Welcome to my blog, Julie. I’ve been following your writing since your first novel, The Music of the Spheres, was published. We know that the first book people publish isn’t usually the first thing they’ve written. Can you tell us about your writing journey to that point?
I've always loved writing. I suppose all authors say that, but it is true nevertheless. In fact I started writing before I could actually write, if that doesn't sound stupid. I can remember being in my back garden in London and narrating what I was doing, using the past tense and calling myself by another name! We moved when I was five, so I must have been quite young.
I wrote my first novel many years ago and sent it off to a handful of publishers, only to receive the dreaded rejection postcards and I stopped writing for a while. Then I started attending a creative writing class, and that evolved into a writing group which I found very supportive. I wrote The Music of the Spheres at that time. Getting a chapter ready for the class was a great motivator, especially as I had started teaching and had very little time for anything other than family stuff and lesson preparation. In 2001 there was no route to publication other than submitting manuscripts to publishers or agents, so I tried again but with no success. I was promoted at work, my workload increased, and 'The Music of the Spheres' joined my first novel in a drawer.
Then semi-retirement came. Oh, the joy of it! I had time to write several times a week if I wanted to, so I retrieved 'The Music of the Spheres' from its drawer, completely re-wrote it, and became a published author at last.
I'm very glad it came out of that drawer. I loved it! Like many indie authors, you don’t stick to a genre, going from comedy to thriller with apparent ease. Do you have a favourite genre to read?
I suppose I like literary fiction best. I like books that are challenging both in content and form, although I hate it when authors make a work impenetrable just to seem cleverer than their readers!
I read a lot of poetry and I often think the same! And what about writing? Is there any genre you can’t see yourself trying at some stage?
I can't see myself ever writing erotica or Mills and Boon type romances. I don't think I have the patience to write science fiction, with the necessity to create a whole new world or universe with its own structures and laws that I would then have to remember. In fact, I don't think I would tackle anything that involved masses of research. Basically, I'm a lazy writer.
I'm with you on the erotica. I'd just make myself laugh! Your new publication, The Art of Forgetting, features a woman who suffers from Alzheimer’s. As someone who has had a parent and parents-in-law with this disease, I can see you’ve caught it very accurately. The way people can go from good days to days when they really are lost in their own minds. What made you choose this subject?
My own mother-in-law died from Alzheimer's. She was a strong and remarkable woman and the disease ruined the last years of her life as well as affecting us. I know she wouldn't have minded me using those experiences in my writing. I also needed a reason for my character to write down what had happened when she was young, even though she had said nothing about it for all those years, and memory loss worked well in that respect.
Yes, it rang a lot of bells for me. And have you got any further irons in the fire? What can we expect from you next? Not that I’m pushing, or anything!
Yes, I've started the next one. I've written about 10,000 words. The plot is still evolving, but I knew that some of it was going to be set in 1963 so I am writing that section while I work out what is going to happen in the present day. I think I will be exploring further the way the past can come back to bite you, as I find that quite interesting. The difference will be that there will only be one point of view in this book, and the main character will be a woman of my age, not somebody a lot younger. That's all I can say for now – not because I'm being cagey, but because I don't know the rest myself!
I look forward to it. You've not written a duffer yet! You can find Julie's Amazon Author page here and I hope you'll pop in to have a look. Thanks, Julie, and best of luck with the new release.