A Year Without Pyjamas…

trifectaAnd what a busy year it has been!

February 24th 2015 signified my official launch as a published author when my debut novel, The Friendship Tree, was released. Since then, my writing life has become even busier and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

I left the I.T. world in 2003 and began writing articles for Women’s Health & Fitness magazines and part of what kept my momentum was my routine of setting an alarm, having a shower, getting dressed, and eating breakfast before starting the day. I’d ensure I was at my desk well before 9 a.m. and I know it helped me to think of freelancing as a real job, even though I was working from home. I seem to have kept the same habit since I began writing fiction in 2011, and I think I work better when I’m up and ready to face the world, even if it’s the fictitious world I’m creating. Mind you, maybe I’ll think differently when my kids are old enough to walk themselves to school!

Author photo - Helen J RolfeSoon after I wrote The Friendship Tree, I planned and began Handle Me with Care and I went on to publish this title in June 2015, followed five months later by What Rosie Found Next. I enjoyed writing each of these books, going through the editing process, deciding on cover design and plotting the next story. I also love connecting with readers, authors and anyone else on social media. It can be lonely working away on a draft or editing, and when I hear from other writers, or perhaps readers in other countries who have enjoyed my novels, it really makes my day. I’ve had some lovely messages from readers in Toronto, Connecticut and Australia and it always gives me a buzz to know people overseas can read my books.

Book five is well underway now and I’m hoping to have the first draft finished within the next month… and then the hard work starts! I also hope to have some plans to publish book four very soon, and I will be sure to post my updates on Social Media as soon as I can.

So for now, Happy Reading!

Helen J Rolfe x

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Monday Interview with Jean Bull

Jean Bull is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme and is the self published author of Gipsy Moth, a novel set in 1930s Devon, and an anthology of short stories entitled Postcards and Suntan Cream.

Jean Bull

Hi Jean, welcome to the Write Romantics Blog and thanks so much for taking the time to be an interviewee.

Hi everyone, thank you very much for letting me be a part of your blog. I live in Oxfordshire, and love exploring the countryside. I belong to a ladies walking group, but with all our talking, I’m sure we scare all the wildlife away! I also enjoy reading novels set in the places I visit at home and abroad.

We know that, like us, you are a member of the NWS but we wondered if you could tell us a bit about how you came to join, how long you have been a member, the genre you write in and what inspired you to start writing?

I joined the NWS three years ago after seeing an article in a writing magazine about Katie Fforde who said what a good opportunity it was for unpublished writers. I write mainly historical romance, but have written some modern stories too. I love history and one of my greatest wishes would be to travel back in time to see how things really were.

I’ve also adored books from an early age and would always ask for them for Christmas and birthdays, so I think my love of writing grew from that.

Please can you tell us a bit about your journey so far, your self-publishing experiences and what is next for you?

Like many authors, I found it very difficult, ok, impossible, to find an agent for my novel, Gipsy Moth. My husband read about EL James, and thought I should have a go, but of course, my book is nothing like hers!

Jean Gipsy Moth

I didn’t find self-publishing too difficult. Firstly I asked Samantha Groom Magicat45degrees@googlemail.com to create a cover which was fantastic and really made me feel that self-publishing was possible. Then with the help of Catherine Ryan Howard’s book Self-Printed, and some guidelines from RNA member, Freda Lightfoot, I formatted my text for Amazon Kindle. Afterwards, I contacted Lonsdale Print Solutions to print me 100 copies to sell locally. It was wonderful to actually hold my own book in my hands!

Gipsy Moth has done quite well and you can buy it here. I am working on another novel set in the First World War, but I’ve also self-published a book of short stories Postcards and Suntan Cream which is available here!

Jean Suntan

Have you got any advice for other aspiring writers?

My advice is read as much as you can, and write as much as you can. You need the reading to develop your skills and feed your knowledge. And if you don’t write, your writing dreams will never come true!

What are your dreams and aspirations as a writer, in terms of your short-term and long-term career?

I would really like to be published by a mainstream publisher. I think that is every writer’s dream.

What has been the single biggest benefit of joining the NWS, do you think?

The single biggest benefit has undoubtedly been meeting so many friendly writers, not only people striving like me to be published, but also those well known novelists who are always willing to help and give advice.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us or any other advice you can offer?

It’s really worth going to the RNA conference, and meeting up with your local group each month for all that help and advice I’ve just mentioned. I’ve found that everyone in the RNA and NWS is so supportive.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Jean.  The Write Romantics would like to wish you continued success with your self-published work, as well as with fulfilling the rest of your writing dreams.

Find out more about Jean by following her at the links below:

http://jeanbullswritingblog.blogspot.com/
Follow me on Twitter @jean_bull
Gipsy Moth available on Amazon Kindle
Postcards and Suntan Cream available on Amazon Kindle