I'm a writer ... because I have to write. I don't always find it easy ... in fact sometimes it's like pulling teeth but at anyone time, I seem to be at the mercy of a bunch of characters in my head, knocking loudly wanting to escape. Wrestling them to the ground and pinning their stories down takes considerable effort but so far I've managed it several times and have five complete novels to my name, along with numerous short stories and a few competition wins. The first of these, will be published by small but perfectly formed independent publisher, Choc Lit in June 2014.
An interview with Jules Wake...
I recently asked Jules a few questions about herself and life as an author and would like to thank Choclit for this opportunity.
Welcome to my blog Jules.
Thank you for having me ☺
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
In my head I’m still about 29 although my body doesn’t always comply. I’m hoping one day I shall be famous enough to go on Strictly Come Dancing which I adore. Again in my head I’m a brilliant dancer contrary to all other evidence.
I’m married (more of him later) with two teenage children who are currently displaying all the irritating attributes of that age group.
I’ve been a daydreamer for as long as I can remember, making up scenes in my head and I always assumed everyone else did the same.
I’ve heard you lived in New Zealand for a while before you began writing. How did you end up there and did you ever consider not coming back?
My mum emigrated to New Zealand when I was in my twenties and bought a vineyard in Blenheim. I went out for a visit and fell in love with the country. A few years later after breaking up with the love of my life I decided to start afresh and upped sticks to move to New Zealand.
I’d been working in the UK wine industry doing the PR for one of the big supermarkets and I applied for residency which was granted. I lived and worked in Blenheim for six months, which I absolutely adored. Everyone was so friendly, the pace of life was more relaxed and I worked in the wine industry … what’s not to like!
Unfortunately or fortunately, just before I left the UK, my ex realised he’d made a mistake and we got back together. Terrible timing! He flew out to New Zealand the following February and proposed on the shores of Lake Wanaka. So I came home to get married.
We did consider coming back to NZ but like the character of Kate in my book, I always felt a little bit of an outsider. There’s a scene in which Kate describes how talks about the Clangers and no one in Australia knows what she’s talking about. These tiny cultural differences can really reinforce how far from home you are. For example, I once served a gentleman in a bar where I worked and to his disgust I had ask him for his name three times because I didn’t catch it … he was less than impressed and my kiwi colleagues thought it was hilarious – apparently he was really famous over there!
Much as I loved New Zealand, and the people, it wasn’t quite home.
How and why did you get into writing?
I always wanted to write a book but never got round to it. I went on gardening leave when my job in PR in London finished and started writing. To be honest it was a pile of pants! Luckily in 2006 I went on a course run by the local council, Writing for Profit or Pleasure. It taught me a huge amount about writing and when the course finished, I and a couple of people from the course set up our own writing circle. The encouragement and support from those lovely people has helped me achieve my dream of getting published.
If you weren’t an author what would your dream job be?
When I worked in PR, I used to work for a fabrics manufacturer and had to visit the samples showroom. I just loved the colours, textures and designs of all the fabrics so I’d like to work with textiles … but doing what, I’m not sure because I’m rubbish at drawing and designing.
What was the process and how long did it take from writing your first page to having the book published?
Depressingly years! I’d say from those early early drafts until I held the book in my hands, it took eight years.
Describe a typical day in the life of Jules the author.
I wish I could be a full time author but in the meantime I’m up at 6.30, arrive at work by 8 to my job in a school as the school business manager.
Luckily I do love my job and I get the school holidays to write which is a bonus. I’m usually home by 5.00pm, cook tea for the family, ferry teenagers to various destinations and then I pour myself a glass of wine and lock myself in the study to write my target wordage each day which is usually a 1,000 words.
How do you research your story lines, for example, did you go ‘speed dating’?
I collect people! Whenever I meet people who have an interesting job or have had an interesting experience, I mentally file them away to interview later. Recently I met a doctor who works in a sexual health clinic, he’s on my list for my next book!
I didn’t actually go speed dating but I did speak to a couple of people who had been. For my second next novel I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon in the make-up and wig department of the Royal Opera house, which was a real treat.
The cover of your debut novel Talk To Me is simply stunning, how much input did you have in the design?
None! I was shown four different designs by the publisher but it was a no brainer. The designer, Berni, had read the book and she captured the story perfectly with this cover.
Now the book is printed and ‘out there’ how do you feel?
Thrilled, especially as I’m getting such positive feedback from people.
Is there a message for the reader, what do you hope they get from one of your books?
A damn good read, characters they fall in love with and that bereft feeling when they get to the end of a book and feel sad at saying goodbye to the characters.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve been writing a book a year for the last few years, so I have quite a few in the pipeline. I’m not sure what the next one will be … watch this space.
Now for a little fun, a glimpse at the real Jules Wake:-
What’s your favourite tipple?
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc of course – Jackson’s Estate or Wairau River
Do you prefer savoury or sweet things?
I’ll take the fifth on that but don’t leave an open bag of crisp anywhere near me.
Friends coming round - cook or get a take-away?
Cook, cook, cook – I love feeding friends.
Do you prefer hot or cold climates?
Hot … I do not do skiing.
Do you prefer a beach holiday or city break?
As long as there’s time to read I don’t really mind but I do love Barcelona (and it has a beach!)
Which would you prefer luxury cruise or fly long haul first class?
I hate boats! My Dad lectures on board cruise ships and loves being on board but it’s my idea of hell. Crossing the Marlborough Straits from Wellington to Picton on the ferry was a major trial for me. I adore flying and everything associated with it, in fact I would happily just go to an airport to spend the day wandering around there. I’d love to be able to fly for real and although I’m not brave enough to jump out of a plane, I have been indoor sky diving a couple of times, which is amazing and pretty close to flying!
Do you prefer to go to the cinema or theatre?
That is a very tricky question, I love going to the theatre but my local cinema is a refurbished, lovingly recreated 1930’s style cinema, The Rex. It has lovely deep plush red seats, a bar in the lower seating area where the seats are arranged around candlelit tables. Tan eclectic mix of art house and mainstream films are shown and any visit there is a real treat.
Which do you prefer comedy or true stories when watching a film?
Rom-coms every time I recently saw the film version of Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money, which was a brilliant adaptation. Although I also love those quirky French sub-titled films which can straddle comedy and tragedy, like A Very Long Engagement, Amelie and MicMacs
Do you have any pets?
As a family we are rubbish with pets … we have tried. Our rabbits were second cousins to Houdini and kept escaping all the time. One of our Chinese dwarf hamsters ate the other one and then developed a respiratory illness … you try writing a romantic scene with an asthmatic hamster panting in the cage next to you. We would like a dog but at the moment we are out of the house most of the day so it wouldn’t be fair. Instead we borrow one, a gorgeous black lab, Ash, who comes while his family are away each year. (He has a starring role in another novel that I’m half way through writing) That works just fine …although even with him we’ve managed a couple of disasters!
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
Normally when I get that question on a training course, I say I write Romantic fiction! But I suppose I can tell you that I’m incredibly clumsy. I fall over quite a lot … I fell down the stairs just after New Year and managed to break three ribs … unfortunately none of my family were surprised.
Thank you for visiting my blog Jules :)