Today I’m chatting to Julie Ryan, whose latest book, Pandora’s Prophecy, is published by Amazon.
Thanks for dropping by, Julie. Tell us a little about your writing to date.
I write romantic mysteries set in Greece. They have been described as ‘not quite thrillers and not quite chick-lit.’ I try to show the other side of Greece that the tourist doesn’t usually see. There’s always romance but usually a bit of mystery and history for good measure.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I was fortunate enough to live in Greece in the 1980s so initially much of my inspiration came from that time. I also take inspiration from wherever and whenever; it could be a snippet of conversation overheard, a radio interview or even something I’ve seen on social media.
Do you plan out an entire plot before you begin a new novel, or does a story evolve as you write?
I start with a very rough plot and a couple of characters but by the end the finished product usually bears little resemblance to the original idea. I admire people who can plot out their book in every chapter but it’s not how I work. I quite like the idea that my book evolves as I write and I really have no idea how it’s going to end.
You review books too – does this process shape your own writing in any way?
Since I started reviewing books I think I do look at the writing process in a slightly different way. I’m more aware of plot and character development and how the writing flows. I also think writing has shaped me as a reviewer. I now know just how difficult it is to actually finish writing a book. A writer might spend months or years on their work whilst a reviewer might have finished reading it in a couple of hours. I’m much kinder as a result as even if the book isn’t for me, that isn’t to say I can’t appreciate the effort that went into writing it.
What advice would you give to someone mulling over the ideas for their first novel?
Mulling over is great but there’s nothing to beat actually writing. At least if you have something on the page, you can go back and edit it. I think having the confidence to actually write is the first step. Writers are notoriously self-critical so don’t over-analyse, just do it.
Noted. What is the best part of being an author? And the worst?
I love the creative process – that moment when the book takes on a life of its own and the characters start to speak to you in your head. The worst bit is the editing or a bad review but that’s part and parcel.
Who are your writing heroes?
I have many – I was inspired by John Fowles and I read anything by Victoria Hislop, Kate Morton, Kate Mosse, and Phillipa Gregory.
If you had to be stranded on a desert island with three fictional characters, who would you choose, and why?
It would need to be 1. Someone who is good at survival as I’d be pretty clueless. Robinson Crusoe managed to survive until he was rescued so reckon he’d be a good start. 2. I’d need a romantic interest so Ross Poldark would do nicely. 3. I’d need to have a laugh and a giggle to keep my spirits up so who better than Molly Weasley from Harry Potter as she would be sure to conjure up the odd spell or two.
Wine gums or chocolate as your preferred snack of choice when immersed in writing?
Chocolate every time as I’m a real chocoholic.
I’m currently working on something completely different. My WIP is about three modern day sisters whose father’s dying wish is that they put their differences aside to ‘find Rose’. The only problem is they have no idea who he means. Their search takes them to the Tudor Court and the battlefields of WW1
Sounds intriguing! Good luck, and thanks very much for taking the time to answer these questions!
A taster: the blurb for the first in the series – Jenna’s Journey
Heading to the Greek Isles without telling husband or friends is heady medicine for a failing marriage. Seduced by Grecian sun and sky, Jenna innocently obtains an ancient urn that tangles her into a web of a criminal world more sinister then she could ever have imagined. Romance is always afoot in the Greek Isles and Jenna gets a large helping with the seductive Nikos.
Twenty-five years later, Allie takes this same journey in a story that spans 25 years and intertwines the lives of mother and daughter. Twisty as the streets in a Greek island village, full of unexpected characters and threatening villains, Jenna’s Journey will keep you turning pages far into the night.
Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles.
Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far and promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles.
In a new venture, Julie’s latest book is a short rom-com called Callie’s Christmas Countdown.
A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.
You can find Julie on her websites:
CALLIE’S CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN