A wise woman once asked at the conception of AURi,
“What does the ‘i’ stand for?”
Well when it comes to Julia Blake, it stands for international.
Bury St. Edmunds is best known for it gardens, breweries, and it’s sacred religious/historic sites. But perhaps we added an author to the top 10.
In her own words, Julia Blake fell in love with writing “as soon as I was old enough to pick up a pencil. I have always written short stories, poems, essays, school plays, silly verses to go into friend’s birthday cards, before maturing enough to attempt a novel.”
Blake cites a painful divorce as the catalyst responsible for the transformation from book lover to author. So, AURi caught up with the busy author in the midst of her upcoming release, Becoming Lili, to find out more about one of England’s best kept secrets:
AR: We couldn’t help but notice that you draw from real life experiences at times. Is writing your story a form of self-therapy at times?
JB: Ask any writer that and they will smile in irony, because the answer is both yes and no. Yes, in that of course real life experiences “bleed” into our writing, it would be impossible for them not to. Whether consciously or subconsciously, our experiences and memories are all in there, somewhere, jumbled up, sometimes only half-remembered, but still, all there ready to be re-shaped and used as words on a page. However, writing can also distance you from real-life. Most authors I know experience the sensation of their characters being more “real” to them than actual people. In the case of writing my first, full length novel, I was going through an intensely painful and stressful period in my life, when all control had been taken away from me and there seemed no end to the trauma. Writing provided a safety valve, a way to vent excess emotion that I couldn’t let anyone else see.
AR: Well put! It’s awesome, not arrogant, that you read your own books once they are in print form. Besides it being the story you want to read, what makes writing so special to you?
JB: I think, maybe, it’s that sense of escape. I don’t plan or prepare. I sit at my laptop, rest my fingers on the keyboard, disengage my brain and just let loose a stream of unconscious words. It’s like the story is in my brain somewhere, and the only way to let it out is to simply let go. Afterwards, I read through what is written, sometimes surprising myself at the direction my characters have insisted on going, and edit as necessary.
AR: Let’s talk about ‘The Book of Eve’. The title evokes thoughts that may take people to a Biblical place or may evoke thoughts of spirituality. Was that intentional?
JB: Yes and no. It was never intended to be. At first the title was purely because the main character, Eve, had written a book about her experiences, therefore, it was The Book of Eve; but then I noticed each chapter had taken on characteristics of different books of the Bible, so I went with the flow and renamed each chapter. Therefore, chapter one Exodus, deals with a funeral and saying goodbye to a key character, chapter two Genesis goes back to the start of Eve’s involvement with the others, Lamentations portrays a shocking tragedy in Eve’s life, and so on. Also, one of the main characters is revealed as wanting to be a nun when she was younger, so the pieces all fell into place. However, the book is in no way irreligious.
AR: Are you secretly Melissa (Eve) in ‘The Book of Eve’?
JB: That’s a good question. I don’t think so, Melissa or Eve, as she becomes, is quite a complicated, multi-layered character. She longs for more in her life, and isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to reach her destination. She’s more ambitious and ruthless than I am, and definitely more clever. Maybe she’s whom I would like to be.
AR: In the about me section of your website, you mention “Over the next ten years, I wrote six complete novels, one 17,000 word novella, half a dozen or so short stories and many poems.” Do you plan to release all of you works? If so, since you do the proofreading and editing, do you have anticipated release dates for all of them?
JB: Yes, eventually. My next novel, Becoming Lili, is due for release next week, all being well. After that, I plan to release a collection of short stories in an anthology, together with Lifesong. Many readers have commented because it’s only available as an ebook, they have been unable to buy it. So, I decided to produce it as a paperback with a bonus four or five short stories. After that, I will be releasing other titles regularly and also working on the sequel to Becoming Lili.
AR: We look forward to that. Are there any goals that you have yet to accomplish in your career?
JB: Too many to mention. I wish to publish more books. I wish to discover the key to successful marketing. I wish to finally be so successful I can be a full-time writer, and I would love to see one of my books produced as a film or TV series.
AR: What advice would you give to indie and unknown writers who wish to pursue a career in writing?
JB: Don’t give up. Don’t stop writing. Sometimes, life stuff gets in the way and it seems impossible to find time to write. Make time. Carve out a space and time that is yours, enforce it to your family and friends, so they respect and acknowledge that time and space as your time/place to write. Grow a thick hide, you’re going to need it. Unless you plan never to show your writing to anyone else, you will get rejected and people will criticize your work. Accept it, listen to it, be prepared to take long, hard looks at your writing, amend if you feel the point is valid, disregard if you don’t. Build yourself a strong network online, explore every avenue there is to promote – not just your writing – but you, yourself, the author behind the words. If you can create a strong personality that people can connect to, then you’re halfway there to selling your work. But, never forget social media can be a two edged sword, it’s easy to get so distracted networking you forget to do any actual writing.
Well we’re thankful that Julia Blake has connected with AURi. Such awesome and encouraging words. If you want to connect with us and Julia Blake, see the links below.