An Interview with talented novelist – Julia Wild
Firstly, I must thank Lizzie Lamb for inviting me onto this wonderful blog.
Julia, you have always been unfailingly kind and supportive of New Romantics Press so it is our pleasure to have you on our blog. So, pull up a pew and tell us something about yourself.
I’m the current Hon Secretary of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I’m just beginning my third year in the position. The post involves dealing with day to day admin of the RNA taking and producing minutes after meetings. I’m lucky to be working with such a fabulous bunch of hard-working committee members. Until I joined the committee, I had absolutely no inkling of all the effort that goes on behind the scenes of the RNA.
My writing life began in childhood when I would dream up stories to star in. As time went on, I wrote stories for chums, involving them and their choice of pop star/film star – or boy in our class. It was always romance, at its most innocent.
Before I married I had a variety of jobs, bank work (was politely asked to leave due to numeric dyslexia, which I didn’t know I had) Nightclub waitress (mini-skirt, butcher’s apron, white knee boots) loved it – but had all my tips stolen from apron pocket. Needlewoman Shop assistant in Regent Street, legal secretary…
As you do I married, had children, and then one fateful Saturday in 1989, I was given a Saturday job looking after a double glazing showroom. Well, as you can imagine, it wasn’t the busiest shop in the street! Once I’d done a bit of dusting and hoovering, I pulled a romance book from my handbag and began reading… And pretty soon thought: ‘I can do better than this.’ Anyone who writes knows – it’s seriously not that easy and there is so much you can only learn by actually writing. The obsession began. I wrote tomes – a contemporary crime/romance, three whopping historicals – 250 thousand words each – typed and retyped many times!
In 1993, I won a competition to spend a week on a historical writing course and whilst on this, one of the tutors, the late Pamela Cleaver said I must join the RNA. I joined the New Writers’ Scheme and spent until 1997 submitting a variety of historical, contemporary romances and medical romances until in 1997, my book was accepted for publication. It was called Dark Canvas and went on to win the RNA’s New Writers’ Award (now the Joan Hessayon Award). Since then I had another four books published and Illusions won the RNA’s First Romance Prize (now the Rona Rose) in 2003.
The publishers closed though in 2003 and in 2014, when I was made redundant from my library post of 18 years– I decided to go through the process of publishing my backlist. Once I obtained the rights back, with the help of the Society of Authors, who are amazing. I had help and advice on self-publishing from several RNA members – Lizzie Lamb included (thank you, Lizzie!) Freda Lightfoot and Jenny Haddon. I’m sure there are more who I spoke with – apologies for not mentioning your names.
One of the highlights of self-publishing was to bring out a new book, Moon Shadow – a book that was accepted by two publishers but never made it to print. In 2016, I brought this one out and it felt wonderful to free it from the office drawer at long last. A lovely university art graduate called Bori worked on the covers for me, and as anyone who has been involved in this process will know – it does take a lot of tweaking.
I write as Julia Wild and have recently freed my 18th Century romances from their corsets in the cupboard. One of them is currently with my editor friend who will tell me honestly whether it is worth working on! I hope so – I did shorten it from 250 thousand words to 96 thousand words, and I think when you do that, you can never be sure it has worked! Time will tell.
Before I leave, I must say thank you again to Lizzie Lamb and the New Romantics’ Press Blog for generously inviting me along here.
The pleasure has been all ours, Julia. See you very soon.
Julie Vince (Writes as Julia Wild) – do go over to her Amazon page for reviews, blurbs, and much, much more about her books.
Before I learnt to read, my youngest aunt loved to read to me, except when I asked to hear more of The Water Babies. Aunt Ede preferred fairy tales or any Beatrix Potter. I loved those too but I wanted to know what happened to Tom. All her life Aunt read only romance so what she probably hated most in The Water Babies was the ending:
“And of course Tom married Ellie!” My dear child, what a silly notion!
I’ve loved books forever, couldn’t wait to learn to read, and I wrote, letters, a sort of diary to my absent mother. As an only and adopted child, inherent loner and compulsive reader, I spent hours curled in a cavernous armchair, like most of my generation, immersed in Enid Blyton, Richmal Compton, the classics – Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Three Musketeers, Little Women – how those March girls got on my wick. I thought, one day I would like to write a book.
What sort of book?
As you can see from the picture of my recent paperback reads, I don’t favour any particular genre. On Kindle, since Christmas I’ve also read, Up Close by Henriette Gyland, Terry Tyler’s Dream On and the first two volumes of Peter May’s Lewis trilogy. None of these diverse books, in my opinion, are worthy of less than 5 stars, and I have just finished The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Set in the early 1980s, Eugenides shows not tells how, despite ‘deconstruction’, the novel today remains essentially the same as Austen’s. Like any of Jane’s, and many other ‘literary’ works, it’s about the nature of human love.
So what sort of book, when I finally came to write it, is Last Bite of the Cherry?
Dark romance, Lizzie says. My heroine, Monica says, “I don’t want to get married. Not ever. I want to live”. Also a quote from one of my Amazon reviewers – “The three interwoven love stories keep up a fast pace which made it very hard to put down.” And thanks to New Romantics 4 it’s out there being read.