My latest Author Interview was with my mum, Julia Yeo. Julia is a children’s author, who published a book with my sister, Clare Van Dyke Hempenstall, last year, but is now venturing to publishing her own book.
Tell me a bit about yourself (where you live, hobbies, work etc)
My name is Julia Yeo and I have five children, who are all grown up now. I live in a village in Kent with my husband, Ian and our Cocker Spaniel, Millie. I have a good sense of humour and enjoy having fun! Life is about living and enjoying every moment you can.
I work in a School as a Receptionist/Administrator. I have always had a passion for writing right from a child but didn’t get the opportunities to use them growing up with dyslexia. Back then was hard and not recognised like it is today, apart from writing I love dancing, singing, walking and going to the theatre.
What was your favourite book growing up?
I have three books that I remember so well; The Little Red Hen a Ladybird book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter and Fifteen by Beverly Cleary.
Are there any authors you inspired to be like?
There are so many I love but Beatrix Potter stands out, as like me the characters in her story come to life as I am writing them.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 11 years old, I had a passion for inventing stories but found it so hard to put them down in words, but in my head they were fantastic.
Can you tell me about the books you have written? Was there one you love writing more than the others?
I have written a lot of stories but only had one published last year. One that will always stick out in my mind was, I want to be a Monkey said Nan. It’s great!! It is the only book I have written so far about someone and that’s me; I would love to be a monkey, such fun!
Published book: Ryan the Gnome Adventures – this book is about Ryan and his friends and how they have never heard fireworks and get scared and run to Ryan’s house. Baby Marvin Mushroom follows them unaware by the friends and make them jump. Ryan and his friends take Baby Marvin to find Mr and Mrs Mushroom, and they set off into the unknown bangs of the night and discover what they are from Mr and Mrs Mushroom.
Are you working on any books/projects currently?
Truffles Rabbit ‘The Secret’, which I hope to get published. It was so much fun writing it, I loved every moment.
Who are/is your favourite character/s that you have created? Was this character based on someone you know/knew?
I would have to say Ruben Rabbit, he is shy and worries about everything but is also sensitive and funny and loves to tell his story. The characters are not based on anyone I know, they come to me in my thoughts. I hear the story first in my head, then the challenge of putting them down into words begins.
Do you often hear feedback from your readers? Has there been any feedback that stuck out the most?
I’ve only had a few people give me feedback and it has all been very positive, which is truly amazing. One comment I did have was they wished the story was longer, so I have taken that on board for my next one.
How did you publish your book?
I sent Ryan the Gnome Adventures to Pegasus Publishers and they published it for me. I am unsure on how I will publish my next book.
How did it feel when your first copies of your book came through?
I was very excited! It felt great to hold the book for the first time, I would have loved a larger version like and A4 and not an A5.
What was the hardest scene that you have had to write?
There wasn’t really any that were hard to write. It just all flowed together, you must keep on track, it’s easy to over write a book.
Have you ever had writers block? How did you get past it?
Yes, I think all writers have this at some point. For me, I walk away from writing to clear my mind, I find this helps as I am thinking about the book all the time. It can be frustrating at times, but giving yourself space helps.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
That depends. It can take a few months or a year depending on the book and contents you are writing about.
What is your most productive writing space/area?
Being by myself is the best way to write. I am lucky, I sit at my computer by the window looking into the garden, it’s peaceful and pretty and gives me inspiration.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Getting my book published! To achieve this was a huge achievement, after being told by my teachers I would never get a book published which such poor English skills, due to my dyslexia.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I just like to relax and enjoy life. I spend a lot of my time working, like most people I work full time so any time I have off is enjoyable and I spend it with family or walking my dog, Millie with her best friend, Bertie.
Do you have any tips for authors that are just starting out in their writing journey?
Never give up, just keep working on your dream, who knows what is around the corner.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I have enjoyed doing this interview for you. It has made me think back to how it all began; the hard work and perseverance was always worth it and I wouldn’t change anything.
Ryan the Gnome Adventures – Amazon Link
Julia’s Facebook – Facebook Link