We’re almost at the end of HI Fortnight. I hope you have enjoyed all the posts. Today I am joined by the wonderful Jules Wake.
Q) Tell us a little about you
I’m an avid reader and my idea of hell is not to have a book on hand. As a child, in the school holidays I would visit the local library, borrow six books and go back within two days. I have the kindle app on at least four different devices and never ending TBR pile of e-books and paperbacks.
I started writing in the days before ebooks when I ran out of the sort of books I liked to read.
Q) Tell us about your new book
I’m very excited about my new book From Italy With Love, it’s Cinderella meets Top Gear tale and was inspired by the BBC Radio 2 breakfast programme. They have an annual charity event, The Drive and Dine to raise money for Children in Need. Listeners bid to take turns driving one of Chris Evans’ (the radio presenter, not Thor!) collection of Ferraris. As I listened to the show I heard one of the Ferraris fired up … and it fired my imagination. What would it be like for someone incredibly ordinary to own one of these incredible cars … and from there the story grew.
It follows Laurie Browne, who’s perfectly happy with her steady job and totally reliable boyfriend. The last thing she wants is to leave it all behind to cross Europe with a handsome playboy, thank you very much.
But her eccentric Uncle has other ideas and in his will leaves her a vintage Ferrari with very specific instructions and a mapped out route through Europe, destination Italy. With a car like that, she’ll need someone along who knows what they’re doing, so she’s reluctantly saddled with handsome mechanic Cam. He’s not best pleased as the last thing he wants is to play driving instructor to his buddy Miles’ niece.
During the journey which has plenty of twists and turns, Laurie discovers that perhaps she’s not the person she thought she was and there is a life out there waiting to be lived.
Q) What is your favourite place to write
In a small thatched cottage in a tiny village called Peasemore in Berkshire … I’ve been there twice with my writing buddies but for the rest of the time I have to make do with whatever room in the house I can lay claim to. This year has been a challenge as I have two teenagers both sitting major exams and a husband who runs his own business from home.
Luckily when I’m writing I’m very focused so it doesn’t really matter where I am. I have an iPad with a keyboard, so can perch pretty much anywhere.
Q) Where do you get your character inspiration from?
Do you know what? My female characters often pop into my head fully formed and just head off in whatever direction they please. It can be quite tricky reigning them back in sometimes. At the moment I am trying to work on an existing manuscript but this pesky woman has arrived complete with suitcase and story and taken up residence in my head. Her story will be the next one I write.
With the male characters I often need a bit of visual inspiration and so have to resort to eye-candy research on the internet. It’s a tough job!
Q) What are your 3 desert island books?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. I studied it for O level and at university but I never grow tired of it. Can I include a play? Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing has had a big influence on my writing. I read this at school and it has shaped my love of conflicted interaction between hero and heroine. I think my third choice would have to be another Jane Austen, I love the book Persuasion. Anne’s story is such an under stated tale of lost love, regret and hope, it really moves me each time I read it. I find Captain Wentworth such a worthy, upright and manly hero.
Q) What is your favourite place to read?
Curled up on the sofa with my family around me. I’m very fortunate that I can tune everything else out, so I get to enjoy my book and be with the people I love the most.
Q) What is your favourite book and why?
That’s a bit like asking which is your favourite child, I’m not sure I could pick just one as it would depend on how I’m feeling on the day. However if you were going to line me up in front of a firing squad, I’d probably opt for Persuasion because Anne’s emotional turmoil is such a fine example of restrained pining and hope for a lost love.The end brings that delicious sensation when the heroine realises that against all hope, the hero truly loves her.
Q) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love listening to the radio, although I can’t do it when I’m writing as its too distracting. Radio is the most fascinating medium, as it brings other people and their ideas and thoughts into your world. It can transport you to other worlds, times and places but because there’s no visual image, it still allows your imagination to do some of the work. . These days with social media, there is also instant interaction with listeners which gives you an insight into the world beyond your own boundaries which is so important especially as a writer. It can also be a wonderful source of inspiration and ideas.
Q) Chocolate or sweets?
Chocolate especially dipped in a hot cup of tea.
Q) Is there a book you wished you wrote?
No. When I read I tend to lose myself in a book and not study how it’s written. I can appreciate great writers, Ian McEwan for example, writes the most stunning prose and I am in absolute awe of his talent but I’m not always able to lose myself in his work. I avoid comparing myself to anyone … like most writers, I always worry that what I’ve written could still be improved.
Q) You have a free flight and accommodation to anywhere in the world where would you go?
I’m very lucky that I’ve travelled all over the world including to the US, Australia, Europe and South East Asia and even lived for a while in New Zealand, so I have no particular hankering to go anywhere really exotic. I love vibrant cities, like Barcelona, San Franciso and Sydney but I also love the heat of the sun on my skin and being near the sea.
So I’d probably plump for Olhos D’Agua, a fishing village in the Algarve in Portugal where I know in the evenings I can sit on a balcony looking out over the sea, sipping a long cool drink and not have to worry about needing a cardigan.
Q) What is your favourite season?
Definitely Spring because it brings the promise of warmer weather and when all the buds burst with that vivid green, it’s such a positive reaffirmation of life. Going to and coming home from work in the daylight seem to make the day more productive. I come home with time to write instead of feeling that I want to burrow into my cave and sleep.
Q) Where can we find you?Jules Wake
Published by Harper Impulse on 14th Mayb2015
Amazon UK, Amazon US
‘To my niece I leave the Ferrari GT250… On the proviso that she takes it across Europe to Maranello within the next three weeks. Only on successful completion of the journey to a prescribed route, will the car be hers…’
Home-loving Laurie thinks she’s happy – she has a safe, reliable boyfriend and working in her local library is what she thought she always wanted. That is until she inherits a vintage Ferrari from her eccentric Uncle Miles and the conditions of the inheritance are far from simple. To keep the car Laurie will have to drive across Europe with the gorgeous but unreliable Cameron Matthews as her guide… and Cam’s motives for helping are not all that altruistic.
Cam isn’t particularly thrilled about escorting his late pal Miles’ dull mouse of a niece on this wild goose chase but all he has to do is get Laurie safely to Italy and he’s sure the Ferrari is his.
But Uncle Miles had a few tricks up his sleeve and the route he’s planned takes Cam and Laurie on a road trip they’ll never forget. From sampling the delights of the Loire Valley to the breathtaking beauty of Lake Garda, this is one journey that has more twists and turns than either of them could ever have imagined…