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New Romantics Press welcomes Julia Wild

Julia Wild

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!

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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.

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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.

To read a sample, buy or share this book, click here. 

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.PhotoFunia-1464513640

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. 1-PhotoFunia-1496071553

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LOVE CAN’T BE HURRIED…

…NOR COULD TWINS OF A GAZELLE, MY SECOND NOVEL!

Twins of a Gazelle MEDIUM (2)Twins of a Gazelle is out, a mere year and three months later than my New Romantics Press co-conspirators got out their seconds, the other fab three, Adrienne, June and Lizzie. My small band of readers are probably wondering, ‘So, what took you so long?’ Taking my cue from The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love”, I couldn’t hurry Twins of a Gazelle. No matter how hard I tried, I just had to take as long as it took. How (see below) will probably explain everything.

Way back in March 2014, Sarah Houldcroft told us what every writer needs to know which is what readers want to know. I will do my best to answer her five questions.

1. What inspired you to write your novel?

Twins of a Gazelle began with a house nestling in the Leicestershire countryside. Over the years I have regularly driven past this house very much like the one in the picture [insert jpeg of Calista’s house]. I thought, one day I shall write a story about the people who live there. Lonely, disillusioned, contrite Calista Blake and her charming, wealthy and manipulative husband Adam Burgess seemed ideal occupants. They began to haunt the house as they did my imagination. BUT, Calista needed to escape her comfortable prison and where better than to the enchanted Greek island of Ithaca where she becomes spellbound by PJ Wood.

The Old Rectory

2. How, why and where do you write?

catEasiest one first, where, here in my small back room. Not in a café, a library or on the kitchen table, an attention-seeking cat is distraction enough, though interruptions from The Long-suffering One with coffee or tea are always welcome.

Easier second, why, because I must or I would go ever so slightly madder.

How, slowly and with difficulty. I start with a character, to-date, a woman, clever, successful at what she does. Her flaw, to begin with, she is emotionally naïve. In both Twins of a Gazelle and Last Bite of the Cherry, the main character’s story-thread is interwoven with that of a second female character who started out as my heroine. On reflection, theirs was, for me, too straightforward, not so Calista’s in Twins of a Gazelle, nor Monica’s in Last Bite of the Cherry. I like to probe their character, their motivation, their psyche, find just the right words to convey their state of mind, their emotions, and the undercurrents beneath an-on-the-surface ordinary situation. All this is equally relevant to the men they fall in love with, the two or three or more ‘heroes’ before they find ‘the one’. To me all my heroes are lovable in their own way, even Adam. As a reader, please feel free to take your pick. My novels are so not boy-meets-girl, jump through a few hoops and then live happily ever after. For me, there are no endings, just new beginnings. At the end, I would like my readers to think, ‘Knowing them both as well as I do now . . .’ Maybe some do.

Afterthought: One of my reviewers of Last Bite of the Cherry wondered if the ending would have been ‘happy’ – to my mind it was more like ‘satisfying’ – if the main protagonist had been ‘poverty struck’. If I were to write about people struggling to make a living, feed their children, becoming homeless, that would be something quite else, which brings me to question 3.

3. Have you experienced first-hand any of the aspects in your books?

Well, I have been known to fall in love with unsuitable men, not unsuitable in themselves, just not for me. That’s character-building and informative. Makes you think ‘What do I really, really want?’ Answer: ‘Not this’. Also, many moons ago, I took myself by surprise by becoming pregnant. Now there’s a surreal experience. Anyone agree?

4. Did you base your character on a real person?

My characters come from my imagination based on many years’ observation of the way people are and behave towards each other. At social gatherings, events, meetings, airports, in trains, part of the time, most of the time I love sitting back people watching. Fascinating.

5. If so, was it you?

I suspect I do what most writers do which is imagine myself as the person I’m writing about at any given time, what they’re thinking, feeling, seeing and hearing, smelling, doing. I try my best to make it ‘real’. Then it’s me in so far as it’s what I may have thought, felt etc. in similar situations.

‘Nuff said, I think. I shall now sail off into the sunset in PJ Wood’s sloop.

PJ's sloop

Extract from Twins of a Gazelle:

‘PJ Wood.’ She took the hand he extended. Not used to callouses her turn to recoil except she didn’t. ‘Everyone calls me PJ.  Not even my mother has the courage of her convictions.’ He spoke clear, educated English with just a hint of mid-Atlantic. She refused to ask why he was known by his initials.

‘Calista Blake. I mean Burgess.’ He took the chair opposite. Whilst he discussed with Marcos what he would eat and drink, she could observe him without seeming rude. Beneath his polo shirt, he was lean and sinewy, the ideal shape for a long-distance runner. She wondered how he earned his living. ‘Are you eating?’ He smiled across the table. His face lit by light from inside the taverna, his eyes startled her. They were the deepest lobelia-blue. ‘I’ve already eaten.’ Not very much, her insides had been a tangle of knots. The thought of spending the night up at the villa alone . . . Anyone would think she was not used to being on her own, and Kioni was the least threatening of places. ‘Only a salad,’ Marcos said. ‘Why don’t I get Petros to prepare you the mixed fish dish for two? PJ would like that.’ He agreed he would. She was tempted. The wine had helped her relax and the mezedhes had given her an appetite. A meal would prolong the time she could spend in company. Her eyes met PJ’s, his look as guarded as she felt.

Twins of a Gazelle, by Margaret Cullingford, available on Amazon –http://tinyurl.com/qj2hzlf

IT BEGAN WITH A BOY CALLED TOM

Tom for blog My first blog ever and I’m following Lizzie Lamb, Adrienne Vaughan and June Kearns!

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!

Water Babies for blogDespite most of it going over my head, I believe The Water Babies sowed the seeds of my yen to write fiction.  As you can see I still have that book.

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?

Read since Christmas 2012 No.1As 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.

ThistleAnd why the thistle, pleasant to look at yet prickly?  Symbolic of Last Bite of the Cherry and my next novel, Twins of a Gazelle.

Mags