Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Tag: Greek

Interview with Julie Ryan: Going Greek

I’m delighted to welcome Julie Ryan to my place today. We are chatting fiction, the Greek Islands and romance.

Grab a cuppa and come and join in!

What inspired you to write your book?

I lived in Greece in my twenties but it wasn’t until I was at home in Gloucestershire years later that I idly began to wonder how my life would have been different if I’d stayed there. I began writing what I thought would be a short story but ‘Jenna’s Journey’ took on a life of its own. I love the idea of ‘What if..?” and gave my book a kind of ‘sliding doors’ double ending.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

A lot of my friends look at my characters to see if they can see themselves in my books. The truth is I may take an element from someone I know and then mix it with the looks of a person I’ve seen on TV and the voice of someone I overheard on the bus. I don’t consciously base my characters on anyone I know but if you look closely enough you may find just a little bit of you in there.

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

I chose to base my book on what I know so that’s why it’s set in Greece in 1987. I didn’t have the opportunity to go back and see how Greece has changed so I deliberately set the story on a fictional island. I did do a lot of online research into Greek customs as well as getting out all my old photos and a map of Athens from the period. I think setting it during the time I lived there gives the book a sense of authenticity that I wouldn’t have got by just Googling it.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

It really depends. I chose third person for most of Jenna’s Journey but sometimes find myself using first person too. The characters and storyline usually decide for me as I often find that I need to switch person if it’s just not working. Third person is useful as the narrator can tell the overall story from different characters’ points of view, whereas first person means you are usually limited to just one character.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I like to have a general idea of where the story ends and then throw in a few characters and a setting and see where it takes me. I can’t possibly plan out all the novel in detail chapter by chapter as it wouldn’t be a surprise to me either. I rather like not knowing where the story is going but it does mean a lot of revisions!

What is your writing regime?

I write when I can and wherever I can. In practice this usually means in the morning at my dining room table once my son has gone to school. I fit it around teaching and am lucky that I work from home. As I’m nearing the end I may take my laptop to bed and write for an hour or so. I also write longhand in a notebook on long car journeys. It really is a case of when inspiration strikes – write! The opposite is also true. If I have writer’s block there is no point just looking at a blank page – I just get on with something else.

What excites you the most about your book?

Finishing it! I’ve always been a reader and admired writers for the pleasure they bring. I never actually thought I had it in me to finish a book. Seeing it in print ranks up there as one of the top three moments of my life, after my wedding and the birth of my son. It’s hard to  believe that I’ve now written four books in total, three in the Greek Island mystery series and a Christmas humorous romance.


Blurb for Jenna’s Journey – the first book in the Greek Island Mystery series

Heading to the Greek Isles without telling husband or friends is heady medicine for a failing marriage. Seduced by Grecian sun and sky, Jenna innocently obtains an ancient urn that tangles her into a web of a criminal world more sinister then she could ever have imagined. Romance is always afoot in the Greek Isles and Jenna gets a large helping with the seductive Nikos.
Twenty-five years later, Allie takes this same journey in a story that spans 25 years and intertwines the lives of mother and daughter. Twisty as the streets in a Greek island village, full of unexpected characters and threatening villains, Jenna’s Journey will keep you turning pages far into the night.


Buy links



Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles.

Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in Julie Ryan’s Greek Islands Series, a series she did not set out to create but which took on its own life and grew, rich and fascinating. This is the first of three published so far and promises to delight readers looking for the hidden dark sides of dream vacations in the Greek Isles.

In a new venture, Julie’s latest book is a short rom-com called Callie’s Christmas Countdown.

A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.

You can find Julie on her websites:

Website/blog for book reviews


Twitter @julieryan18 


Many thanks Julie. Do drop around for coffee and cake again!

Happy reading,

Jenny xx

Interview with Rebecca Hall: Girl Gone Greek

I have a brand new visitor to my blog today, the lovely Rebecca Hall. Not only is Rebecca a travel writer, she has also written a novel about her adventures in Greece.

Why not grab a cuppa, pull up a chair, and put your feet for five minutes, and join in our chatter…

coffee and cake

What inspired you to write your book?

