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.”
Your novel is called ‘Jenna’s Journey” please could you tell me about it?
Jenna’s marriage is in trouble and one day on a whim she decides to go to Greece alone to sort out what she’s going to do next. Whilst there she inadvertantly becomes involved with an antique smuggling ring. She meets Tom and they become friends but she feels he’s not quite on the level. Then she falls madly in love with Nikos, the hotel owner but he also has a secret from the past. There’s a twist at the end so I don’t want to spoil it by giving any more away.
‘Jenna’s Journey’ is about Jenna, please could you tell me about her?
Most of the story takes place in 1987 when Jenna is in her late twenties. She’s insecure about herself but has a strength of character that means she’s a ‘survivor’. Basically though, she just wants to fall in love and live happily ever after. To achieve that she has to hurt the one person she is closest to.
They say the journey to being published is one of the hardest an author can take, please can you describe the journey that you went on?
This is my first novel so it’s been a steep learning curve. I love the fact that it’s now easier than ever to publish a book yourself but the hard bit starts when you’ve finished the manuscript. Luckily I have a good friend who has helped with the techie parts and I did put my manuscript out to a small group of Beta readers. Their comments have been invaluable and it wouldn’t be the same book without them.
Are any of the characters in ‘Jenna’s Journey’ anything like you?
I didn’t base any of my characters specifically on me although there is a lot of me in Jenna. However, by the end of the book she had morphed into someone else entirely. I like to think she is a younger, prettier, slimmer version of me.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Write because you enjoy it and get your manuscript into the most polished form you can. Make sure you have a good online presence too. Oh and don’t forget to set up blog tours well in advance. I almost left it too late but luckily a few people managed to fit me in with about a month’s notice. That’s at least three pieces of advice I wish I’d known earlier.
What can we expect next, any future books in the pipeline?
I’m hoping that this will be the first of my Greek mysteries. I’m currently sketching out some ideas for another novel set in the same place but telling the stories of some of the other characters. It’s provisionally called ‘Sophia’s Story.’
Was there any book you read as a child that convinced you that you wanted to become a writer? If so, which one was it?
As a child I was mad about Enid Blyton’s books. So much so that I got told off at school for trying to copy her style! It’s strange that the writing bug has always been there but it’s taken a long time to resurface. I definitely owe my love of books to her.
if there was one saying that could sum up your life, what would it be?
Seize the moment! I really do believe that we should live life to the full and make the most of any opportunities. Don’t sit at home waiting for things to happen, go out there and make them happen.
if you could choose one book that you think everyone should read, what would it be and why?
One of the books that I never tire of reading is John Fowles’ ‘The Magus’. Every time I read it, I see something new in it. It’s definitely worth a read if you haven’t come across it. It’s also set in Greece, which for me is a big attraction.
‘Jenna’s Journey’ ‘ is set in Greece, what was your inspiration behind this country?
I’ve been fascinated by Greece since the moment I first visited it. There’s something magical about the place and the light is really special. The scenery is stunning, the people friendly and the food’s not bad either! Add great climate, fantastic beaches and plenty of history, it’s one of my favourite places. Writing ‘Jenna’s Journey’ was in part a way of transporting myself there, if only as a writer!
I would like to thank Julie for talking to 'The Love Of A Good Book'