Saturday, 12 July 2014

Sophia's Secret - Julie Ryan

About the book...
This is the second book in the Greek Island Mystery series.  Although each book is intended to be read as a standalone, some of the characters from the first book, ‘Jennas’s Journey’, do make an appearance. 

Kat has never understood why she was sent at the age of seven from Greece to live in England with her Aunt Tigi. When she receives an email from her grandmother, the first contact in over twenty years, informing her of her mother’s death, she knows this could be her last chance to find out the truth. Little by little she finds out the shocking facts as her grandmother opens her heart.  It seems everyone has a secret to tell, not only her grandmother, as Manoli, her school friend, also harbours a guilty secret. Then there’s a twenty year old mystery to solve as well as a murder and what happened to the missing Church treasure?

About the author...

Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and a dippy cat with half a tail.  

She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance!

She is the author of two novels set in Greece, “Jenna’s Journey” and “Sophia’s Secret” both part of the Greek Island Mystery series. She is currently working on a third book, ‘Pandora’s Prophecy.”

Author links: Facebook / Twitter / Blog

Author interview...

Hi Julie welcome to my blog :)
  • Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you for inviting me Dawn. Well, perhaps I should start by saying I’m a bookaholic. I can’t stop collecting books and have hundreds in boxes just waiting to be shelved in addition to those on my Kindle. Soon, we’ll need a bigger house! There, now that’s out of the way I can tell you that I live in rural Gloucestershire with my husband, young son and two cats, one with only half a tail but that’s another story. When I’m not writing I can be found teaching English to French companies or treading the boards at our local amateur dramatic group. Oh, and I also run our local village post office.
  • What can you tell us about your next novel Sophie’s Secret?
This is my second novel and is part of the Greek Island Mystery series. Each book can be read alone as they feature different characters from the same island but you may want to read ‘Jenna’s Journey’ first. In ‘Sophia’s Secret’ Kat receives an email from her grandmother, whom she hasn’t seen since she was sent to England aged seven, telling her of her mother’s death. When she returns to Greece Kat tries to find out what happened to her parents as her grandmother Sophia gradually reveals her long held secret. Oh, and there’s an unidentified body, a kidnap and the mystery of the missing Church treasure to solve. It’s not quite a thriller, not quite a romance but hopefully something for everyone.
  • After university you did a fair bit of working abroad.  Did you ever consider settling abroad permanently?
I’ve been lucky enough to live and work in France, Thailand, Poland and Greece and when I was young and fancy free I must admit the thought of living abroad permanently did cross my mind. In those days though, before emails and Skype, it was difficult to be away from family and friends and the lure of home always pulled me back. I haven’t ruled it out completely though and you never know, I may well end up retiring somewhere warm. I have never had a life plan as my life so far has taken me to paces I never could have imagined so now I have an open mind and try to embrace every opportunity. I would definitely love to do more travelling when time and finances permit.
  • Did you always want to be a writer and if you weren’t what would your dream job be?
I have always written even as a young child yet never thought of it as a career – probably self doubt made me question if I was good enough to make it as an author. At one point I wanted to be a classical musician until reality stepped in and I knew I just didn’t have the talent. Instead I became a French teacher in a secondary school. I did that for many years until, after having my son, I decided that I wanted to stay at home and became an online tutor. My ideal job apart from writing would be an actress. I’d love to be an extra on ‘Coronation Street’ too.
  • The cover of Sophie’s Secret is stunning, how much input do you have into the cover designs of your books?
Oh thank you so much – I’m pleased you love the cover. One of the advantages of self-publishing is that I have total control over the cover, which is just as well as I’m a bit of a control freak. Basically, I choose the cover design but as I’m not at all tecchie, the layout, fonts etc I leave to a company to sort out. Thanks ‘ Heartfelt Design’ for a great job!
  • Describe a typical day in your life of Julie Ryan the author.
