Author Interview - Julia Blake

I’m JuliaBlake, a multi-genre author of fourteen books published to date and book fifteen on the cusp of being launched. I live in the East of England with one very friendly little black cat, a grumpy baby tortoise, and my teenage daughter when she’s home from university. I like the simple things – good food, red wine, and preferably sharing both with good friends.

Genre: So far? Contemporary drama, romantic suspense, YA fantasy, folklore fantasy, steampunk fairy-tale retelling, sci-fi, short stories, and poetry.


Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what is it about?

It’s called Mage Quest and it is Volume II of the Erinsmore Chronicles. It’s been four long years since Ruby was last in Erinsmore, but, when she returns it’s to find over twenty years have passed there. Her friends are older, and Ruby is an aunt to eighteen-year-old twins. Agreeing to go on a quest to find her niece’s mage, Ruby has no idea of the adventures that await them. With dragons, a cyclops, brigands, pirates, a beautiful demon intent on world domination, oh, and mermaids – this book is a wild exciting ride from beginning to end.

Q2: How long does it take you to write a book? How long does each stage of the process usually take?

I’m a very fast and accurate writer. Mage Quest is 100,000 words long and it took me 23 days to hammer it out. Luckily, I write an extremely clean first draft. I run each chapter through spellcheck and Grammarly as I go, then read through once it’s finished to check continuity. I listen to it on readback, and then it’s off to my proofreaders. I make any amendments they suggest. It goes to my beta readers, and then it’s good to be published.

Q3: What is your favourite type of character to write?

Definitely villains. They are so much more interesting than the good guys. I’m fascinated by what makes a character evil. Were they born that way or did circumstances in their life force them down that path? The villain in Mage Quest is a beautiful, sweet, and compelling demon called Lyllith, who has the power to force people to obey her and believe they are happy doing so. She feeds off their emotions and wants the whole world to love her.

Q4: Do you mine your own life for ideas, settings and/or characters? If so, please give an example from your current book release where you have done this.

In my fantasy novels, I don’t really draw from my personal life, but in my contemporary novels, I definitely do. The Perennials Trilogy is a prime example of this. In book one, Becoming Lili, I draw upon my experiences of being viciously bullied at school. In book two, Chaining Daisy, I relive the hell of being in an abusive marriage and how I escaped and survived. Book three, Rambling Rose, is the aftermath of a marriage break up, of a demoralising and unfair divorce, and of finding myself a single parent.

Q5: What is something you wish you had known earlier on in your writing career?

Write whenever you can – because housework and all the other stuff I procrastinate with will always be there. Don’t worry about what other writers are doing and don’t compare yourself to them. Write because you love it.

Q6: What do you do when you find yourself in a bit of a writing rut? Is there any strategy you find works for you to help the words start flowing again? 

I don’t tend to get into writing ruts. Because of the way I write – a process I like to call binge writing – I can go months without writing a word, but it is all churning away in my mind, so, when I finally sit down and start to write it’s like the dam has burst and all these words come gushing out.

Q7: What is your favourite writing resource?

Grammarly is useful, I tend to run each chapter through it as I finish writing them. I also like the read-back facility on Word. It is such an incredibly useful editing tool. As for actual writing resources – I’m a simple writer and I don’t need fancy notepads, pens, stickers, notice boards, plotting apps, writing self-help books, playlists, or any of the stuff that other writers seem to need. No, when I sit down to write it’s just me, my laptop, and a glass of water.

Q8: You are such a prolific writer with a wide range of characters and settings, and you seem to dip in and out of your different book series. What strategies do you have to remember all of the separate details and character voices?

Ooh, I honestly don’t know. Maybe because all my characters are like family to me. They have such a clear and distinct presence within my mind that it’s easy to keep them all straight. I guess it’s a bit like when you have several TV shows on the go at once – you keep them all straight in your mind because they’re all so different.

Q9: What authors or books inspire you the most?

I love the epic fantasy novels by Robin Hobb – she taught me not to be afraid of long books and great sweeping book series. Of sowing the seeds of a plot arc that won’t be fulfilled until fifteen books later – to play the long game.

Q10: What are you currently reading?

I am currently re-reading the books by Karen Miller. I love the world-building in her novels and the complexities of her characters. I will also be reading an indie book because I like to read and review a fellow indie author once a week.

To find out more about Julia Blake check out her, or give her a follow on Instagram @juliablakeauthor. Mage Quest is now available in paperback and ebook. From the blurb:

Erinsmore ...

Ruby has longed to return for six lonely years. When her wish is granted, over twenty years have elapsed in that magical land. Ruby's family and friends are older. Her dragon, Iliana, is fully grown. And she's an aunt to teenage twins.

After his mother's death, Finley Smith is sent to live with his uncle Mick. Curious about the red-headed woman who visits Mick to talk about somewhere called Erinsmore, Finley follows Ruby into a strange new world. Invited to accompany the royal twins on a quest to find the Mage to the Heir Apparent, Ruby and Finley have no idea of the dangers ahead.

Joined on their journey by the twins' bodyguard, Merric, and the mysterious healer, Xem, this odd assortment of adventurers will face dangerous creatures, dark magic, and an evil foe intent on conquering Erinsmore.

Against overwhelming adversity, Ruby and her friends will discover that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.

Let the Quest Commence ...

Mage Quest is Volume Two of the wonderful Erinsmore Chronicles

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