Honno: “Great Women, Great Writing, Great Stories.” Today with Juliet Greenwood #FridayReads #BookLaunch

My greatest support has come from the group of authors published by Honno. We have a Facebook group where we can chat and ask for help, information and generally boost moral when it’s needed. And we’ve met up in real life on many occasions. About three years ago I shared interviews with some of them. Since then there have been other women writers who have become Honno authors. So this is the new set of interviews and today I am with friend, Juliet Greenwood.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I live in a traditional cottage in Snowdonia, in North Wales. I’ve had three novels published by Honno (Eden’s Garden, We That are Left and The White Camellia). Last year I was taken on by Orion, in a two-book deal, with the first, The Ferryman’s Daughter, published yesterday; the fourteenth May 2020.

When did you start writing?

Almost as soon as I started to read! I loved books and stories from an early age, so I was writing my own as soon as I could.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write historical fiction, mainly based around the time of WW1. I find that period fascinating because it was a time of so much change, particularly for women. It was when many women were breaking the boundaries of social expectations to be the angel of the hearth, taking up education and the professions and starting to live independent lives. I also find it fascinating because you can see where negative and dismissive attitudes to women originate. At the same time, the women themselves faced battles we can still recognise today – things like equal pay for equal work, being taken seriously and being heard in the first place.

I think the main thing for me is that history, having been mainly written by men in the past, has tended to overlook both the reality of women’s lives, and also just how much so many women achieved despite all the constraints (and certain men taking credit for their work!). I feel it is important to know our own history, because that is a large part of what forms our view of ourselves. I so wish I’d known as a teenager that women climbed mountains, were daring rescuers behind enemy lines in WW1 and led the fight for so many of the rights we – both men and women – take for granted, including the vote.

Who is your favourite (non Honno) author?

I’m going to cheat. It’s a mix of Barbara Bradford Taylor’s A Woman of Substance and Rosamund Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers. I love both of them.

Where do you write?

I have an office in the ‘crog loft’, a tiny room in my cottage that’s under the eaves and would have been where the children slept in Victorian times. One of the previous inhabitants put in a window, so I have a view over my garden, and over towards Anglesey and the sea. The sunsets are magnificent from up there!

Who is your favourite character in your books?

It’s always the one I’m working on at the moment! I love Hester, the heroine of The Ferryman’s Daughter for her sheer determination to get through and never give up – and because she’s nobody’s fool and takes no flim-flammery (as her Welsh grandmother calls it) from any young man up to no good. I love her mixture of being forthright and resourceful, while also being fiercely determined to be fair and protect her younger brother and sister at all costs. She has plenty of self-doubt and soul searching, but she always picks herself up and gets on with it and wins through.

What was your favourite bit of research?

I loved visiting St Ives, where The Ferryman’s Daughter is set, especially as I was able to visit my favourite places along the Cornish coast. I also have a bit of research for my next book for Orion, which I haven’t been able to do so far because of the lockdown, which is a day’s course in being a blacksmith. My great-grandmother was a nail maker, so I’m very excited to follow in her footsteps, if only briefly. I was ashamed to realise it had never occurred to me that there have been plenty of female blacksmiths, and not only during the world wars! (But that’s another story…)

How have you found it different being published by Orion after an indie press like Honno?

I’m eternally grateful that I had the experience of being published by Honno before finding an agent and having a two-book deal with Orion – especially when my first book, The Ferryman’s Daughter, was moved forward a whole year, meaning it was a bit of a mad dash to get the various stages of editing done, while also hitting the deadline for book two. Having been through the process in the slightly less pressurised atmosphere of Honno, and learning the different stages of the editing process, gave me the confidence to feel I knew what I was doing – and even more importantly know that I had done it three times before so could do it again! That experience has been utterly invaluable.

Honno authors with from the left Editor Caroline Oakley, Juliet, Carol Lovekin, Judith Barrow, Alison Layland, Janet Thomas (former editor of Honno, now Honno committee member), Thorne Moore, Hilary Shepherd, Jan Newton.

Honno also gave me time to develop as a writer and become more certain of who I was as an author. When I began working with Orion, I found I was very aware of where I could compromise while still remaining the essential me, while being clear with myself (and so being clear with others) where I didn’t feel comfortable. Everyone at both Honno and Orion have been wonderful and supportive, and have always made me feel valued and that my opinions would be heard.

The last few years have been quite a rollercoaster, and this business is definitely not for the fainthearted. But whether your publisher is large or small, nothing beats that feeling when a book finally comes together, and then goes out into the world to take on a life of its own. I wouldn’t have missed either experience for the world!

A little more about Juliet

An image posted by the author.

Juliet has always been a bookworm and a storyteller, writing her first novel (a sweeping historical epic) at the age of ten. She is fascinated both by her Celtic heritage and the history of the women in her family, with her great-grandmother having supported her family by nail making in Lye, in the Black Country, near Birmingham in the UK, and her grandmother by working as a cook in a large country house. She lives in a traditional quarryman’s cottage between the mountains and the sea in beautiful Snowdonia, in Wales in the UK, and is to be found dog walking in all weathers, always with a camera to hand

Social media links:

Juliet’s Blog: https://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  AuthorJulietGreenwoodhttps://www.facebook.com/authorjulietgreenwood

Twitter            @julietgreenwood   https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

Instagram:     JulietGreenwood   https://www.instagram.com/julietgreenwood/

Honno:           https://www.honno.co.uk/authors/g/juliet-greenwood/

The Ferryman’s Daughter:

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B083N19BTF/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

