I’m excited to be interviewing author Julie Shackman today! It’s release day for her new novel, A Secret Scottish Escape. Read on for more information!
Happy Release Day! Thanks for answering my questions, Julie!!
Interview with Julie Shackman
How long did it take to finish writing A Secret Scottish Escape?
I spent roughly six months writing the first draft and then another month or so, editing it and polishing it with my agent, the fab Selwa Anthony. Then she submitted it to the lovely Charlotte Ledger at the HarperCollins imprint One More Chapter. After Charlotte said she loved it and wanted to publish, I spent another few weeks revising it and tweaking it, following her wonderful editorial suggestions!
What was the inspiration behind A Secret Scottish Escape?
The inspiration for it, was actually my favourite fairy-tale, Beauty & The Beast. I wondered what it would be like if two similar characters to Belle and Beast (in this case Layla and Rafe/Mask) met in Scotland and modern day problems and issues were thrown at them. Then the story developed from there.
If you could choose a character from A Secret Scottish Escape to have dinner with, who would it be and how would that go?
As much as I love Layla and her kindness, it would have to be Rafe/Mask! He has a wicked sense of humour underneath the moody persona he has going on! I think it would be a fun evening and hopefully, he would bring along his guitar and serenade me! And he is very pleasing on the eye too…!
Do you experience writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Yes, I sometimes do. I used to worry if I sat down and found I was struggling to write. Now, I just take myself off for a walk with our Romanian rescue puppy Cooper, read for a bit or listen to music. I find that reading other authors, listening to lyrics or getting a good bout of fresh air, usually inspires me and helps in the end.
Do you have any specific writing “rituals” you always do when you sit down to write?
I always write in long hand first in one of my many gorgeous notebooks. The pile of those is growing…I can’t resist pretty stationery! I can’t seem to write straight onto the PC. I find it easier to write my first draft down and then type it up as I go. My writing and the ideas seem to flow better doing it that way.
Do you outline your novels or do you just write?
I outline a little more than I used to. I tend to focus more on the setting, characters and premise of the story first and then take it from there.
What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?
My favourite part is definitely coming up with new characters and creating new worlds and settings for my books. I love using my imagination. My least favourite part is probably the editing process, but I know it’s a necessity, so I try to grit my teeth and get on with it!
What made you want to be a writer?
I was a real bookworm from an early age and grew up surrounded by books. My late Mum, when she had the time, was a keen reader and my late grandparents were always visiting the local library and devoured books at an incredible rate. I was fascinated by English at school and trained as a journalist. I also studied Communication and Media, but I always wanted to write feel-good romance.
What is release day like? Are you busy or do you get to relax?
I think release date is exciting and a bit terrifying as well! It feels wonderful to see your latest “book baby” out there and you just hope the readers love reading it every bit as much as you enjoyed writing it. It’s usually pretty busy, but there is time to relax and celebrate a bit later and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Never, ever, ever give up! It just takes one person to say yes. A published writer is an unpublished writer who persevered. Read lots of other authors and books too. You find you learn what works and what doesn’t and it helps to improve your own writing.
As Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…
When Layla’s fiancé has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland sends her down a new path.
Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…
I am a feel-good romance author from Scotland. I trained as a journalist and studied Communication and Media Studies. I also write verses and captions for greetings card companies.
When I’m not reading or writing, I love going for long walks with our Romanian rescue puppy Cooper and listening to music. I am also a bit obsessed with stationery and handbags!
I am married with two sons.
A Secret Scottish Escape is my fifth novel and is out in e-book on 21 May and in paperback on 19 August, from the HarperCollins imprint One More Chapter.
Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to interact with you. If this sounds like something you would read, let me know!
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