Julie Ryan author is just one of the caps I’ll be wearing on a given day, along with Julie Ryan Teacher, Julie Ryan Mum – you get the picture! On a typical day though, after getting my son off to school, I come back for a coffee – I can’t start writing without my caffeine fix. Then I’ll read through the last couple of chapters that I’ve written. I always like to end on a cliffhanger so it’s easy to pick up the thread again. Then on a good day, if I’m not interrupted too much, I might write for a couple of hours before it’s time for another coffee. I like to write and edit later so a lot of what I’ve just written may not make it into the final book but I always remember being told that you can’t edit a blank page! I’ve found this to be true and even if I later decide that it’s drivel than it may spark off another idea or come back in another form at a later date. After a quick sandwich, I’ll probably be teaching in the afternoon before rushing out to pick up my son again. I really like all the family to sit down to dinner together as it’s often the only time we get to talk about our day. I usually try to read in bed and keep a notebook by my bedside just in case I get a good idea during the night.
  • What was the process and how long did it take from writing your first page to having the book published?
My first book, ‘Jenna’s Journey’ originally started life as a short story. It was only a chance encounter with a fellow writer that persuaded me to dust it down and turn it into a novel. I’m a real pantster and can’t plan for the life of me. Other than a location and a couple of characters, I had no idea where the book was going to take me. There were a lot of rewrites as I got myself into a real muddle at times so it probably took about eighteen months to write. Deciding to self publish meant that it wasn’t too long afterwards before it appeared on Amazon. I did have a group of beta readers who were fantastic and it’s thanks to them that the book is in the shape it is.
  • How do you research your storylines, are they complete fabrication or part fact?
Living in Greece provided me with a lot of factual information about the life, culture and food of the country, which I draw on in my writing. The characters and locations, however, are purely fictional. I did a lot of research into Greek celebrations and architecture but I really need to do a research trip to Greece for my next book – hint hint. I only have a vague idea of the storyline and I love it when the characters take me off in a direction I hadn’t foreseen so pure fabrication and an overactive imagination.
  • Now the book is published and ‘out there’ how do you feel?
My first book was published in September 2013 and I get a buzz each time I see my name on the cover or when a reader leaves a lovely comment. Even so, I still find it odd to hear myself referred to as an author. It’s a lovely feeling though and I’m very proud to have completed not one but two novels. The first one will always be special to me though.
  • Is there a message for the reader, what do you hope they get from one of your books?
As I get older I’m becoming more and more aware that we are only on this planet for a few short years. If anything, ’Jenna’s Journey’, is about finding yourself, discovering what makes you happy and taking a chance. ‘Sophia’s Secret’ is about not letting the past destroy your future so in a way it’s a complimentary message about living in the present because that’s all we have.
  • What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve just started work on the third book in the series, provisionally entitled, ‘Pandora’s Prophecy’. I can’t reveal too much at the moment , as I don’t know what is going to happen myself. I’m also writing a Christmas novella, which will be totally different and more chick-lit than the Greek series.

Now for a little bit of fun, a glimpse at the real 
Julie Ryan:-

What’s your favourite tipple? 
Red wine

Do you prefer savoury or sweet things?
 Sweet definitely

Friends coming round  - cook or get a take-away? 
Depends if friends like spaghetti bolognese

Do you prefer hot or cold climates? 
Warm but not too hot

Do you prefer a beach holiday or city break? 

Which would you prefer luxury cruise or fly long haul first class? 
Luxury cruise

Do you prefer to go to the cinema or theatre? 

Which do you prefer comedy or true stories?
When watching a film? comedy

Do you have any pets? 
Two cats, Gizmo and Smudge

Tell us something we don’t know about you? 
I was once on a game show where Terry Wogan was the host but I didn’t win anything

Thanks for visiting my blog Julie:)


  1. Thanks so much for taking part in the promo day. x

  2. Thank you for running this fab giveaway ☺xx