Today it's my pleasure to shine the spotlight on author Julie Ryan who has recently republished Jenna's Journey, the first book in her Greek Island Mystery series.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Sharon. I’m a writer and book blogger living in Gloucestershire with my husband and young son. In the past I’ve lived and worked in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand, each experience contributing something to the person I am today. When not writing or reading, I love taking part in the annual pantomime that our local amateur dramatic group puts on and did I mention that I’m mad about cats? I have two; a feral farm cat that we’ve had for over ten years and a stray cat who adopted us two years ago. I run the local post office in our village and also work as a distance language tutor teaching English to French companies.
You have written 3 books set on a Greek Island, can you tell us about the Greek Island Mystery series?
I never intended to write a series. To be honest, although I’d always dreamed of writing a book, Jenna’s Journey, the first in the Greek Island mysteries started life as a short story. It was only when I met another writer by chance that it developed into a novel. After that, the location stayed with me and I found myself writing a series. It just took on a life of its own for which I am extremely grateful. Each book is set on the same island but with different characters and although they do sometimes overlap they can each be read as a standalone. ‘Pandora’s Prophecy’ has a slightly more paranormal feel to it – oh and there’s also a serial killer on the loose!
What inspired you to set the series in the Greek Islands?
I lived in Greece during my twenties and the experience stayed with me. One cold winter morning as I looked out of the window of my home in Gloucestershire, I had a kind of ‘what if’ moment as I idly wondered how my life might have been different if I’d stayed in Greece. If you’ve ever seen the film ‘Sliding Doors’, you’ll know what I mean.
What can we expect from you next?
After the Greek trilogy, I wanted to write something different just for the fun of it and also to see if I could write a book that wasn’t set in Greece. The result was a chick lit Christmas cosy romance called ‘ Callie’s Christmas Countdown’. I love the characters so much that I may write a sequel. I’m also working on a couple of other ideas including a cosy mystery set in an English village and a historical fiction book.
How did your writing journey start?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and as a child could often be found scribbling on bits of paper. I even wrote a sketch for my friend and me to perform in front of her parents – I’m not sure that they really appreciated it though! I always wanted to write a novel but I never really thought I had it in me to complete one that other people would want to read. Thanks to encouragement from a lovely lady, Linn B Halton, who guided me through the publication process, I now find myself the author of four books.
Out of all of your books, which character did you have the most fun creating?
Although Jenna’s Journey is a work of fiction, I did draw on myself when I created Jenna. However, she’s sassier, younger and prettier than me so that’s about as far as the parallels go. Giving her an individual voice was tough but rewarding and by the end she felt quite real to me. So much so that she insisted I change her name from Jemma to Jenna! No wonder my husband sometimes thinks I’m mad but the characters do talk to me and that’s an amazing process.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Keep writing! I think that sometimes we are so hung up on perfection that we are afraid of failure. It’s always better to have something you can edit rather than a blank page.
Are you a plotter or do you prefer to see where a storyline takes you?
I start out with just a few characters and a rough idea of a plot and take it from there so most definitely a pantser – I do write by the seat of my pants and I make it hard work as there are endless changes but I can’t write any other way. Besides, I’d prefer not to know how it ends until I’ve written the book as that way it’s also a surprise to me too.
What writers inspire you?
As a child I owe my love of reading to Enid Blyton. John Magus had a profound effect on me when I was younger and still influences my writing today. More recently I admire Victoria Hislop, Kate Morton and Kate Mosse.
If you could write in a collaboration with another author, who would you like to write with?
Oh that’s a tough one! I would love to work with Stephen King as he’s a grand master when it comes to writing. It might be a bit of a one-way collaboration though but I’d love to know how other writers work, their thought processes and so on.
Do you get much spare time for reading? What was the last book you read?
I make time for reading, usually for an hour before I go to sleep. Second to writing, reading is my favourite pastime and I’d be lost without books. I’ve just finished ‘ A good catch’ by Fern Britton, which I really enjoyed.
Finally do you treat yourself to something nice to celebrate the publication of your novels?
I’d like to say that I might have splurged on bubbles and chocolate but that wouldn’t be exactly true! I’m usually alone when I find out as husband is at work and son at school so a quick dance around the kitchen followed by a nice cuppa and a choccie biscuit is usually about as good as it gets.
Social Media & Book links
Website: Julie's World of Books
Goodreads: Julie Ryan
Jenna's Journey: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jennas-Journey/dp/B01GGOCKLK
Sophia's Secret: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophias-Secret/dp/B00LFJGCWA
Pandora's Prophecy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pandoras-Prophecy/dp/B00V6CWVBW
Callie's Christmas Countdown: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Callies-Christmas-Countdown/dp/B0188T7H2I
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.