Can you briefly describe the type of writing work you do?
I write fiction. During my working life I have written everything from board reports to film scripts and I started writing short stories when I was eight. Now I write exclusively fiction.
You are obviously a versatile writer, writing previously for television, then historical fiction, and most recently crime: is there a genre that you prefer?
I love both historical fiction and crime. I read both. Historical fiction takes a different type of research and is much more time consuming. Crime is fun and gives you scope to explore the dark side of yourself and others.
Blood, Wine and Chocolate is the title of your latest book: Can you give us a taster of what it is about?
It is a sub genre of crime called “wine crime.” It’s about a man who grows up on the fringes of an East End mob in London and then breaks free. As an adult he witnesses a childhood friend commit a double murder and testifies against him. He goes into witness protection and he and his wife come out to New Zealand to buy a winery. They end up on Waiheke Island but the wine they make is so good the world comes knocking, including the bad guys they are trying to hide from. It has wine, chocolate, blood, passion and some very innovative ways of killing people!
What is your typical writing day like? Do you have writing routine, or things that particularly inspire you?
When I was working full-time I would write early in the morning and sometimes late at night. Now I am a full-time writer so I have a slightly different schedule, I get more sleep! I usually start after breakfast and write till lunchtime, have a couple of hours break and then in the afternoon write a bit more or research on the internet or read over and do a basic edit of what I’ve written. I never leave the work at the end of a chapter, always in the middle of something intense and then it is easier to pick up. And I do jigsaw puzzles on the internet, I find they help my brain to get into the pattern of fitting pieces together and making a whole. I have creative ideas while I’m doing jigsaws.
You have experienced great success with both of your recent trade novels: how have you found that? Has it brought any unforeseen opportunities? Or challenges?
Thank you. I have enjoyed both experiences very much. I am now doing a fair amount of public speaking about my life and my books and I really enjoy that. Blood, Wine and Chocolate was easier because I knew what to expect and I was working with publishers (HarpersNZ) that I knew. The stock is held in Australia and that is much easier than having stock in the US. I debuted at number one on the Neilson Best Seller NZ Adult Fiction List with B,W&C and stayed on the list for 16 weeks so that was a great thrill.
What’s next in the pipeline for you? Is there another novel underway?
I’ve just finished the sequel to The Keeper of Secrets and it is called Rachel’s Legacy. It is in the editing stage now and will be released March 1st 2016. I am extremely excited about it and proud of it. When my part of that is over, I shall start the third book in the Horowitz Chronicles which will be called Levi’s War. Then my time with that subject matter will be done and I might do another crime book!
Julie will be appearing on the Publishing vs. Self Publishing Panel on Sunday 16 August 2015, 11am-12.30pm in the Raglan Town Hall.