Kev’s Author Interviews Presents:
Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and two cats, a rescue cat and a dippy cat with half a tail. She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance, as she can’t bear to get rid of any! They have been attempting to renovate their home for the last ten years.
She is the author of the Greek Island Mystery series, Jenna’s Journey, Sophia’s Secret and Pandora’s Prophecy, each of which can be read as a standalone. She considers Greece to be her spiritual home and visits as often as she can. This series was inspired by her desire to return to Crete although there is a strong pull to revisit the Cyclades too.
Kev: What is your latest book about?
It’s essentially a mystery but with a paranormal twist and a serial killer on the loose on a Greek Island.
‘Pandora’s Prophecy’ is the third in the Greek Island mystery series but can be read as a standalone although some characters from the previous books do make an appearance.
Lisa and Mark are going through a rough patch, Vicky is seventeen and has just discovered that the man she thought was her father really isn’t, Ruth is getting over her husband’s betrayal after nearly twenty-five years of marriage. On the surface they have nothing in common except that they are all staying in the same hotel on a Greek Island. As they each come into contact with the mysterious Pandora, their lives will change forever. Bodies begin to pile up as a serial killer is on the loose who might just be targeting the hotel. The Island’s Police Chief, Christos Pavlides, tries to solve the puzzle but he has problems of his own to resolve. It seems that the local celebrity author is the one who holds the key.
Kev: Who or what influenced you to write it?
I started writing about Greece as it brought back memories of the time I spent there during the 1980s. The reason I write murder mysteries with a touch of romance is that it’s a combination of all the genres that I enjoy reading.
Kev: Did you do any specialised research for your story?
I do quite a lot of research into Greek customs and I belong to a number of online groups about Greece so there’s always plenty of people to run things past.
Kev: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
For me the biggest challenge is not making it too complicated. I end up with a stream of characters who all want to do their own thing and somehow I have to pull it together.
Kev: Who is the protagonist?
Hard to say really as the story centres around different characters staying at a hotel. I guess Pandora, the eponymous heroine should be the protagonist yet I don’t really think of her that way. Her brother Dimitri, the writer, is probably the real protagonist. You’ll have to read it to find out more!
Kev: What would you say is the protagonist’s greatest weakness or obstacle and why?
He had a failed relationship when he was young and now he’s afraid to commit as he doesn’t want to get hurt again.
Kev: What would you say is the main antagonist’s greatest strength?
I guess the antagonist is the serial killer who is in his own twisted way trying to put the world to rights. Not sure that is a strength though!
Kev: Could you provide a short passage from your book to give us a taster?
She’d had it coming to her without a doubt. His stepmother had been the same with her flighty ways and bleached hair. It hadn’t taken much for her to lure his father away from his mother and break up his family. His mother had never been the same after that and he’d never forgiven the treacherous bitch that had hook-winked his father. She’d paid for it in the end naturally. It had been God’s will that she should be struck down with cancer not two years later. He couldn’t believe that she’d still put up a fight even though she was weak from the ravages of the illness and the chemo. He’d seen the brief look of fear in her eyes as she saw him looming above her in the hospital bed. It hadn’t taken long for the pillow to put an end to her suffering. He’d been doing her a favour really. Pity that nobody knew what he’d done. He’d often wondered what it would have been like if he’d been discovered, being interviewed by the Press, sobbing in front of the camera as he was led to trial. In the end, none of that happened. His stepmother had been so near death that the hospital hadn’t suspected anything untoward and it was then that he realized he’d got away with it. He’d actually killed somebody without being caught. It had given him a sense of purpose and he couldn’t wait to see if he could get away with it once again.
He knew he had to be more prepared the second time. He was prepared to bide his time until the right victim was sent to him. It wasn’t something that he could control. He had to wait for the sign.
It took a few months but then he saw her sitting outside a café near the harbor. There was something about her that reminded him of his stepmother. From behind, they could almost be mistaken for each other, bleached blond hair, tight t-shirt, cut off shorts and when she turned round the final sign was the red nail polish. Mutton dressed as lamb he called it. All the hatred he’d felt for his stepmother bubbled to the fore. He’d let her off too easily he realized. This time the bitch was going to pay.
As luck would have it, the woman finished her drink. He could hear her laughing like a hyena with her friends before bidding them goodbye. He could scarcely believe that she was leaving alone. That must be another sign that she was the one.
He followed her in his pick up until they reached the edge of the town. There were few people on this stretch of road so choosing his moment, he opened the window to call the woman over. It never even occurred to him that she might not answer his request for help. It was in the stars that her days were numbered. He was doing men a favour by ridding the world of women like her.
Holding his nerve, he smiled inwardly as she approached the pick-up’s window. Pretending to take out a map, in a few brief seconds he’d put the chloroformed rag over her nose until she’d gone limp and he’d dragged her body into the truck. He almost began to salivate at the thought of what he was going to do to her next.
Kev: When you write, do write off-the-cuff or do you use some kind of formula?
I don’t have a formula – it’s more a case of what works for me. I use different characters each telling their own story, maybe flashback and somehow find a way of bringing them all together. It was never planned like that, it just seems to be the way I write.
Kev: How do you deal with writers-block?
I can only write when I have inspiration. Sometimes I just have to walk away, other times it’s a case of finding out why the story is blocked. By going back and cutting out the bit where it’s not working, I find I can get back on track again.
Kev: Preference for writing: Day or Night?
Day – I’m too tired at night although if I wake up with a good idea I have a notebook and pen by the side of the bed.
Kev: What is your process for editing your work?
I read it and reread it then send it to beta readers. I do a final reread then go through line by line to try and catch any typos.
Kev: How do you come up with your book covers?
I find a photo I like that will draw readers in, then get a clever person to photoshop it and add the title etc.
Kev: Do you think the book cover is important?
Despite what people might say, the cover and the blurb are usually what attracts a reader to opening your book. It’s only then that you can say if the book is better than the cover or vice versa. For me the cover is vital.
Kev: Which publishing platform do you prefer and why?
I decided to self publish so for me the first choice was Amazon. I haven’t really looked at other possibilities as I went through Kindle Select. It seems to work but you have to be relentless with marketing on social media as nobody else is going to do it for you.
Kev: Do you face any daunting obstacles during the publishing process?
The biggest problem with my first book was how to format it correctly. It took me days of frustration. Now I just pay somebody else to do it.
Kev: What methods do you use to promote your work?
With a new launch I set up an online book tour. Then it’s a case of using Twitter and Facebook to try and get the word out.
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
It’s been said before but don’t give up. If you want something then hang on in there and do your best to make it work. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy and don’t expect to make millions and be on the bestsellers list. It’s a tough old world and now more so than ever before.
Kev: Which social media platforms do you use the most?
I set up a Facebook page for my writing at
I tweet via @julieryan18
And I set up my own blog where I review other writers’ work http://www.allthingsbookie.com
Kev: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Julie Ryan, Everyone!