Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Q & A with Julie Ryan

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First Q&A of the year with Julie Ryan, enjoy. 

1.    Did you always dream of being a writer?

When I was little I used to write sketches for me and my friend to perform, then I wrote short stories but I never thought that one day I would publish a novel. Now I’ve written three novels and a novella – it’s a dream come true.

2.    How did your writing career develop?

Having written a short story, I then had a chance encounter with another writer who moved into the same village. She really inspired me to develop it into ‘Jenna’s Journey.’

3.    Your debut novel is called Jenna’s Journey, what is it about?

It’s the story of a woman trapped in a marriage that isn’t going anywhere. One day she goes to Greece on impulse. From then on murder seems to follow her as she inadvertently becomes involved with an artefact smuggling ring. It’s about her journey to find herself, a bit like Shirley Valentine meets Sliding Doors but with a bit of a grittier edge.

4.    What was your inspiration for the book?

During my twenties I lived and worked in Greece and the time there has been hugely influential in making me the person I am. One day, many years later, I was looking out of the window on a cold snowy day and got to wondering how my life might have been different if I’d stayed in Greece. I didn’t know it then but that was the germ of inspiration which led to my first novel.

5.    Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Jenna is a bit naïve but kind-hearted – she can also be a bit dippy at times and is a bit of a day-dreamer. Her experiences in Greece ultimately lead her to a happy ending but only after she goes trough a lot of grief. It toughens her up and makes her stronger. Greg, her husband, doesn’t treat her particularly well. I tried to find some redeeming features in him and I guess he really does love her in his own way but he’s a bit of a selfish bully. When Jenna leaves he too is forced to question everything.

6.    Where and when do you write your stories?

I have a lovely new desk, which is still waiting for the room to be finished to put it in. For the moment I write at the dining room table amid a pile of papers, slat and pepper set etc.

7.    What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I’m a prolific reader and blogger so usually have my head in a book. I also enjoy amateur dramatics and belong to our local theatre group. For relaxation I enjoy knitting. I’ve just started knitting a large nativity set so with any luck it might be ready for next Christmas.

8.    If you could switch places with a characters from a book, who would it be and why?

Most of the heroines in classic literature or in the books I love tend to be tragic heroines so I’m not sure I’d want to swap places with any of them to be honest.

9.    What books have influenced your life most?

One of my favourite books that I can read again and again is ‘The Magus’ by John Fowles. He captures the mystery of Greece perfectly and it’s so cleverly written that I always find something new in it.

10.  What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on something different inspired by losing my father. It’s about three sisters who gather at their father’s bedside as he relives his previous lives. Each of the sisters is harbouring a secret and it all comes out as they have to work together to fulfil his dying wish. It sounds a bit morbid but it isn’t – it’s a love story through history.

11.  What do you enjoy most about writing?

The end! Seriously, I love the creative part; the fact that I can conjure up a story and character out of my imagination and they then take on a life of their own. The fact that other people all over the world can then read what was only in my head still amazes me.

12.  Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

I’d love to have dinner with Enid Blyton so I can thank her for giving me a love of books at an early age, Stephen Fry because of his dry wit and we’d need someone to keep the conversation going and Agatha Christie as I’d love to be able to pick her brains about plot development.

13.  Imagine Jenna’s Journey would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

I think Jenna is a bit like a young Nicole Kidman so she would have been ideal. Jenna Coleman also has the right look of naivety without being childlike but she’d need to have gold-brown hair.

14.  You also wrote Sophia’s Secret, can you tell us more about it?

This book is set on the same island as Jenna’s Journey but with different characters so it can be read as a standalone. It tells the story of Sophia from the 1960s to the present. Her granddaughter unravels the secret that she’s been harbouring ever since she was forced to marry someone she despised in order to keep her family from destitution.

15.  How would you describe your style of writing?

Descriptive, evocative and informative and varied.

16.  Coffee or tea?


17.  Paperback or e-reader?


18.  Mountains or the sea?

     The sea

19.  Summer or winter?


20.  Sweet or salty?


About the Author
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:

Website/blog for book reviews
and on Twitter @julieryan18

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks Simona for featuring me on your lovely blog