Crossing the ocean, I ventured into Bulgaria. As Jules, aka Julie Nicholls, and I talked, her country came alive for this Western gal. The sand from the Black Sea beaches tickled our toes as we took a sunset walk. Sozopol, one the oldest towns on Bulgaria’s Blas Sea coastline, enchanted me. We visited the Rila Monastery which was built in the late 1800s followed by the Belogradchick Fortress, a man-made construction, set against s crop of rocks which led to a new short story being penned. And when we reached the glacial lakes high in the Rila Mountains known as the Seven Lakes my breath stole away, my soul quieted and tranquility entered. Ahh, to soak in natures artwork and visit with an accomplished author means life, at this moment, can be summed up into three words: Life is Good.
We ended up in Melnik, the smallest of the cities in Bulgaria and home of some of the best wineries in the country. With pleasantries out of the way, we settled in for the interview, but first, we lifted our wineglasses, and gave a salute to all independent authors around the world.
K-Trina: Jules, it has been wonderful to see your beautiful country. You have been the most excellent hostess. Now, it’s time to turn the tables. Tell me a bit about yourself.
Jules: I enjoy meeting new people and love interacting with people via social media. I am 51 years young and enjoy living life in Bulgaria. I am English and my husband and I moved here over nine years ago to enjoy an early retirement. Writing and painting are my favorite pastimes, although living in South Bulgaria, wine making country, also brings me closer to another passion.
As a child, I wanted to be an artist. I spent my days drawing and painting. When I was about to leave school, it was my dream to become a graphic designer, but I learned that the world only catered for men at that time. I was never successful in attaining a position at any of the companies I went to, and one day I finally asked after I had been refused an apprenticeship, why wasn’t I accepted? Was it because I wasn’t good enough? The reply I received would now be against the law. I was told no one would take me on a three-year apprenticeship because they would expect me to be married and pregnant by the time I was 18. Awesome, eh?
K-Trina: (I lifted my glass, tipped it towards her and took a sip.) A different era. Thank goodness times has changed for women and we have the ability to not only work in any field we want, but also to be successful in it. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Jules: I’d had a few times through my life where I thought I might be able to write a story, but never amounted to anything. It wasn’t until about five years, when I discovered FanFiction, that I decided I wanted to have a go seriously at writing. Both Demon Within and Angel Within are full size novels and each took about 4 months. I did wake up a week or so ago with a short story in my head, and wrote that in a few days.
K-Trina: When writing, what does your life look like and where do your ideas come from?
Jules: I can’t concentrate on anything else as the story is in my mind constantly. I go to bed thinking about the next few chapters and how they will play out and even envision conversations between characters, so that the next day, I can get writing.
I put a lot in a story, twists and plots. While my books are romance based, there’s also other interesting aspects going on. The main storyline comes from fantasies in my head and when I need facts or other information, I go to Google. Lol
K-Trina: Thanks to the e-world, there are many options to publish a book. Which have you chosen?
Jules: My own books are sold exclusively on Amazon and Createspace. I find they are the most widely used company for downloading eBooks, and also I’m able to fill out all their forms online, without having to produce documents for tax purposes. I live in Bulgaria, and getting all the information required for other places, is a lot of work, and so I decided to stay with just Amazon because of this reason.
K-Trina: When did you write your first book, how old were you, and what does your family think of your writing?
Only recently, last year (2014) and I was 51. I’ve written five in total and it’s very difficult to choose, because I love them all, however, for a favorite short story, I would say Fantazia, and for a full novel, Demon Within. My family have been very supportive and my husband is the tea boy!
K-Trina: You said that when you were younger, you liked to paint. Now that you are an adult, in early retirement, what do you like to do when you're not writing?
Jules: I’m an artist, especially a book cover artist at this moment and so I’m using up any time I have working for other authors. I have recently released my own coloring book for adults, called Stress Buster.
K-Trina: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Jules: I learned how many other people thought they had a great idea for a book too! Lol. I also learned to be patient, and also to ignore negative comments from other people who put themselves above other newbies. I would tell anyone that they must not give up and write, write, write.
K-Trina: What do you think makes a good story?
Jules: A bit of everything… in my opinion. While I love a good romp between the sheets with hot passion, I also want something else to engage me. A good story plot, engaging characters and a few surprises always makes for a good story.
K-Trina: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Jules: I’ve had some fabulous feedback from readers and because of Demon Within, I’ve made some wonderful friends.
K-Trina: I have made many friends as well with both fellow authors and fans. Jules, I've had a wonderful time visiting you and your beautiful country! Now it is time to give the readers a teaser of your work and I hope you will come back to visit with us at your next release. Good luck!
An Angel Within, 2nd book in the Fallen Angels Series
Seeking the solace of the hills, broken and in despair, Kai wandered into the hillside. His heart was breaking in two with each passing moment, and despondent thoughts filled his mind. Branches snapped under his feet as he searched for a place to rest. Watching the swaying branches as the gathering breeze picked up, he leaned against the rocks to rest. The wounds incurred from Tigan were not so painful after Sian administered healing, but his heart was broken. The suffering of his lover, wife, and queen, was a constant reminder in his troubled mind.
He clutched the pendant, given to him by Eloise when he left for Blackhill, and squeezed his eyes shut. The memory of himself and Eloise in the temple of truth the day before their wedding, flooded into his mind. As quick as a lightning bolt expelled from Eloise’s hands, his fear of dying alone flashed into his mind, as he realized he could lose Eloise, then once more he would have no one.
‘Eloise…’ Kai’s broken words fell unheard on the hillside. Tightening his fingers around the pendant, his breaths increased as thoughts turned to her and his unborn child. Tigan needed to die, and with his dying breath, he would see it happen. Although painfully aware he was no match for him, he had to try. As his thoughts turned to Eloise, how afraid she appeared, the rage built inside. His hand squeezed the gold pendant and cursed the seraphim for their gift. It served to aid her now as a sacrificial offering to a fallen.
Anael!’ Kai’s voice roared and echoed throughout the hillside in the still of the night.
‘ANAEL!’ He cursed.
Kai’s head fell back in despair against the rocks where he rested, as rivers of tears flowed down his bruised cheeks.
‘You are hurting, Kai of Darkmide.’
Snapping his head towards the voice, Kai pushed away from the rock and gazed at the figure.
Appearing taller than himself and surrounded by a glowing light, the form of a man slowly appeared.
‘You are Anael?’