Unbeknown to a lot of people Juliet has been a choc-lit author for quite sometime…. Though she has been lurking in the background she is back with a new book in time for CHRISTMAS and I kinda feel like I should be asking a different set of questions to a Choc-lit pro
Welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” Juliet
What inspired you to write “Hope, Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise “
Hong Kong itself. For me, it embodies the ultimate East-West culture clash – an idea that inspired the first meeting between Ryan Hawke and Pip Smith, the hero and heroine of my book.
I’ve wanted to set a story in Hong Kong for a long time. My husband spent the first part of his life in Kowloon, and I felt as though I knew the place – or his version of it! – long before we went there in 2018 and 2019.
If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?
I’d say to myself: ‘Obviously, you care what happens to your characters – just make sure your readers do too!’
What I mean is, I can get so invested in my story that I forget to stand back and get inside the mind of a reader – e.g. ask myself what would make a reader care (or not) about a particular character, or what a particular scene is delivering in terms of their development.
I find it a challenge to be objective and that’s why, at the editing stage, the feedback from Choc Lit/Ruby Fiction’s Tasting Panel is invaluable.
What would you say to someone who wants to write?
‘Go for it!’
Writing is one of the best forms of self-expression I know. However, it is worth thinking about who you’re writing for. Is it yourself, your friends and family – or do you want to reach a wider audience?
If you want to reach a wider audience, then you need to do your research about how best to do that. It’s as much about what you write – that is, what is likely to sell – as it is about the marketing of the finished product. Writing for yourself, or friends and family, brings greater flexibility. And who knows? You might also reach a wider audience with something that you wrote just for you.
Finally, I’d recommend Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Over the years, I’ve found this an excellent source of wisdom.
If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?
My day job is full-on, which means that my non-working hours are precious and tend to get filled with family and friends. So, as with many authors, writing is very much fitted around other things – I just wish there were more hours in the day!
But writing is ‘me’ time and I love it. If I wasn’t doing it, I’d go to the gym more. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
How did you deal with rejections when you started out?
It wasn’t easy, but I just kept working at improving my writing – and my ‘sales pitch’.
And these days there’s so much information out there about different people’s experiences – you know you’re not alone!
What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?
I was Choc Lit’s first author!
My first book, The Importance of Being Emma, was their debut title. It was lucky enough to be shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan for Comedy Romance, and to win the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award.
Since then Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction have gone from strength to strength. They have a wonderful team – it was a no-brainer to send them Hope, Mistletoe and a Christmas Promise!
Which authors inspired you to write?
First and foremost, Jane Austen. She was the inspiration behind my first two books, The Importance of Being Emma and Persuade Me, which are updates of two of her novels. I love her witty insights into the human heart.
Another inspiration is Lee Child. Even though he’s writing a different genre, his books are real page-turners with impressive plotting.
The stories I wrote as a child were usually inspired by Enid Blyton, Lorna Hill and Elinor M. Brent-Dyer (Chalet School series) – and are best forgotten!
Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?
Ooh, lovely question! I’m going with an American to play Ryan and a Brit to play Pip – even though these days many actors can put on either accent.
Matthew McConaughey – at least the younger version! – has the same ‘look’ as Ryan,
I’d go for Vanessa Kirby or to play Pip. They both have the right height and build – Vanessa would just need to dye her hair, like she did for her Princess Margaret role in The Crown.
As for Jack, Pip’s brother and hero of my first book about the Smith family, One Summer Weekend, the only possible choice is Richard Armitage. Preferably at the age he was when he played John Thornton in the BBC’s North & South, as that was my inspiration for One Summer Weekend!
Do you have any writing routines or rituals, if so what are they?
I get up very early, and that’s often my writing time – although I need endless cups of tea to keep me going! If I’m writing later in the day, a glass of wine (or two) has been known to help.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t get as much time as I’d like for writing. When I do, I’m sure I’ll develop lots of routines and rituals!
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Shorter gaps between books, as I wind down the day job?!
My next book will be my third about the Smith family, the long-promised sequel to One Summer Weekend. This time the focus will be on Jack …
More About Juliet Archer
Juliet Archer writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts – watch out for the dark nutty ones!
Her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, won the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her second novel, Persuade Me, was shortlisted for the 2011 Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award.
She has written two books about the Smith family: One Summer Weekend and Hope, Mistletoe & a Christmas Promise. You can also read her short stories: Incense & Insensibility in the Love Match anthology, and Love Rules in the Kisses & Cupcakes anthology (both Choc Lit).
Juliet was born and bred in North-East England, and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and temperamental cat. She has two grown-up children, one in London and one in the USA, and has recently discovered the joys of grandchildren. Her non-writing career has spanned IT, company acquisitions, marketing and project management.
When a Christmas promise becomes hard to keep …
Pip Smith knows she owes it to her family to hold on to the festive traditions that have been a comfort since the year everything changed – but this Christmas she’s going to need a miracle to keep everyone in her life happy.
After she’s dumped by her fiancé, an invitation to visit a friend in Hong Kong in the run-up to the festive season seems to offer Pip the perfect escape – and she’ll be home for Christmas, of course. Except her escape ends up becoming far more complex than she intended, when she becomes involved with arrogant American Ryan Hawke and his niece, Shelby – a little girl whose most heartfelt Christmas wish is for a proper family.
Will Pip keep her Christmas promise – or will it be more of a compromise, with the help of a little hope and mistletoe?
Linked to One Summer Weekend but can be read as a standalone story. This is Pip’s story.
Juliet other books can be found HERE