Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Interview with Julie Shackman

Today I would like to welcome Julie Shackman on to my blog.

Hi Julie

Welcome to Cometbabesbooks!

How old were you when you started writing?
I actually started writing stories when I was about nine or ten! I used to buy cheap exercise jotters from Woolworths.
Who are your favourite writers?
There are many writers I admire but my favourites are Wendy Holden; Jenny Colgan; Sophie Kinsella and Nick Spalding.

What books did you read as a child?
I used to love the Mallory Towers books by Enid Blyton. I couldn't read them quickly enough.

What is Your favourite book and why?
It has to be "Who's Afraid of Mr Wolfe?" by Hazel Osmond. It's full of passion, laughter and emotion. It left me breathless at times and I had to keep reading.

Do you have a favourite place you like to write and why?
I usually find coffee shops are a good place for me. I like music, bustle and noise. I tend to be easily distracted if I try to write at home, so I definitely get more writing done if I'm somewhere with a latte!

What inspired you to take up writing?
I've always loved books and storytelling. I trained as a journalist and had two childrens' picture books published years ago, but it has always been the romance genre that I've wanted to read and write.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?
Maybe small traits but not anything major. I like to try and create my characters from scratch.

What items are on your desk/where you write?
I have lots of pens; pretty notebooks and a miniature of the gorgeous Richard Armitage as Thorin, which my Husband bought me for Christmas. If I had the real thing, I'd never get any work done...!

Do you have a routine for your writing?
I try to get started first thing, once my two sons are off to school. Then I attempt to do as much as I can before they get home. After that, I tend not to get too much writing done until the next day.

Any tips for writers who are just starting out?
Read as much as you can, especially in the genre you write in. I think it's a great way to polish your writing and see where you can improve or tweak things. Also, I know it's a cliche but don't give up! I truly believe if you want it badly enough, that is half the battle.

Can you share a sneak peak at what you're working on at the moment?
I've just finished writing my second novel (rom-com) about what happens when the so-called "ordinary" collides with "celebrity" and am polishing that at the moment. I've also just started doing some research for my third novel (also a rom-com) which features a well-known historical figure.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love listening to music (especially rock); going for long walks; reading and watching rom-com movies.

Do you like it quiet when you're writing or do you need background noise?(music or TV)
I need music on and make sure the radio is turned up loud. That's why I like the coffee shops I go to, as they usually play good music and it seems to help me write.

If one of your books was made into a film/TV series, who would you like as the leading lady/man?
For Stevie, my ghostly rock star, someone like Santiago Cabrera would be perfect - a twinkle in his eye and bags of charisma. Matt would have to be played by Bradley Cooper. Sexy, wolf-like and with lots of presence. Matt is supposed to have a brush of Bradley about him. As for Ruby, somebody passionate and lovely like Natalie Portman.

Non book questions

Favourite holiday place?
Italy. I love the people, the food and the scenery.

Favourite food?
Italian - again!

What kind of music do you listen to?
I love rock music. My favourite band is Fleetwood Mac. I also like listening to artists like Bon Jovi; Stevie Nicks; Kate Bush, Thea Gilmore and Lissie.  

Favourite film?
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

Favourite Chocolate?
The darker and nuttier the better!

Favourite drink?
I don't really drink but like the occasional glass of white wine.

Thanks for this great interview Jo!

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Jo xx

Julie’s book Rock my World is out now, look out for my review coming soon.

About Rock My World

Ruby Cameron is an ambitious reporter for a local paper where she is fed scraps of news, and lives with a man whose “idea of living dangerously is to leave the heating on when we pop out to the shops”. But after catching her squeaky clean boyfriend in flagrante delicto she ups sticks and moves into her own small home, only to discover the ghostly presence of a cheeky rock star who becomes her confidant as the dynamics of her small town, and her feelings about her dashing new boss, begin to throw up more questions than she can answer. Will Ruby discover who she really is, and perhaps more importantly, who she wants to be?

About The Author
Like so many other writers, my journey to publication has been a long and varied one!

I initially trained as a journalist but I always wanted to write contemporary romance.

I had two children’s picture books published some years ago, as well as a few poems in anthologies. Life sometimes gets in the way though, so the idea of writing novels went on the backburner.

After our two sons grew a bit older, I found more time again to indulge in my love of reading and that was when I knew I had to try and write contemporary romance.

Whenever I got the opportunity, I put pen to paper and then when I finished my novel and polished it, I started firing it off to literary agents and publishers. That was when the fun really started!

This went on for a number of months. I received a few full MS requests and lots of positive comments generally, which was great – but nobody was biting.
Then just before Christmas, I read about the dynamic (!) London based digital publishers Not So Noble Books, who were considering new authors.

I submitted a query, synopsis and first three chapters and got a reply from them several days later. They said they enjoyed my writing and asked to read the full MS.

I sent it off straight away and tried not to get too excited. I even attempted to forget about it, which is easier said than done. But to my shock and delight, about two weeks before Christmas, I received an e-mail from NSNB, offering me a publishing contract.

I remember hyperventilating and then asking my eldest son to read out the e-mail to make sure it wasn’t just wishful thinking!

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