I have just finished reading The Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock so I am thrilled that Julie agreed to have a chat with me for the blog. I asked her a few questions about her reading favourites and how she goes about the writing craft, here is what she said!
When I asked her Who was your favourite childhood author and book? I was not surprised to find that she is another Enid Blyton fan.
My favourite author as a child was Enid Blyton. I loved the variety of books she wrote, enjoying everything from The Naughtiest Girl in the School to The Magic Faraway Tree. I started reading when I was very young and to have so much to devour was wonderful. I knew I would never run out!
When did you start writing and when and what was your first publication?
I started writing properly in 2013, a couple of years before my 50th birthday! I was determined that I would publish before my ‘big’ birthday so I took the decision to self-publish my début novel. I published From Here to Nashville, my first contemporary romance, in February 2015, just a month before my birthday.
When I asked Julie about who she reads now she mentioned one of my own favourites Rosanna Ley and she went on to say…….I read lots of different authors, mostly in my own genre of contemporary romance but not exclusively. In terms of romance, I really enjoy reading JoJo Moyes, Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley. I especially love books where the setting is almost as important as anything else in the story. I also love books by Robert Harris and Sebastian Faulks, and read their new ones as soon as they come out. Last year, I really got into reading the books of Louise Doughty after seeing Apple Tree Yard on TV and then attending a creative writing workshop with the author.
Do you have a ‘usual’ writing timetable and a special place that you write in? What is on your desk or what is around you as you write? Perhaps you enjoy the view from your writing window?
I work every morning for a mental health charity so afternoons are for writing and my freelance work. If I am actively writing rather than editing, I try and write at least 1,000 words every day at some point in the afternoon. I have my own writing space upstairs in my house and to the left of me is a long window, which gives me lots of light when I’m sitting at my desk. I mostly have a very tidy desk with only writing related things on it, and on the walls around my desk, I have pictures of my book covers and things related to my achievements in my writing career so far.
Can you tell me something about your latest book please?
My latest book is a contemporary romance novella, Over You (Sam’s Story), which tells the story of one of the characters after the end of my first novel, From Here to Nashville. This was published recently on 12 March, 2018.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently writing the second and final sequel novella to my first book, From Here to Nashville. This novella tells Jenna’s story from that original book. I hope to publish this one around May of this year so that I have a mini-series of books about those characters. I am also working on my next novel but this is only at first draft stage. I have a couple of other things on the go as well but I shouldn’t really be working on them!
What are your usual methods of research when planning a new book?
Setting is really important in my books so I like to go to the places I write about wherever possible. With From Here to Nashville, I didn’t get there before I published the book so I had to rely on the Internet for my research while writing. I did manage to get there the month after the book was published though and thankfully, all the details were accurate. For my second book, I had already been to Alsace many times so that was easier and I had worked in the wine industry so I had a lot of that information in my head. Where there are gaps though, I use the Internet or books from my own library or my local library if I need to.
….and finally any tips for aspiring writers?
I listened to a podcast last year where Joanne Harris was interviewed. When asked this question, she said, ‘Drop the aspiring. If you write, you’re a writer.’ I really agree with this sentiment. Apart from that, I would advise everyone to get into the habit of writing every day, even if it’s only 100 words, because then you will finish the book and that’s the most important thing you can do when you start out.
Julie has kindly allowed my readers a taster of Over You (Sam’s Story): which can be purchased at Amazon.
Can the magic of Cornwall help two lost souls to heal?
Heartbroken after seeing the love of his life marry someone else, Sam Andrews wants to escape all the painful reminders of her and to try and move on. Remembering his happy family holidays surfing in Cornwall, he travels to Newquay to help him forget.
Following a tragic event at university, Jessie Pascoe has abandoned her course and returned home to her mum’s B&B in Newquay. But after months of counselling, she’s no closer to being healed, and she’s lost her faith in ever finding her happy ending.
When Sam and Jessie meet, there’s a mutual attraction, and they begin to see a chance of finding happiness together, if only they can both let go of the past. But can they risk opening their hearts to someone new and falling in love again?
A story of heartbreak, love and healing.