Rock My World by Julie Shackman-Review and Interview with the Author
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 14, 2014
Ruby Cameron is an ambitious reporter for a local paper where she is fed scraps of news, and lives with a man whose “idea of living dangerously is to leave the heating on when we pop out to the shops”. But after catching her squeaky clean boyfriend in flagrante delicto she ups sticks and moves into her own small home, only to discover the ghostly presence of a cheeky rock star who becomes her confidant as the dynamics of her small town, and her feelings about her dashing new boss, begin to throw up more questions than she can answer. Will Ruby discover who she really is, and perhaps more importantly, who she wants to be?
REVIEW: ROCK MY WORLD is a contemporary, paranormal, romance, suspense storyline focusing on twenty eight year old newspaper reporter Ruby Cameron and the ghost who resides in her new home. After she finds her boyfriend having sex with a younger woman, Ruby moves into a new housing development, built upon the grounds of a former theatre, where she is immediately assaulted by the familiar tones of 80s rock anthems. To Ruby’s surprise she is the only person who hears the music and with it will come the apparition of the long deceased Stevie V-front man and singer for the former Scottish rock group Legend who died close to twenty eight years earlier-on the very spot.
The storyline focuses on Ruby’s investigation into the death of Stevie V. The rocker has not been able to move on since his demise and pleads with Ruby to investigate what he believes was not an accident but a murder. As a reporter Ruby has more connections than the average person but what Ruby uncovers will shock everyone including herself. As if investigating Stevie’s death isn’t enough, Ruby will be introduced to a new reporter whose father owns the struggling paper and her attraction to Matt Jardine is immediate and unwelcome.
Julie Shackman writes an inviting storyline about one woman’s search for the truth but what she uncovers will change her life, as well. This is a story of suspense and mystery; betrayal and jealousy; losing and second chances. Our heroine Ruby will be given a second chance at love in the guise of a fellow reporter but what ensues is a game of push and pull.
The storyline is told from alternating first person (Ruby) and close third person POV. The writing style is simple and the backstory is revealed through investigation, interviews and reflection. A good portion of the storyline goes back and forth between present day and the past but not always in the same time period-the story spans over thirty years.
Julie Shackman references many of the songs, fads and happenings of the 1980s to give the storyline a familiar edge in reality. The secondary characters are an eclectic mix of family, friends and co-workers who add a little color and entertainment to the storyline.
ROCK MY WORLD is an entertaining and spirited story with a little bit of romance, a little bit of sex, a little bit of mystery and a little bit of suspense. If you like a mystery storyline with a little bit of romance woven throughout then ROCK MY WORLD will definitely entertain.
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi Julie and welcome to The Reading Café.
We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Julie: I trained as a journalist but writing romance has always been a dream of mine. When I’ve not got my head in a book or drafting one, I write verses and captions for greetings card companies. Writing at home seems to be incredibly difficult for me – I usually require coffee, music and noise. I’m married with two sons and live in Scotland.
TRC: What or who influenced your foray into writing?
Julie: I remember reading novels by writers like Judith Krantz when I was about 13 and I thought “Wow!” The idea of sitting writing and using your ideas and your words to make readers laugh, cry and empathise with you just seemed wonderful to me. I’ve always been obsessed with writing and books from an
TRC: You once were employed as a writer for greeting cards. Please tell us the details 😉
Julie: I still write verses and captions for greetings card companies and really enjoy doing it! The idea came to me when I read about a writer in theStates who’d make a success of it and I wondered whether I should give it a try. I pulled together several different verses and started sending them off to greetings card companies. After a couple of weeks, two came back and said they wanted to purchase some of my work and that was it.
TRC: Did you have the opportunity to ‘see’ the greeting cards prior to writing the verses?
Julie: I do occasionally get sent the designs to work from. Other times, I’m provided with a description or design brief saying what they are looking for. A lot of the art work is gorgeous.
TRC: As a journalist were you able to travel the world? What do you miss most?
Julie: I didn’t travel the world no, but I did cover some very diverse stories and met some really interesting characters. I probably miss some of them the most!
TRC: ROCK MY WORLD is your February 2014 release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Julie: Ruby Cameron is an ambitious reporter for a local paper where she is fed scraps of news, and lives with a man whose “idea of living dangerously is to leave the heating on when we pop out to the shops”. But after catching her squeaky clean boyfriend in flagrante delicto she ups sticks and movesinto her own small home, only to discover the ghostly presence of a cheeky rock star who becomes her confidant as the dynamics of her small town, and her feelings about her dashing new boss, begin to throw up more questions than she can answer. Will Ruby discover who she really is, and perhaps more importantly, who she wants to be?
TRC: Is this a standalone novel or do you have plans for a series?
Julie: “Rock My World” is a stand-alone novel. I don’t have any plans to make it into a series. I think Ruby, Stevie and Matt (my three main characters) would agree that their story has been told. I did love writing it though and got a bit emotional when I’d typed “The End.”
TRC: Are any of the characters or the storyline premise based in reality?
Julie: No, they’re not wholly based on people I’ve met. There’s elements there of people I know…!
TRC: What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an instalment with a major cliff hanger?
Julie: I think writing like that is a great idea and really helps to hook readers. However, I think as a writer you have to follow your heart. It’s probably just a case of finding the type of writing style, story and genre that suits you and that you love and then just going with it.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Julie: There’s definitely a bit of both of these elements going on at times! Usually though, my characters seem to do their own thing and I try to give them freedom.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?
Julie: I often read “Write what you know” and “If you enjoy writing your novel, it comes through and the reader will enjoy it too.” So if you can put some of your own genuine feelings and emotions into your characters and into the story generally (whilst loving doing it!) I think you’ll hook the reader.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
Julie: I’ll go out for a walk; read a book or listen to some music. Sometimes though, I’ll try to push through it and even if I seem to write a lot of rubbish, I’ll leave it and go back and try to improve it the next day.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story and series?
Julie: I didn’t really find any difficulties writing “Rock My World.” I did quite a bit of research on the internet, just checking facts on 80s rock music and lifestyle/politics of the time. That brought back a few memories!
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Julie: I bounce ideas off my Husband and friends and family mainly. I can usually see on their faces what they make of my ideas!
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Julie: I have just finished writing my second novel (a rom-com) and am polishing that at the moment. I’m also pulling together research and ideas for my third novel (also a rom-com) which has a well-known historical figure as its main character.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
Julie: I just want to keep writing romances that make people laugh and cry.
Secondly, like most writers, I would love for one of my books to be turned into a TV drama.
Lastly, I wouldn’t mind getting involved in writing a mini-series for TV.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Julie: I learnt Russian at secondary school and got an O Level in it.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Julie: Just to say thank you so much to The Reading Cafe for this great interview!
Favorite Food – Anything Italian!
Favorite Dessert – Sticky Toffee Pudding
Favorite TV Show – Strictly Come Dancing and The Musketeers
Last Movie You Saw – The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug – I’m a huge
Richard Armitage fan and have been for a few years now.
Dark or Milk Chocolate – Milk Chocolate – preferably with nuts!
Secret Celebrity Crush – Richard Armitage (again!) I also think Bradley
Cooper is a honey.
Last Vacation Destination – Malta – It was beautiful.
Pet Peeve – I can’t stand it when people jump queues or don’t say please
and thank you. If they happen to do both, it sets my teeth on edge!
TRC: Thank you Julie for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of ROCK MY WORLD. We wish you all the best.