Long days and short nights. The sun high in the sky holidays at the top of everyone's list. Yes, it's summer time! How better to start the sunshine season other than talking to Julie Ryan whose wonderful books have you escaping to a sun washed Greek Island.
Julie, shades on, settle down on one of the sun loungers and take it away….
I’ve always loved writing – I was the geeky kid who preferred to stay indoors at break time to finish my story. Somehow though I never really thought that I would become a published author. In fact, my Greek Island Mystery series began life as a short story. It was only a chance encounter with a fellow writer that convinced me to develop it into the first book in the series, ‘Jenna’s Journey.’
During the 1980’s I spent some time working in Greece as a teacher of English and that was the start of my lifelong love affair with the country. Fast forward nearly thirty years and I’m now happily living in rural Gloucestershire with my lovely husband, gorgeous son and a dippy cat with half a tail. It’s the middle of a really bad winter and as I sit looking at the snow coming down I wonder how my life would have been different if I’d stayed in Greece. That was the beginnings of my first book although I never expected that it would develop into a series. My goal at that time was just to see if I could actually complete a novel. Then my next goal was to see if I could publish it and now I have the second book in the series out, ‘Sophia’s Secret’. So, when people ask me how long it took to write ‘Jenna’s Journey’ I usually say that it took eighteen months with a gestation period of thirty years.
The second book developed naturally from the first, as there were still a few loose ends to tie up. Each book features different characters set on the same Greek Island so can be read as a standalone. When I started I had only a very general idea of where I wanted the story to go. Needless to say, my characters had different ideas. I love it when they take me on a different journey; for example, one character introduced his son. At that point I didn’t even know he had a son!! I then had to develop a back story to fit in with his new announcement. It also meant changing the title and the main character. I don’t make life easy for myself, do I?
At the moment I’m working on a third book in the series, provisionally entitled ‘Pandora’s Prophecy’. However, if past form is anything to go by, then that is also likely to change.
I love writing these books because it allows me to reminisce about the wonderful times I spent in Greece. I get the photo albums out and reread my diaries that I kept during that period – all in the name of research of course. I’ve bought Greek cook books all in the name of authenticity and even painted my house white with accents of Mediterranean blue. Now, if only I can persuade the family that we need to do a research trip, I’ll be a happy woman!
Jenna's Journey - www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EXPDZD2
Sophia's Secret - www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LFJGCWA
Thank you Julie, I hope you can soon persuade your family to take that research trip. In the meantime, continue to sell, sell sell!