed doing the research as it brought back so many memories.
Do you have a favourite writing place, or writing routine?
I write when I can but find mornings are usually best for me. I run our local village post office as well as teaching part-time and looking after our young son so by the evening I’m usually too tired to write. I find that if I haven’t checked my emails and all the other social media stuff by 10.10am then not much writing gets done. I usually write on the kitchen table even though I have a gorgeous brand new desk which is still in the packaging!
What do you think is the most important thing that every writer should know, or have?
Determination and self-belief! It’s a hard journey but you have to have the determination to finish and the self-belief that you can write. Don’t expect to become rich but hope for some positive feedback.
What are your writing dreams for the future?
To become rich! No, seriously, I am enjoying the fact that total strangers have been able to read my book and have enjoyed it. That’s all a writer can ask. I published the book myself because I didn’t have the self-confidence to approach publishers. I’m hoping though that one day I’ll feel the time is right to do that. Now, if my book were ever to be turned into a film, that would be a dream come true!
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give someone who was thinking about writing a book?
Write it! A lot of people want to write but find the process daunting. My advice is just to write from the heart and then you’ll have something to edit. After all you can’t edit a blank piece of paper.
Author Biography —Julie Ryan
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.”