Welcome, Julie Ryan to the Author Interview.
A bit about Julie: Julie Ryan was born 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 with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail. 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.
You can catch up with her via her blog at www.allthingsbookie.com or via Twitter @julieryan18 or Facebook www.Facebook.com/Julieryanauthor. (See links at the end of the interview.)
What was your favorite book as a child? I absolutely loved Enid Blyton as a child, especially her Famous Five series. I always wanted to be George and live on an island and have adventures. That started my love of books as I realized early on how wonderfully escapist they can be. As we did the supermarket shop on a Thursday evening, my mother would leave me reading one of Enid Blyton’s books and collect me when she’d finished. I got through quite a few that way!
What inspired you to be a writer? I think I’ve always loved writing even as a child. I remember scribbling a little play for my best friend and me to act out in front of her parents. I never actually thought that I would write a book though – authors had an elevated status in my mind and I didn’t believe I was good enough. It took me until I was in my fifties and following a chance encounter with a writer who moved into my village, I turned a short story into my first novel, Jenna’s Journey.
What is your day job? In the mornings I run our local post office, which is a good way to catch up on what’s been happening locally. Then in the afternoons/evenings I work as a distance language tutor teaching English to French companies. I fit my writing in around everything else. My teaching hours are unpredictable so it’s a question of seizing the moment when I can.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? I would love to say I’m a plotter as I think it would make my life so much easier. However, that just doesn’t work for me. I start with a couple of characters and a rough idea of the ending and that’s it! I love it when the characters come alive and change the story. By the end, the book often bears little resemblance to the one I thought I was writing. Jenna’s Journey had a lot of rewrites as a result and it was an enormous learning curve. Now I do have a timeline and I keep a list of my characters and their traits. It’s just great fun seeing where the writing journey takes me.
What genre do you write and why did you pick this genre? To be honest the genre kind of picked me. I can’t even say categorically what genre I write in. Of course, I could say I write contemporary women’s fiction but it’s a combination of all the genres that I love reading – romance, historical, crime, suspense and mystery without being just one of them predominantly. It makes it hard to put a label on my writing but that’s how it developed and it works for me.
Does your particular genre require research? If so, how do you do it? My work in progress is very different to the Greek Island mysteries as it’s a contemporary novel with strong historical elements pertaining to the Tudor period and WW1. This entailed a lot of research, by reading and on the Internet. It was huge fun but hard to decide what to use and what to discount but I learnt a lot. I also think that research is never wasted as even if you don’t use it, it somehow adds authenticity to your work.
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