July 7, 2013

Author Interview with Julia Hughes

Hi Julie, first of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello Patrick, and sure thing! I'm an eldest child and walking my younger brother and sister to school and back, I'd tell them stories – a captive audience! On leaving college, I worked at the BBC, helping write stories for their "Schools' Programmes". That was back in the day, before satellite telly made it over to the UK and 'Auntie Beeb' ruled the air waves! I gave it all up for the good life, and moved down to Cornwall, one of the most beautiful counties in England, and often known as 'God's own country.' I think the greatest compliment I received was 'Julia's more Cornish than the Cornish.' I picked daffodils in winter and made pasties for the holidaymakers in the summer. But all good things come to an end: I upped sticks to be closer to my family, and landed in a little village just outside London, and have been here ever since, scribbling away at my stories. 

What do you think makes your genre special?
I don't specifically write in any one genre, an idea will flitter into my mind, and the story develops. My first three titles, "A Raucous Time", "A Ripple in Time" and "An Explosive Time" are action adventures, while "The Bridle Path" is romance. I think I'd overdosed on the testosterone flying around in the previous three books and wanted something a little more feminine and romantic.
My latest title "The Griffin Cryer" is an adventure/fantasy. What makes this genre special is the opportunity to really allow imagination to take flight, and even create whole new worlds for readers to explore.

What do you think makes a great story?
Characters for whom you really care for, an intelligent plot, and twists and turns that move the story forward at breakneck pace. 

What is your latest book called and could you explain to us in 20 words what it is about?
"The Griffin Cryer" It follows the adventures of ordinary schoolgirl Frankie Shaunessy who accidentally summons a griffin and his rider from another dimension. 

Which kind of reader do you think will enjoy your book?
Anyone who enjoys the idea of parallel worlds, anyone who has ever fantasised about riding on the back of a griffin, (or dragon), or anyone who has ever been a teenager once. 

Is it a Standalone, or part of the series? If it the latter, how long do you think will it go on?
"The Griffin Cryer" is complete, but there is a planned sequel, working title "The Griffin Princess". After that who knows? 

What influenced or inspired you writing it?
A family friend was involved in a life changing accident. He is still in a nursing home, where thankfully, he is slowly emerging from a semi-comatose state, but for the past couple of years he has been in his own world. Three characters in "The Griffin Cryer" are "imprisoned" in other worlds: Frankie has built an emotional wall around herself; her brother is in a coma, while the Rider and his griffin are trapped in this world. If they can only break free of their own prisons, each in turn has the chance to become the others' salvation. 

Why did you choose especially this title? Was it your first choice?
My first choice was "The Griffin Rider" but a readers' choice contest decided on "The Griffin Cryer". The cryer in the title refers to Frankie, and her talent for calling griffins to her side.

What was the hardest part for you working on your book?
Most teenagers I know swear frequently, using a good old Anglo Saxon word. That was my biggest challenge, to keep the characters' dialogue clean(ish) as I wanted this story to be read and enjoyed by young adults as well as more mature readers! It has paid off – one of my beta readers told me that her twelve year old daughter was reading and enjoying an advance reader copy. 

 Was there a scene that you didn’t want to add or remove in your finished work?
I wanted more back story, but my critique partner (Stephen Spencer) advised me to take it out. Quite right too, it did warble on a little about the Rider and his previous life before Frankie summonsed his griffin into this world. Stephen's very hot on keeping the action focused purely on the present. 

Do you already know what to do next?
Yes, I've always got the next project or two lined up! I've a short story featuring Detective Crombie from "An Explosive Time" at the polishing stage, and a short story featuring the teenagers Sebastian and Winny from "The Bridle Path" will appear on my site as a Christmas/New Year special free read. There's a very exciting idea (to me anyway!) for a full length story which may explain one of last century's biggest mysteries, but there's also "The Griffin Princess" to work on. 

Where can we find more about you and your books?
You can read samples of my books on line at Amazon, where they're available to download in ebook format, or purchase a paperback. My website is JuliaHughes.co.uk and I also have a "fan-page" on facebook, and I tweet on twitter as @Tinksaid

Any last words?
A huge thank you, to you Patrick, and all your readers for making me so welcome on your site. We're currently giving away free promotional mini posters of "The Griffin Cryer" limited to one hundred signed copies – more details at my website, or contact Mervyn@talonpublishing.com, but hurry – I think there's only around twenty or so left to giveaway.

Frankie Shaunessy's friends are out of this world!
It's an easy mistake to make - instead of whistling and calling for her dog, fifteen year old Frankie accidentally summons a griffin and his rider from another world. The Rider is tall, blond and extremely rude. On the other hand, Balkind is the sweetest, most lovable griffin Frankie's ever met, and Frankie is determined to help the Rider and his griffin find a way back to their own world.
Dealing with parallel universes, disgruntled warriors, and hungry griffins is the easier part of Frankie's life. At school, Frankie learns friends can become enemies, teachers aren't always right, and the boy of your dreams can be all too human. Told in approximately 53,000 words, suitable for young adults, and all those who've ever dreamed of riding a griffin.

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