Saturday, June 13, 2015

Julie MacLennan, Author of Before We Say Goodbye

before we say goodbye, julie maclennan, train book, train fiction, train novel, strangers novel

Today we are interviewing Julie MacLennan, author of the women's fiction novel "Before We Say Goodbye."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. This is my first published novel although I have been writing for as long as I can remember.

One of my poems, ‘Farewell, Our Friend’ was read out at George Best’s funeral in late 2005 at Stormont. Another entitled ‘The Promise’ is currently being used by the Royal British Legion as part of their commemoration of the First World War. 

Describe the plot of "Before We Say Goodbye" in a few sentences.

It’s about four strangers who find themselves on the last train out of London before Christmas. They are all at a pivotal moment in their lives and after this journey things will never be the same again…

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Well, if you enjoy reading something that keeps you guessing all the way through – and you have no idea how it will end – I think you might quite like it.

What inspired you to write a book about four strangers on a train who will never be the same again after their journey?

I’ve been on many, many train journeys in my life and I love to ‘people watch’ so I suppose it really came from that – it started out as an idea in my head and then the characters took matters into their own hands and demanded that I put words on paper!   

Tell us about the four main characters.

My four main characters are Damien, Deirdra, Kate and Alessandro and they are very, very different in all aspects of their everyday lives and their personalities. I don’t want to spoil it by saying anymore…

Could you describe the creative process of this book for us, from initial idea to finished manuscript? As I’ve said the idea sprung from my train journeys and my fascination with people. I’d love to say it was really easy but it was a very long process from start to finish with many long nights and sunny weekends spent indoors. But I was lucky to meet some very special people along the way who helped and inspired me.
 
This is an emotional story that explores sorrow, joy, love, betrayal, etc. Did you set out to explore the deeper aspects of the human experience when you began writing the book? Or did the story develop that way as you wrote?

If I’m honest, a little bit of both. I had some idea of how I wanted certain characters to develop but it really was the case that they started to almost write their own stories as time went on. And even I didn’t really know how this book would end until almost the last minute..   

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

There are so many but my very favourite author was Dick Francis. I loved his books and read and re-read them so many times. I loved the suspense and the complexities of his characters and I suppose that I did draw on some of that for my own book.

Who was your favorite character to write?

I can honestly say that I loved them equally. I won’t spoil it for anyone but I’m amazed at how certain characters seem to have affected people much more than I would have thought. That has really pleased me and I get so excited when I get that kind of feedback. 

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?

I think that I’m a lot more disciplined than I was before I started. I now fully realize how much dedication and determination you need to cross the finishing line. It’s so much more than just having an idea in your head. I’m completely in awe of all those writers who have written many, many books and had them all published.   

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

I think it’s a good thing and that’s evidenced by how many people I now see on public transport with them. I would have to say that I personally love hardback/paperback books but I can see how and why e-books are the future.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

To keep on writing and hopefully to get amazing feedback from those who have enjoyed my work. That really makes it all worthwhile. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the thrill of someone coming up to me and telling me that they read my book in a night and cried buckets all the way through…

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

No. But I would love to be a bit more disciplined. There were many times when I was just too easy on myself… 

Have you ever had writer's block?

Not really. Maybe I was just lucky with the first book though. You might have to ask me that again after the second!

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper?

I use a computer because I’m quite good at the typing thing (learned it at school and it never goes away).  And sometimes a pen and paper if I get a good idea and I’m nowhere near the computer.
  
What do you have in mind for your next project?

I have a few ideas in my head but it’s a bit too early to say.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about "Before We Say Goodbye"?

It stays with you long after you have turned the final page….

More Information
Buy Before We Say Goodbye on Amazon UK
Buy Before We Say Goodbye on Amazon US
Check out Julie MacLennan on her publisher's website

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