US: https://www.amazon.com/Ferrymans-Daughter-gripping-saga-tragedy-ebook/dp/B083N19BTF/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+ferryman%27s+daughter&qid=1587988452&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Wednesday’s Interview with #Honno authors – today with Juliet Greenwood

Today, on my Wednesday interviews with fellow Honno authors, I’m thrilled to be interviewing Juliet Greenwood, author of  Eden’s Garden and We That are Left

Juliet Greenwood

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live on the edges of a village in Snowdonia, in a traditional quarryman’s cottage with a large garden. I worked in London for nearly ten years after studying there, so I really appreciate the peace and quiet – although I love going back to the big smoke every now and again.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

The moment I began to read! I was a bookworm when I was a child and always writing stories. I took an English degree thinking that’s how you become a writer. I didn’t realise that you also needed to do a bit of living as well! I’ve always chosen jobs that allowed me to write, it’s the only career I’ve ever wanted. I’m glad it’s taken time though – I’m not sure I could have taken the criticism when I was younger.

 

Where do your ideas come from?

From all sorts of places. Often they are sparked by novels or factual books I am reading, or by something I catch on TV, and sometimes it can be something I’ve heard from my own family history. Since I’ve concentrated on writing historical fiction, much of my inspiration has come from stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things who have then been largely forgotten. Women have done amazing things right throughout history, as inventors and explorers and businesswomen – it’s those stories that fascinate me and that I want to tell. I’m currently writing about the suffrage movement, the women and men who campaigned peacefully for the vote for decades before the suffragettes appeared. It’s something I knew very little about, but that I came across while I was reading around my previous novel ‘We That are Left’, which was set in the First World War.

we_that_are_left_cover_artwork:Layout 1

 Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I write serials as well as novels. When I’m writing a serial I need to outline the plot as my proposal to the magazine. They then agree the plot and sometimes ask for changes – which is fine as they know their readers and they know what works. It’s only then that I write the full story. I have some freedom as long as I stay within the general outline. Because I’m writing one instalment at a time, there’s no opportunity to go back and change anything drastic. It’s a real discipline and I enjoy the challenge.

Magazines small

When I’m writing a novel I have more freedom. I usually know the beginning and the end and a general idea of the rest, but things can change. I like the fact that solving one problem can lead to a completely different strand of the story, and characters can take on a life of their own, so you never quite know what might happen.

 

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Starting the next book. Writing a 120,000 word novel is such a long process and it always feels a bit daunting to be right at the beginning again. I’m always in love with the idea of the next book, and that stays with me – it’s the long, hard slog of getting it down that is tricky and keeping hold of the faith that it will work.

 

What is the easiest thing about writing?

When the book finally falls into place and starts to get a life of its own. I find there’s usually a place in the middle where I’m quite convinced this was all a bad idea, and all my other books were flukes, and why don’t I just get a proper job? It’s usually about this point that I solve a knotty problem, and I know it’s going to work, and then I’m just racing to get it down. I know there’s still a lot of work to do, but once I know it’s going to work it doesn’t feel like work at all however bleary-eyed I get.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I have part-time freelance work as an academic proofreader/editor to help support my writing. I enjoy it, as it’s still words but it’s someone else’s thoughts and ideas, and I’m just doing the tweaking. Since many of the students are from all around the world, including Saudi Arabia, I get to see many different viewpoints, which is fascinating.

 

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Because the proofreading isn’t always predictable, I need to be flexible. It’s also done to strict deadlines, so I need to get it done first. I generally get up early, do a couple of hours proofreading and social networking, then I take my dog out for a walk. 

 Displaying Snowdon small.jpg

This is usually my thinking time, when I work on the next chapter of my book or knotty bits of the plot. I then return to the proofreading for another couple of hours. So it tends to be the afternoon and evening when I shut myself away to work on my books. If I don’t have a piece to proofread I just go for it and get as much done as I can.

Do you write every day?

Most days – especially when I’m in the final stages of a book, then I can’t stop!

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To make a full-time living from my writing.

So, what have you written? (books, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

I’ve written a time-shift mystery ‘Eden’s Garden’ and a historical novel set in WW1 ‘We That are Left’, both published by Honno and I’ve had a previous short novel published. I also write novellas, short stories and serials as ‘Heather Pardoe’.

 eden's_garden_cover:Layout 1

What are your views on social media for marketing?

I think social marketing is essential for a writer nowadays. There are so many books out there it’s a great opportunity to promote your work to a much wider audience, especially if you are published by a small press like Honno. It’s also a great opportunity to meet and interact with readers. That’s the bit I enjoy most. It’s great to get feedback – especially if someone really enjoys a book.

 

Which social network worked best for you?

I think each social network plays a different role. I like Facebook for building up relationships and sharing photographs. Twitter is faster and more fleeting – but it’s a great way of getting the message out to lots of people, especially if your book is on an Amazon kindle special offer. Most people are really supportive and get behind each other.

 

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

Be positive and cheerful. Don’t expect instant results, for both Facebook and Twitter it’s important to do favours for others out there and build relationships. If you help other people, they will help you. Don’t be too pushy of your own books – it only puts people off. If you are out there they will find out about you. NEVER friend or follow someone and immediately send a direct message suggesting they buy your book, or, even worse, promote it. I’m not the only one who immediately unfriends, unfollows, and blocks. It’s unprofessional and insulting. No one likes to be used. Most of all, enjoy! Sharing information can be fun, and I’ve met some wonderful people from all over the world.

 

Links:

 

‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014

The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014

The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014

Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014

Amazon Kindle #4 May 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/190678499X

‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012

Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014

Amazon Kindle #5 June 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1906784353

Website:      http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

Blog:             http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

http://www.honno.co.uk/