Behind the Pen with Julie Shackman

Today I warmly welcome Julie Shackman to Behind the Pen. Julie’s latest novel, A Room at the Manor (which I loved, you can read my review here) was released this week. Over to you Julie!

Thank you for inviting me onto your lovely blog Theresa and for interviewing me!

How would you describe A Room at the Manor in only five words?
Oh, that’s a tricky one! The five words I would choose, would be; Romantic; Funny; Inspiring; Delicious and Passionate! (Hope the readers agree!)

Where did the inspiration for all of the gorgeous teashop treats included in A Room at the Manor come from? Are you a keen baker yourself?
I write in my favourite tea shop and it was that setting that gave me the inspiration for Thistles and incorporating baking into my novel. I occasionally dabble with baking at home, but I find that reading and writing take priority. I keep promising myself that I will undertake more baking though.

If you could sit down to morning tea at Thistles, what would you order?
I am very partial to a warm and buttered fresh scone, with a pot of tea!

Where do you write? Is at the same place each time or are you an all over the place type of writer?
I have tried to write at home but it never works. I get far too distracted by housework (sad, I know!) and social media – mainly social media…!
So, I gather up my notebook and pens and take myself off every weekday morning to my favourite tea shop to write.
I find it easier to write in long-hand first and then type it onto the PC when I get home.
I love music and seem to write far better when there are songs playing in the background. I listen to the lyrics and they can be very inspiring.
The only down side is being surrounded by such delicious baking, so I make sure I also exercise every day to compensate for any temptations there might be!

What draws you to the romance genre, as both a reader and a writer?
I think the romance genre is one of the most imaginative. Whether it’s time travel, contemporary; historical… the list is endless and there are so many original settings and characters. That’s why I love reading and writing romance so much. It is just so diverse and there’s room to let your imagination run wild!

What is your favourite book? The one you recommend, don’t leave home without and give as gift type of favourite?
Oh my Goodness! There are so many books that I love, but one that really stayed with me, is “Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe?” by Hazel Osmond. It is such a romantic, sexy and funny book and the main character Jack Wolfe, is simply irresistible. I felt bereft when I finished it!

Do you have a favourite literary quote? If so, are you happy to share it with us?
It might be a bit of an obvious one, but one of my favourite literary quotes is “If music be the food of love, play on,” from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. That is my favourite play of his. I think it must be the first romcom! It says so much about the importance of love in our lives and how much it is needed, but in a poetic and simple way.

You also write verses for greeting cards. What is involved in that sort of writing? Is it a case of writing a set amount of verses on a specific theme and then seeing them pop up in cards or am I way off base?
Often, the greetings card companies will supply a brief and design samples to describe what sort of verse or captions they are looking for. It is really fun and rewarding, especially when you see the finished, beautiful card and your words are on it or you walk into a shop and a card you have written for, is sitting on the shelf.

Which supporting character in A Room at the Manor was the most fun to write?
I particularly enjoyed writing Christine, Lara’s empowered Mum! She is a real force of nature and has some very forthright opinions on most things! I like the way she is so verbally uninhibited and won’t stand for what she sees as social injustice or the establishment, impacting on her views. She was great fun to write about!

Which scene in A Room at the Manor was your favourite to write?
I think one of the scenes that really stands out for me and which I had a lot of fun writing, is the “bruised finger” incident with Lara and Vaughan.
I won’t give too much away, as I don’t want to spoil it for readers, but I really enjoyed the verbal sparring between the two of them during this.
You also see a different side to Vaughan.
I wanted it to be funny, tender and a bit sexy, all at the same time.
I just hope the readers agree!

Thank you so much again Theresa for having me on your fab blog!

A Room at the Manor

When her Maltese love affair turns sour, Lara McDonald returns to her quiet Scottish hometown of Fairview heartbroken, yet determined – instead of looking for another PR position, she decides to follow her dream of baking. She impulsively takes the first job offered and finds herself working for local dragon Kitty Walker in her tea room, True Brew.

Lara’s life is full of surprises, however, not the least being an unlikely friendship forged with one of Kitty’s elderly customers, the former laird Hugo Carmichael. The Carmichael family has lived at the beautiful Glenlovatt Manor for almost three hundred years and, although in need of renovation, Hugo, his son and grandson currently make it their home.

There’s something about Lara that Hugo likes, and when Hugo suddenly passes away, Lara is stunned to discover she is mentioned in his will. But not everyone is happy with the old Laird’s faith in Lara.

A story of love, family, hope and trust, A Room at the Manor will delight every reader keen to find their place in the world.

Read my full review here.

7 thoughts on “Behind the Pen with Julie Shackman

  1. Awww, I love that her writing routine/setting (in the tea shop) bled over into her work! I wonder how often that happens… maybe I’ve got a great novel in me that will feature lots of my grandmother’s dining room table and the paint peeling off my living room walls 😉 hahahahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

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