I lived in Greece for a while, teaching English. Now I divide my time between this beautiful country and the UK.  At the time (about 2010), Greece was going through a lot of negative press (and still is, to a certain degree).  It made me angry because what was being represented was not the Greece I knew, and not a true representation of the people I knew.  It insulted me to hear my adopted countrymen being accused of being lazy, insolent and the root of all the problems in the E.U. And so I set about writing, in novel format, my experiences of the Greece and her people.  I wanted to make it humorous and bring the characters to life, for people to see another side to Greece…one very much absent from the press.

GGG resize to 80

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

Absolutely! Girl Gone Greek is ‘faction’ really (fact in fiction format) and is based on my first year living in a remote Greek village as an EFL teacher.  The head of the school, the other teachers and the protagonist’s best friend all have character traits of people I’ve met, interacted with and developed friendships and relationships with.

Kaliopi, the best friend, was certainly modeled on my best Greek friend. And the real Kaliopi doesn’t mind at all.  She actually thanked me for highlighting elements of her character and psyche she never realized existed! (I hurriedly told her it was fiction so an element of poetic license was involved, but she seemed pleased nonetheless).

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

Much of Girl Gone Greek was taken from my own personal experiences.  I also included historical references to Greece’s past, especially about the (only quite recent) dictatorship in the 1970’s, a couple of references to specific events in Athens during World War II and recent events during the current troubled economic times.

For recent events, I was in Greece myself so I could ask my Greek friends to help me understand. The specific Dictatorship and World War II references are common knowledge to all Greeks, young and old so first hand accounts were quite easy to come by, luckily.  I was lucky to be able to get primary research.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

Definitely the latter – just go with the flow. I am not a ‘rigid’ person generally and find following strict guidelines and rules in general in life very restricting (hence why I love the semi-chaos of Greece). Although maybe I should actually try to set myself a timeline and plot in advance because it took me a long time to write, learn about and then self-publish Girl Gone Greek.  And it’s also taking me a long time to get into the groove of writing my follow up novel.  Maybe if I had a deadline, this’d help me to discipline myself.

What excites you the most about your book?

The fact that it seems to excite others to want to come and experience another side to this wonderful country, with its aesthetic beauty and kind hearted people.   Lovers of Greece had left me reviews and / or emailed me personally to thank me for what I’ve written and for showing the humane side.  Greeks have thanked me for showing their country in a different light and for understanding their quirks.  It excites me to feel I can offer this to my adopted countrymen: make a difference to the way people view Greece, at least to the small percentage of people who read and like my book enough to want to explore more.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Girl Gone Greek is a humorous fictional, yet honest account of one woman’s experience in a small Greek village. The Greek people encountered every day in this country are enough to write a novel in itself! Drama is originally a Greek word – and there is enough drama in Greece to write many novels, even non-fiction!  But the Greeks know how to survive, and with it, offer philotimo (not a word, but a concept, meaning offering friendship to strangers).

I hope you’re encouraged to visit Greece and create your own Greek story.








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Girl Gone Greek is Rebecca Hall’s debut Contemporary Women’s Fiction Novel – available on Amazon.

After extensive global travels, Rebecca left the UK to return to the country she fell in love with—Greece, where she teaches English, writes and wryly observes that the chaotic nature of her adopted country actually suits her personality very well. All travel experiences, & particularly living in versatile cultures, have helped to shape who she is today. She is a Rough Guide co-author (Greece & The Greek Islands and Portugal) and has contributed to numerous publications including Apollo Business Class Magazine for Cyprus Airways and Let’s Go for RyanAir, the Daily Telegraph Travel Section and her container ship voyage from Athens to Hong Kong caught the eye of NPR National Radio in the United States, where she was interviewed twice.

When not writing, you’ll usually find her drinking coffee with friends, or sourcing a new place to eat baklava.


Many thanks Rebecca. Excellent interview.

If you are in the South West, and want to meet Rebecca in person, she will be talking at this year’s Tiverton Literary Festival (8th-12th June)- details coming soon.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x


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