I'm so excited to be a part of the 'Escape To The Riviera' book tour and share with you a fun interview I did with the author Jules Wake. You can read my full review of the book from yesterday's post HERE. I loved the book so much, its such a perfect summer read and I loved finding out more about the ideas and inspiration behind the story from Jules too.
I really hope you enjoy the interview, so here it is....
I always start with a character and their situation. With Carrie, I’d the idea of a woman married to an actor, who has become very successful but through circumstance their lives have taken separate directions.
Her character’s voice started to unfold in my head and I had to tell her story but the setting came later.
2. St Tropez plays a big part in the story. What made you choose that part of the world to set the book in and have you ever experienced the glamour of St Tropez or the South of France for yourself?
I wanted to locate the action of the story in a place that was completely different from Carrie’s usual setting, to heighten the sense of dislocation from her day to day existence.
St Tropez is famous for its glitz and glamour and seemed the perfect setting in which to emphasise that difference. Having been there, it’s a great place to take a peek at how the other half lives, with its designer shops, ridiculously over the top yachts and endless opportunities to people watch. I’ve actually included a scene based on something I once saw in St Tropez, where a couple descended the gang plank of their yacht onto a red carpet before getting into a chauffeur driven Silver Phantom Rolls Royce. It struck me at the time as the absolute height of decadence.
3. The main character in the story Carrie reflects on what her life could have been if she had made different choices in her life. I think this is something that a lot of readers will be able to relate to, the what if’s in life. Was this important for you to show how Carrie uses this moment of reflection to help do something positive in her life, to help her future?
Absolutely, I think, often, we make choices that perhaps when we’re older and wiser we might reflect upon and wonder whether we might have chosen differently. It’s important to realise that in some instances you can still change direction if you really want to. We don’t have to be defined by our past, you can make a conscious choice to do things differently in the future.
4. Carrie had always dreamt of being an actress, what was your childhood dream career?
As an avid reader with an active imagination, a passion for history and parents working in the film and television industry, I wanted to be a researcher on historical dramas. The TV series of Pride and Prejudice had been on (the one before the Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle’s version) and that influenced me too. However once I left university, having studied English with History, it was important to get a job straight away, I ended up working in public relations, which I’d not even heard of before and once I started, I absolutely loved it and never looked back.
5. I loved this book so much; I thought it was such a perfect, heart-warming story with the most beautiful ending. It felt like such a ‘happy’ book to me. I think it’s often underestimated how hard it is to write a really great, fun, happily ever after book and get it right. Do you feel like this genre is sometimes not given the praise it deserves?
Yes. Yes. Yes! There is a lot of snobbery about the romance genre. I have heard people dismiss a book as ‘chick lit’ or ‘light’ reading and in the next breath ask if I’ve seen the latest episode of I’m a celebrity, get me out of here or Made In Chelsea or Love Island. People can watch light entertainment without a qualm but it seems reading for entertainment and escapism isn’t quite as acceptable in some circle.
However, I think fans of the genre tend to be avid readers and very supportive of the authors who write romance.
6. As you said before becoming an author you worked in PR. Have you always wanted to write and what was your journey from PR to Author like?
As a child I always wanted to write but life got in the way for many years. It was when I took a break from work for six months that I started to write seriously. I gave up PR as it took up too much time and creative energy. I now work four days a week in a school office. For me it’s important to still get the stimulation and ideas from working with other people but not feel so drained at the end of the day you can’t get any writing done.
My writing journey really began when I joined the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers Scheme. The scheme offers a professional critique of your manuscript and a deadline in August, which makes you actually focus on finishing your book. The reports that come back look at every aspect of your writing and offer constructive advice. I wrote four books before the first one was published and since then I’ve written another five.
7. You’ve wrote books set in Paris, Italy and now the South of France. Do you know where you will be setting your next one?
The next book will be set in Rome, which I visited recently for the second time. It’s incredible that you can be standing on a busy street in the centre of a thriving
modern city bang next to ancient buildings like the Colosseum, the Palatine and the Pantheon. And of course, there’s the food and wine!
8. And finally, in true Is This Real Life fashion the last question I always have to ask...What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Always park your mini downhill.
You can buy the book from Wordery and get free delivery on your order too.