Julia Blake is a multi-genre writer, and has so far published contemporary fiction, romantic suspense, YA fantasy, dark folklore fantasy, steampunk, sci-fi, short stories, and poetry. She has had ten books published since 2014, as well as one novella, and a collection of short stories and poetry. Julia Blake resides in Bury St Edmunds in the East of England with her teenage daughter, one cuddle cat and one baby tortoise.
Julia Blake has been kind enough to share an exclusive snippet for her current writing project, the third and final installment of The Perennials Trilogy.
She looked at the bottle of wine standing on the side. She had told herself she wouldn’t open it that night, that she would wait until a special occasion or at least until the weekend. But all the while had known she was lying to herself.
Giving in to the inevitable, she opened the bottle and poured herself a glass – just one – she’d only have one. Sitting at the table she sipped at the welcoming warmth of the wine and felt it ooze down her gullet. She’d forgotten how good a decent wine could taste.
Slowly, as she drank, the events of the long day unravelled until the knot of stress around her heart finally relaxed enough for her to take a deep breath and another, and then the tears came.
Hot and regretful they slipped down her nose and over her chin. Trying to cry quietly, aware of Jessica sleeping above her head and that sounds tended to travel up the open staircase, Rose wiped at her face with a torn-off piece of kitchen paper.
“How did my life get like this,” she whispered and finished the glass in one gulp. She looked at the glass and then looked at the bottle.
Just one glass, she had said, but even as she had promised herself that, she had known she was lying.
Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book which was released last April is called Kiss & Tell and it is book four in my romantic suspense series, The Blackwood Family Saga. Each book tells the story of a different member of the Blackwood family and in Kiss & Tell it was Isabella’s turn. Just like Isabella herself, the book is exciting, fast paced, and action packed, and takes the reader on a whirlwind adventure ranging from London to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the wilds of North Wales.
Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?
Chaotic ~ unplanned ~ pantser ~ spontaneous ~ discovery
Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?
The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis instilled a life-long love of fantasy in me as a child, then the Dark is Rising books by Susan Cooper gave me a love of ancient British lore and myth. As an adult, Robin Hobb taught me not to be afraid of big books and long, rambling sagas.
Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
Very little really, peace and quiet and solitude. I’m not one of those coffee shop authors – I really don’t understand how they manage to focus in such a noisy and distracting environment. I couldn’t possibly work that way, and besides, I have a suspicion I pull funny faces when I write.
Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
The writing must be genuine. I think sometimes authors try to write what they think is “on trend” and will sell better, but fake writing will never fool a reader for long. Whilst I don’t believe in the saying – write what you know – after all, if that were true then so many genres like fantasy and sci-fi wouldn’t exist and we’d all be looking very long and hard at crime writers – I do believe in write what you feel. There must be honesty and emotion behind your words. If you are moved to tears or happiness by what you have written, then so will the reader be.
Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Do the best you can, until you know better. Then do better.” ~ Maya Angelou
I think this is such an apt saying for us indies, in that when we begin, we don’t know everything and we make a lot of mistakes, at least, I certainly did. Then we learn and improve. It is knowing that there is always still so much to learn and being prepared to grow and adapt as an author, that is so important.
Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?
I read pretty much everything but do have a firm love of fantasy.
Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Characters, definitely characters! They stroll into my mind as if they own the place and start talking to me, telling me their stories. Plot tends to come second as I listen to what my characters have to say.
Q9: What are you working on now?
I am about 8000 words into book thirteen. This will be the third and final book of The Perennials Trilogy and will tell the story of Rose, as well as tie up all the loose ends and storylines begun in Becoming Lili and then continued in Chaining Daisy.
Q10: What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The Ezekiel Factor by Caroline Noe, plus I am re-reading a book by Terry Brooks from the Shannara Chronicles.
To find out more about Julia Blake you can find links to all of her social media and books on her website at www.juliablakeauthor.co.uk.