Continuing my celebration of the Chill With A Book Award, I am over the moon to welcome author, Julia Brannan to talk all things bookish!
Huge congratulations on winning your Chill Award! You must be so happy that your work has been recognised in this way. Now, before we carry on, would you please introduce yourself to my readers, just in case they don’t know you already …
Hello, everyone! My name is Julia Brannan, and I live in South Wales in a small village, along with my cat, Constantine. My boyfriend of twenty-one years sensibly lives in the next village, and we have a wonderful, if somewhat eccentric relationship. I’m the author of The Jacobite Chronicles, a series of historical novels about the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie attempted to restore his father James Stuart to the British throne. It’s a series of six books; four are published and the fifth is due out this summer.
I’ve also written a contemporary novel called A Seventy-Five Percent Solution, which was published on 5th May.
So, your book has been awarded with a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award, what inspired you to write this story?
It started with me researching my family history. I discovered that one of the Scottish branches of my family, the Gordons, appear to have emigrated from Scotland to Ireland at some point, and then returned to Scotland in the 1830s. I was curious as to why, and started to read around the period. My family were all staunch Scottish nationalists, and it’s possible they were involved in the ’45. I started reading about it and became totally obsessed. The Jacobite Chronicles were born from that research.
What does the award mean to you?
It means a great deal to me, especially because it’s awarded by readers of the book. My wonderful readers are all-important, and their enthusiasm for my books gives me the will to keep writing on days when the inspiration isn’t there!
What other titles have you published? Tell us a little about them …
I’ve published the first four books in the Jacobite Chronicles series: Mask of Duplicity, The Mask Revealed, The Gathering Storm and The Storm Breaks. The fifth in the series, Pursuit of Princes is in progress and will be published this summer, and the sixth (as yet untitled) will be out in early 2018.
I’ve also published a contemporary novel about a dysfunctional marriage, entitled A Seventy-Five Percent Solution, which is a stand-alone book.
Are you working on a new book? Tell me about that …
At the moment, I’m working on book five of the Jacobite Chronicles, and also editing my next contemporary novel, The Bigger Picture, set in an art gallery, in which each chapter deals with the life of a particular person who has come to the gallery, each for a different reason.
When not writing, what can you be found doing?
When I’m not writing, I love gardening, keeping fit, and walking in the beautiful countryside around my home. I’m a compulsive reader, and always have at least one book on the go, although when I’m actively writing I tend to confine myself to historical research material. I also love travelling, and have travelled extensively in North America, Asia and Europe, usually backpacking.
Which three authors have most influenced your journey to becoming an author?
It’s difficult to name three. The greatest influence on my journey to becoming an author was my mother, who taught me the joy of reading and encouraged me to use my imagination to create my own stories. But if I have to choose:
J.R.R Tolkien, for his ability to create a whole world, characters and even a language that have become completely believable. The quality of his writing is breath-taking.
Emily Bronte. She created the archetype of the dark, brooding romantic hero, and although I don’t write that sort of book, when I read Wuthering Heights I was transported to 19th Century Yorkshire, and lived in the period for the duration of the book. I love Heathcliff, because he’s very complex, and although you’re appalled by his cruelty later in the book, you understand how he got to be who he was. The book prompted me to read other authors of the period, including her sisters’ books and, of course, Dickens.
William Shakespeare – technically a playwright and poet, but his knowledge of the intricacies of the human condition and his mastery of the English language is superlative.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I have always loved history. A knowledge and understanding of past events is crucial, in my opinion – history makes us who we are today. If I read an interesting, well-researched historical novel, it makes the past come alive as nothing else can, and will often inspire me to do some background reading on the period. I wanted to bring history alive through my own books, and take great pains to ensure the historical characters and period are as honestly represented as possible.
Which other genre would you chose if you had to change?
I have written two contemporary novels, but my first love is the historical genre. If I had to change, I would probably write fantasy, because I could use my historical knowledge to create alternative worlds.
Quick fire questions:
Twitter or Facebook? Facebook. Being pretty verbose, I find Twitter difficult.
Tea or coffee? Tea! I drink gallons of the stuff!! With milk, of course.
Marmite – yes or no? One word – Yeuch!
Marvel or DC? Probably Marvel, although my father worked for DC, so I feel disloyal now!
Early riser or sleep in? I write best at night, so definitely a sleep-in person.
Pj’s or ‘normal’ clothes when writing? It depends on the time, but always soft and comfortable clothes.
Planner or pantster? Used to be a pantster, but now I’m a planner. Usually.
Book or kindle? Book, definitely. One of my favourite smells is that of a brand-new book.
Pineapple on pizza – yes or no? Yes!
And finally, What is your favourite book of all time?
Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Thank you for joining me today, Julia! Many congratulations again on your Chill with A Book Award!
If you’re an author and you’d like to know about the Chill With a Book Award, just follow the link.
You can keep up with all of Julia’s news by following her social media accounts:
Like the sound of the books? I certainly do! Having just finished watching Outlander, this sounds like it’s going to be right up my street and I’ll be adding them to my TBR!!
Here’s the blurb for book one in the series:
Join the rebellion of one woman and her fight for survival in…
The Jacobite Chronicles.
And you can get your copy over at Amazon UK