Good morning Julie and welcome. Can I begin by asking you a little about yourself?
I live in Bedfordshire in the UK, with my husband and two teenage daughters. I recently left my job as a teacher to go freelance, concentrating on my writing and writing related activities and I keep my hand in as a teacher by doing supply at my old school.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer and how did you begin that journey?
I finally decided to sit down and write a novel in April 2013 when the idea for my debut, From Here to Nashville, came almost fully formed into my mind. Before I knew it, I had written 80,000 words and I realised that I needed to decide what to do next. After meeting some lovely members of the RNA at The Festival of Romance, which took place in Bedford that year, I found out about the New Writers’ Scheme and I was lucky enough to get a place in January 2014. I submitted my debut novel that year and took it from there.
Which writers have inspired you and why?
When I was young, Stephen King was one of my main inspirations and I read every single one of his books the minute they came out. Looking back, I think this was because he always told such a good story, even if the subject matter was sometimes a bit on the gory side!
However, I used to love reading everything I could lay my hands on and so my favourite time of the week was when we would make our visit to our local library and I could pick out several books to see me through the week. My early classic favourites were Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and A Tale of Two Cities. I was clearly a romantic at heart, even then.
Can you tell us something about your current WIP?
My current WIP is set on a vineyard in Alsace in France and tells the story of Fran and Didier as they negotiate their second chance at love. I hope that this will be the first of a series of books set on this vineyard.
Is there anything in particular that draws you to the characters you write about?
It is more the setting that draws me, initially. With From Here to Nashville, I had a very clear idea of wanting to set part of the story in Nashville and the other part in the UK. From there, my love of music made it an easy step to write about a songwriter who longed to be a successful country music singer. Similarly, I have a degree in French and I have also worked in the wine trade, so the idea of a romance set on a vineyard in France seemed to make sense and my characters have done the rest.
How do you spend your chill out time?
In my spare time, I love to read, cook (and eat!) and travel. I also have a bit of a passion for country music!
If money was no object, where in the world would you choose for a special holiday?
I would love to go to South America, particularly Chile. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the country is so narrow that in some places, you can see coast to one side and the snowy Andes mountains to the other. Whilst we’re there, we’d also like to visit Buenos Aires for the food and the dancing, as well as Bolivia which is known to be a haven for butterflies.
And lastly, if you were to invite four celebrities for dinner who would they be and why?
My first guest would be Rick Stein because he is the chef we have admired most over the years, collecting no fewer than seven of his cookbooks since 1988 and we also love his travel programmes so I would have a lot to talk to him about.
Then I would choose J.K. Rowling because in my view, she’s not only a great writer but she’s a very admirable woman and a great role model to us all.
My next guest would be Billy Joel because he is one of my favourite singers and has lived a very interesting life, which would be fascinating to be able to ask him more about over dinner.
For my last celebrity, I’d choose Dr. Michael Mosley, the creator of the Fast Diet so that I could talk to him about the 5:2 eating plan which I have been having great success with since starting it at the beginning of this year.
From Here to Nashville
Two worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Can music unite them?
Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset.
When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.
But the stakes get higher when Rachel starts to fall in love with Jackson, who has demons of his own. Now she has a dilemma on her hands – to abandon her dream and take the easy way out or gamble on Jackson and leave the life she has always known behind.
Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again and to see whether music really can bring them together.
‘I turned slowly to find myself staring up into the most beautiful pair of brown eyes I’d ever seen. The gorgeous man who’d been watching me earlier now stood before me, and my breath caught as I studied him close up. He towered over my petite frame, his soft, wavy, dark brown hair falling over his forehead, hands slung low in his pockets and cowboy boots peeking out from beneath his jeans.
‘Er, hi,’ I managed to stutter out, reminding myself to breathe.
‘Hey there,’ he drawled in the most luscious American accent. ‘I heard you singing and I wanted to find out more about who that fabulous voice belonged to.’ He smiled and as he did, I noticed the way his lips turned up invitingly at the corners.
‘Thank you. I’m glad you liked it,’ I replied, trying to appear calm and to bring my focus back to his eyes.
And then he chuckled. God, he knew how to make a chuckle sound sexy. He oozed confidence too, with his broad shoulders pulled back and his head held high.
‘You British, you’re so damn polite,’ he said, raising his eyebrows. ‘You sounded great up there.’
‘Yeah, the crowd had a great vibe tonight. I can’t quite believe it.’
‘Well, you have no reason not to; the proof’s all here. I loved your own song by the way. You have a real talent there.’
I blushed then, an honest-to-goodness shade of pink that made him chuckle once more, locking eyes with me as he did, so I knew the compliment was sincere.’
About the Author
Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and of The Alliance of Independent Authors.
She blogs about her path to publication on her website, ‘My Writing Life’ http://www.julie-stock.co.uk. You can also connect with her on Twitter, on Goodreads and via her Facebook Author Page.
When she is not writing, she works part-time as a teacher. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire.