British author Julia Sutton may chase children at a a primary school daily, but the rest of the time she is chasing her lifelong dream of writing. Recently, I had the privilege of getting to know this author of The School of Dreams, Visions of the Heart, and Student Affairs. And this is what she had to say.
Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? Who are you? Where are you from? Etc.
Hello Laurie 😊 I’m Julia from Wolverhampton which is a bustling city in the middle of England. I’m 46 and as well as being a writer I work as a lunchtime supervisor in a primary school. I only work two hours per day but I do love my job as I have always loved working with children – especially the wee ones. I’ve written since I was really young and definitely believe that you are born a writer. It’s sort of like an overwhelming urge to express yourself through the written word and you need to possess empathy – that’s the one. A good imagination also helps 😊
How many books do you currently have published?
I currently have three books published which are all available via Amazon and other online stores. They are the first three books in the School of Dreams series and I’m just in the process of writing the fourth and final book.
What has been your favorite book to write so far and why?
I really loved writing both Visions of the Heart and Student Affairs. In Visions of the Heart I focused quite a lot on the characters of Will and Hema and enjoyed writing about their cross-cultural romance and the conflict between the two sets of parents. I also loved writing Student Affairs, especially the romance between Juliette and the gorgeous lecturer – swooning heart-racing stuff 😊
Are you currently working on a book/short story/project?
Yes I’m working on the fourth book in the series and have decided to call it The Year of New Beginnings – because it’s the end of university and the beginning of their new lives. I’ve also written a few children’s stories and have been busy searching for a publisher for them.
Will this be your next release?
Yes, as soon as I’ve finished and edited it, I will send it off to the publishers (hopefully they will love it as much as I do). They are pretty good in getting a book out there quickly and it is the final book in the whole series which is really exciting and kind of sad at the same time.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love immersing myself in a fictitious world and creating diverse and interesting characters. I also love writing dialogue and emotional scenes, especially the kissy mushy scenes and sex scenes? Yep, love writing them too! I just love everything about writing – it makes me very happy 😊
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Yes I do sometimes get writer’s block where my mind goes completely blank and I can’t see the words, but I overcome this by using pen and paper – sounds odd but it helps restart the creative process.
Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?
The character Sophie takes lots of twists – she has a mind of her own and is so funny and over-dramatic. And Evelyn has gone through a complete transformation – in book 1 she was so shy and now she’s all confident and determined. Will and Hema have progressed so much too as well – their uncomplicated love for each other is so sweet.
Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?
My personal favorite is probably Juliette because she is lovely and she has this amazing romance – envy – LOL. I don’t have a least favorite – I like all my characters, even the mean ones. Nobody is perfect; we all have flaws and I like to convey that within my characters. It makes them more interesting and realistic.
So far, what has been your favorite scene to write?
I think my favorite scene has got to be when Will was stabbed and had a near death experience – it was really exciting to write!
What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?
I’ve learned that I’m actually super-organized and super-creative – I’ve always known it was there – it just took me a while to unlock it.
My tips for newbie writers:
Don’t get disheartened by reviews – it’s just one person’s opinion.
Follow your heart and write about what interests you.
Don’t let anyone dissuade you from writing – do it for you.
If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why?
I would recommend The School of Dreams of course! It’s the first in the series which has to be read chronologically, otherwise the reader will become all confused.
Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character?
This teaser excerpt is taken from chapter 16 of my work in progress… “After all the worry and fuss, the dreaded talk with Josh and Jake had taken less than twenty minutes. For five minutes Sophie had skirted around the main issue by chatting about how well her boys were progressing at school. She then spent approximately seven minutes explaining what she had been like when she was a little girl.
“What’s up Mum?” Josh had asked in his usual forthright manner.
Her very slightly older twin had always been perceptive, even as a toddler he was able to pick up on a tense atmosphere. Whereas Josh was so laid back he was almost horizontal and the opposite in that life’s tribulations seemed to just fly smoothly over his head unnoticed.
“Nothing’s up,” Sophie squeaked, mind racing, “I’ve just had some news – family news.”
Josh sighed, “what’s Grandma Fletcher done now?”
“Nothing,” Sophie’s laugh bordered on hysteria, “for a change!”
“Is it Dad?” Jake was suddenly sitting up straighter, “is he okay?”
“Yes love he’s fine,” Sophie rubbed his hand, “sorry. It’s me, this is about my family,” she sucked in a breath, “actually it’s news about my dad.”
“She means the Grandad no one ever mentions,” Jake eyerolled at his twin.
“I thought he was dead,” Josh admitted.
“No!” Sophie said aghast, “did Grandma ever tell you that?”
“Nope. But no one ever mentions him.”
“You never even told us his name,” Jake accused, with raised eyebrows.
Sophie’s sigh was heavy and sad, “that’s because I was very upset with him. Grandpa Fletcher has a new name now. His name is Anthony Coben and I’d guess he’d be in his sixties.”
“Why don’t you know how old he is?” Josh was staring at her with wide, innocent eyes. Time for the truth.
“When I was a little girl, younger than you guys. Grandpa was very ill, so ill that he ran away and I’ve never seen him since. And that’s why I don’t know much about him.”
Josh and Jake looked at each other with excitement.
“Was he in trouble with the cops?”
“Was Grandpa a criminal?!”
“No. He was very poorly here,” she tapped the side of her head, “and he was frightened and felt all alone. So he went to live in a different country until he felt better.”
“Poor Granddad,” Josh’s lower lip trembled, “is he okay?”
Sophie nodded, tears brimming in her eyes, “Granddad slowly got better and he met a new lady and they had a baby and…and that baby’s now all grown up and he’s called Barry; he’s your uncle and he’s lovely.”
“Yes Uncle Barry – my brother, your uncle.”
There was silence for a few moments while the boys digested this new information.
“Can we go see him?”
Sophie wiped the tears away, “even better,” she said, smiling brightly, “uncle Barry is here. He’s traveled all the way from Hong Kong.”
Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?
I love reading romances and psychological thrillers. I also love reading horror books by writers such as Stephen King and James Herbert but I don’t like gore.
What about television shows? Movies?
I don’t watch much T.V to be honest, but if I do I like Eastenders, drama series, and wildlife documentaries. I love watching horror and ghost films but have to hide behind a cushion if they get too scary. I also love totally far fetched love films such as Twilight and The City of Angels and I love film adaptations of classic books. Jane Eyre is my favorite.
Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why?
Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is utterly brilliant. I kept thinking about it afterwards and it made me cry.
Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions?
Never done any live events or book signings but would like to one day – that would be awesome 😊
If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say?
Empathy. Imagination. Intuition. Creativity. Perseverance. Focus. Fulfilment. Power. Love. Vocation.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I love reading, drawing, swimming, cooking, the sea, sleeping and that’s about it.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers?
I would be so pleased if you read my work and enjoyed it. I’ve put my heart and soul into it and I’m so proud of me 😊
For more information about Julia, see below.
Thanks to Julia for sharing your story!