I’m so pleased to be able to share with you an interview with one of my favourite new authors, Julie Shackman. Julie’s debut novel, Rock My World was released in June (and it’s brilliant! Check it out here) and her second novel Hero or Zero was released in September (click here to get your copy.).
Hi Julie, a massive welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview. Would you like to start by introducing yourself…? I trained as a journalist but writing romance has always been a dream of mine. When I’ve not got my head in a book or drafting one, I write verses and captions for greetings card companies. Writing at home seems to be incredibly difficult for me – I usually require coffee, music and noise. My second romcom, “Hero or Zero” has just been released. “Rock My World” was my debut romcom. I’m married, have two sons and live in Scotland.
Can you tell us a bit about the latest book Hero or Zero (released 27th September by Not So Noble Books)?
When single mum Chloe Jones wins a magazine competition to have TV heartthrob Ethan Blake live with her for a month, she thinks her dreams have come true. And the presence of the handsome star in her home and small Scottish town certainly causes a stir. But when Chloe begins to see his true colours, will she find the courage to face him, and admit where her heart truly lies?
Hero or Zero is your second novel. Did you find it easier or more difficult writing a second book?
In some ways it was easier (I seemed to be able to write a little faster!) but in other ways it was more difficult – I think a lot of writers worry that their subsequent books might not live up to their first novel but someone told me this is common!
Is the lead character in Hero or Zero, Chloe Jones, based on anyone you knowin real life or is she entirely fictional?
Not really. There are small elements of certain people in Chloe but she’s mainly from my imagination.
How about Ethan Blake? He is based on anyone famous…?
Looks-wise, Ethan is actually loosely based on one of my favourite actors, Richard Armitage! When I was sitting drafting out the characters, I imagined Ethan to be tall, dark and dramatic-looking. But I’m sure Mr Armitage is a much lovelier person than Ethan!
As you know I LOVED Rock My World. It’s received some fantastic reviews and was even The Sun newspapers eBook of the week. What did it feel like to have your novel out in the big, wide world?
It was very scary to begin with. You just wonder what sort of reception your work will have but I was delighted with the lovely comments. It really does put a huge smile on your face when people tell you they love your writing!
What’s the best thing about writing romance?
I think it’s creating sexy heroes and your own little world for your characters. It really is a fantastic job and I couldn’t imagine not writing or reading.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
A long one! I’d had lots of positive comments but no agents or publishers were biting and then just before Christmas last year, I read about Not So Noble Books, who were seeking new authors. I dropped them an e-mail with the first three chapters of Rock My World, my debut romcom and they replied back within about ten days to say they wanted to read the full MS. I fired that off to them straight away and then about three weeks after that, they e-mailed me to say they loved it and wanted to offer me a publishing contract. It was a great Christmas present!
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love romcoms and enjoy reading Jenny Colgan, Sophie Kinsella and Wendy Holden. I’m also quite partial to some Wilbur Smith and Jodi Picoult.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m in the middle of writing my third novel (again, it’s a romcom) but this one features a well-known historical figure from history….!