Sunday, October 20, 2013

Jenna's Journey by Julie Ryan: Interview


Welcome Julie!  Thanks for this opportunity to find out more about you.  Does travel play in the writing of your books?

The idea for my first novel ‘Jenna’s Journey’ was inspired by my many visits to Greece. I taught English there during the eighties and always felt it would make a beautiful setting for a novel. It just took a long time to actually write the book but once you’ve spent time in Greece, the magic of the light, the scenery and the people never leaves you. Of course, a return trip, all in the name of research of course, is well overdue!


Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
I’ve always wanted to write, ever since scribbling stories in primary school. For some reason, you could say that life just got in the way, or maybe it was self-doubt, but I always held back from writing a novel. It was only when fellow writer Linn B Halton moved into the same village and our paths crossed that I started to believe I could do it. For some reason we had an instant connection and I really believe she was sent for that purpose. She is a true inspiration and a dab hand at all the technical side of self-publishing. If we hadn’t met when we did, then my debut novel would probably still be a short story sitting in an unopened file on my computer! Thanks Linn!


When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

I try to set myself a routine even though I don’t always stick to it. After seeing my son off to school and chatting with the other mums, it’s home for breakfast. Then having got my tweeting and posting out of the way and armed with a second cup of coffee, I settle down to review what I last wrote. On a good day, I might become so engrossed that the coffee goes cold as I rush to get the ideas down before they escape! On a bad day I might sit and look at the page just waiting for inspiration. On days like that chocolate is a must!


As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I remember in primary school developing a love of classical music. Heaven knows where that came from as all my friends were heavily into pop at the time. I had a romantic notion of playing in an orchestra. This soon disappeared when I realized that I wasn’t talented enough. Then I wanted to be an actress and although that ambition never came true either, I indulge my artistic side by belonging to a local amateur dramatic group. The pantomimes are great fun. At eleven I came home from school and said that I wanted to be a French teacher.

That did come true as I taught secondary French for several years.


Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

For a long time now I’ve harbored a passion to visit The USA. When I first met my lovely husband he promised me that one day he would take me to New York. We’ve been together for ten years now but needless to say, I’m still waiting! I’d love to be flown to New York then fly to San Francisco, visit LA and Las Vegas, take in the Grand Canyon and New Orleans. There’s probably enough research material there for several books!


Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?
As a former teacher, names are very important to me. I only have to think of a name and it immediately conjures up a face of someone I used to teach. That makes choosing names very difficult yet I can’t write about a character until I have their name and an image in my mind. Once I start writing then everything could change. I love it when the characters begin to speak to me. ‘Jenna’ for example started life as Jenny but by the end the name didn’t suit her so she became Jenna. For me there’s a big difference between a Jean and a Joan or Kit, Kate, Cath, Katie or Katherine. I think readers too will have their own preconceptions that a name brings with it. As you’ve probably guessed by now, writing for me is not a straightforward process.


Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

Originally my goal was simply to complete one novel and then I could tick it off my list. I didn’t realize it was to become quietly addictive. Once I’d finished ‘Jenna’s Journey’ I felt a pang of loss. I didn’t want to write a sequel as the book stands alone but the Greek island setting was so fresh in my mind that I just had to continue. I’m now wring a second novel which is set on the same island but with different characters. Some of the minor characters in ‘Jenna’s Journey’ also make an appearance. At least that’s the plan for now. No doubt ‘Sophia’s Story’ will take me down a completely different route by the end!

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? It's not until twenty-five years later that some of the questions are finally answered.

  Amazon  |  Amazon UK


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.”


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