About author, Julie Shackman: I’m a writer of contemporary romance and harbour an obsession of books; pretty stationery and handbags. “Rock My World” is my first novel. I also write captions and verses for greetings card companies and am an avid reader. I’m married with two gorgeous sons and live in Scotland.
Describe yourself in five words: Grateful to my wonderful publishers!
Tell us about your book, “Rock My World”: It’s a contemporary romance but with a paranormal edge to it. I’m a huge music fan, so there’s a lot of rock anthem references in the story too. I hope it makes readers laugh, smile and cry – all at the same time!
How long have you been writing? I have been writing ever since I can remember. I fell in love with reading from an early age and always knew I wanted to write. I trained as a journalist and I think that has definitely helped with awareness of deadlines!
What was your writing/editing/publishing process like? Like so many other writers, it has been a long one! I had two children’s picture books published some years ago, as well as a few poems in anthologies. But I always wanted to write romance. Life sometimes gets in the way though, so the idea went on the backburner. After our two sons grew a bit older, I decided to try and write contemporary romance. Whenever I got the opportunity, I put pen to paper and then when I finished my novel and polished it, I started firing it off to literary agents and publishers. That is really when the fun starts!
This went on for a number of months. I received a few full MS requests and lots of positive comments generally, which was great – but nobody was biting.
Then just before Christmas, I read about Not So Noble Books, who were considering new authors. I submitted a query, synopsis and first three chapters and got a reply from them several days later. They said they enjoyed my writing and asked to read the full MS.
I sent it off straight away and tried not to get too excited. I even attempted to forget about it, which is easier said than done. But to my shock and delight, about two weeks before Christmas, I received an e-mail from NSNB, offering me a publishing contract.
I remember hyperventilating and then asking my eldest son to read out the e-mail to make sure it wasn’t just wishful thinking!
Coffee or tea? Coffee – usually.
What is the funniest line from “Rock My World”?
Molly regards me carefully from under her messy fringe. “Wouldn’t it be nice if just for once he put down his jay cloth and had you up against the radiator?”
I take another glug of wine and let the fruity taste envelop my mouth.
“He’d probably want to bleed it first.”
Which author would you love to meet? Ooh – Can I be a bit greedy here please? There are so many great writers I’d love to meet…. Wendy Holden; Jenny Colgan or Sophie Kinsella would be wonderful. I love their writing.
How did you come up with the title of your book? It just sprang into my mind when I was drafting ideas and characters. I wanted a play on words for the rock theme and that just seemed to fit.
Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? Any – as long as it’s a great story, I don’t think it matters.
How did you celebrate when your first book was published? I went out with my Husband and two sons and celebrated with a lovely dinner.
What are you 2014 writing goals? To finish polishing my second novel and start writing my third.
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? My second novel deals with the funny and emotional when celebrity collides with the so-called “ordinary”. My third novel is still in its early stages, but is also a contemporary romance and features a well-known character from history…
**Additional notes from Julie: It is a cliché but it is true – Don’t Give Up! When I was ready to walk away after having received more rejections, there were some fantastic writers who told me to keep reading, keep writing and keep going. I’m so glad I did.
Why You Should Fall In Love With Your Hero
I can remember the first time it happened.
I was walking with my Husband through the Men’s department of a well-known store.
Our two boys looked like they were about to revolt, muttering, “Are we finished?” and “When are we going home?”
Other shoppers were swarming in and around us and as I made soothing noises to my two grim-faced sons, I spotted a very attractive grey suit. It was teamed up with a lilac shirt and matching tie. Very debonair.
Before I knew what was happening, I thought idly, “Oh yes, Matt would look great in that.”
Whose Matt? No, Matt is not my Husband. Matt is the hero in my contemp romance novel, “Rock My World.”
Matt Jardine, the dangerously sexy journalist who has a look of the Bradley Cooper’s about him. He is also, as you will no doubt have guessed, a figment of my imagination.
The fact I was trying to visualise one of my characters wearing this suit (and practically had him rushing to try it on) gave me a jolt.
Had I been working too hard? Maybe I should take a breather from the PC?
Recovering quickly, I dashed past the mannequin – only to hear Matt clearly say to me, “Well Julie. You like it – but what about Ruby?”
Ruby Cameron is the heroine in my novel – and Matt’s object of desire.
There followed a scrambled conversation in my head between the three of us debating this suit, whilst my Husband wandered around, examining shoes and completely oblivious to his Wife’s erratic thoughts.
I got home and consoled myself with coffee and a muffin. Yes, any excuse.
Deciding to have a break from the writing, I trawled through some writers websites.
And the overriding advice that was leaping out at me was if you don’t fall in love with your characters, then the chances are, your readers won’t either.
There were writers saying they had conversations with their characters all the time. They knew them so well, they knew what their favourite song was. What their pet hates were. Who their teenage crush had been.
In short, the authors felt like they knew their characters even more than they knew themselves.
I sat back and immediately Matt’s lupine grey eyes popped into my mind. That lazy, arrogant grin spreading across his face.
And I came swiftly to a conclusion.
Sometimes, having such a rampant imagination can only be a good thing…
“Rock My World” by Julie Shakman
Blurb: The spirit of Rock n’ Roll does exist…..and he’s “living” in Ruby Cameron’s new home!
Stevie Vee, an enigmatic local rock singer on the brink of fame, died in 1989 in mysterious circumstances and he wants local reporter Ruby to find out what happened to him.
Apart from a troubled dead singer, Ruby has other things on her mind…
Her Mother is dating a new man but there is just something about Peter de Marlow which Ruby doesn’t like. It turns out her Mum possesses a secret of her own….
Whilst trying to put her disastrous relationship with selfish ex-boyfriend Luke firmly behind her, Matt Jardine, a handsome but irritating new journalist joins her newspaper.
Will Ruby still have a “ghost” of a chance of happiness and can she help Stevie rest in peace?
Chapter 1 tease
Imagine the big hair and big attitudes of the late 1980s. Combine that with a sexy local rock singer on the brink of fame, with the audience in the palm of his hand – then something terrible happens….
**Contact Julie: Twitter