Rock My World by Julie Shackman


Author Bio:
Like so many other writers, my journey to publication has been a long and varied one!

I initially trained as a journalist but I always wanted to write contemporary romance.

I had two children’s picture books published some years ago, as well as a few poems in anthologies. Life sometimes gets in the way though, so the idea of writing novels went on the backburner.

After our two sons grew a bit older, I found more time again to indulge in my love of reading and that was when I knew I had 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 was when the fun really started!

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 the dynamic (!) London based digital publishers 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!

Twitter Handle G13Julie.

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Your novel is called ‘Rock My World’ please could you tell me about it?

The strap line I came up with when I first starting writing “RMW” was “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?

‘Rock My World’ about Ruby Cameron, please can you tell me about her?
Ruby is a real romantic yet she has the unfortunate habit of kissing frogs!

She doesn’t have much luck in relationships, mainly because the guys she goes out with, are about as deep as a teaspoon. When things start to go wrong, she immediately wonders if it’s her fault. She’s loyal, passionate and creative – that stems from her rather bohemian and arty family background. She will go out of her way to speak out against injustice and to stand up for the underdog.

They say the journey to being published is one of the hardest an author can take, please can you describe the journey that you went on?
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 back-burner.

After our two sons grew a bit older, I found I had more time to read again and I decided to try and write 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, particularly genre writers. 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!

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Writers put so much time and energy into their characters and I have been told in the past that a writer carries their characters around with them.
So my question is if you could go out for a day with any one of your characters: who would it be, what would you do and why did you pick this particular character?

I think it would have to be Stevie Vee, my dead rock singer. I know on a practical level, it wouldn’t be particularly easy, but he’s talented and a lot of fun to be around – even if he did pass away 25 years ago! He’d serenade me with some of my favourite rock anthems as we shared a picnic somewhere beautiful, like the shores of Loch Lomond. Having said that, as he’s a ghost, I’d probably end up having to eat all the contents of the picnic!

If you could choose one book that you think everyone should read, what would it be and why?
Oh, that’s a difficult one. There are so many fantastic books out there, but I think I would recommend anything by Jenny Colgan, Wendy Holden or Nick Spalding.

I’ve laughed out loud at their observations – well, when I say laugh, it’s more unlady-like snorts really. I’m sure I’ve been on the verge of being evicted from several public places. Their writing is effortless, it just flows and the humour is wonderful.

If there was one saying that could sum up your life to date, what would it be?
My Mum always told me to never give up, so I would say “If you want it badly enough, it will happen.”

What can we expect next, any future books in the pipeline?
I’ve just finished writing my second novel and am polishing that at the moment. It looks at what happens when “celebrity” clashes with “the ordinary”. I’m also about to do some research for my third novel, which is about a prominent historical figure….Both are contemporary romances. I just love the romance genre and always have done.

What or who in life inspires you?
My Husband and two sons inspire me. My late Mum was an amazing woman and she has had a huge influence on me – and always will.

I’m also a huge music fan and have to write with the radio on. The Thea Gilmore song, “Love Came Looking For Me” is almost like the anthem to “Rock My World”. The lyrics are fantastic, as if they are describing how Ruby feels.

What is your all time favourite book?
I have to mention “Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe?” by Hazel Osmond. It has everything – passion, humour and emotion. It left me breathless at times!

Please would you share who your 5 dream dinner party guests would be?
What great questions!

Marilyn Monroe – gorgeous and totally underestimated as an actress, in my opinion.

Wendy Holden – One of my favourite authors. A very talented writer who is effortlessly funny.

Bradley Cooper – A great actor and complete eye candy. Also, my hero Matt Jardine has a brush of “The Bradley” about him.

Eric Morecambe – A comedy genius. I’ve seen “Morecambe & Wise” so many times, yet I still laugh like a drain.

Stevie Nicks – I’m a huge fan of hers and Fleetwood Mac are my favourite band ( Ruby is a big admirer too, by some funny coincidence!) and have been since I was 13. When a lot of my contemporaries were into Wham! I was pouring over her beautiful lyrics and trying to copy her big hair!

Sexiness, intelligence, creativity and humour – what more could you want at a dinner party?! (I’m not talking about me incidentally, but about my guests!!)

At your dinner party, there’s a cocktail in honour of ‘Rock My World’ what are the ingredients?
Coconut to represent Ruby. Dreamy with lots of depth.

Rum for Matt. Deliciously edgy.

Whiskey for Stevie. Very Scottish, with a fantastic, husky voice.

Vodka. What Peter de Marlow, my villain, would drink. He’s seething with hidden danger and revenge.

I can’t begin to imagine what this cocktail would taste like, but I’m sure it would look amazing…!

Thank you so much to Love Of A Good Book for this fantastic interview!

A big thank you to Julie for talking to The Love of a Good Book

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