We’re having a great time here at Sue’s Blog Party, and another lovely guest has joined us. It’s the writer, Julie Ryan. I must first apologise to Julie for the racket, Linda will keep playing that Roxy Music CD at full volume. (She sure does seem to love it!) Julie’s brought some classic treats for this time of year – good old mince pies and mulled wine. Thanks, Julie. I’ll just go and heat these up and then we’ll find somewhere quiet to take a look at your Q&As.

What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you? My love of books and reading stems from the fact that as a child I was obsessed with Enid Blyton. Each week as my mum did the grocery shopping, I’d be curled up by the book aisle to see how much I could read before she finished the shopping. If I was lucky every few weeks she’d buy me a book I hadn’t read and I still have some of them today.

Who is your favourite literary character? Ebenezer Scrooge is a masterpiece of a creation. ‘A Christmas Carol’ is one of my favourite Christmas books but the fact that Scrooge has endured for so long is a tribute to Dickens’ genius. Not only does the character have us all looking back nostalgically at Christmas past but he also makes us look at our own behaviour. I think the world today could learn a lot from him.

Which book have you always meant to get round to reading, but still not read? There are so many that I wouldn’t know where to begin. I have an addiction to books and can’t pass up a good book yet even if I live to be a hundred and read every day, all day, I still won’t be able to finish all the ones on my list. I tend to read chick lit, romance, thrillers and literary fiction but there are all the classics too. Perhaps it’s time for a bit more Jane Austen?

If you could only take one book with you on a desert island, which would it be? I love ‘The Magus’ by John Fowles. Naturally it’s set in my beloved Greece
and captures the magic of the country beautifully. It’s also about human nature and manipulation and each time I read it I find something new so I would never get bored.

What are you currently reading? I have just finished Victoria Hislop’s ‘Cartes Postales from Greece’. I was fortunate enough to get this in hardback as the book is so tactile and visually stunning. As anyone who knows me will vouch, I have a passion for all things Greek and once again Victoria Hislop transports us to another place. With short stories connected to postcards, this book is the embodiment of what Greece is about and is my favourite book of the year.

Where are you happiest? I was the kind of child who enjoyed her own company and to be honest, although I can be quite sociable when I want, I actually like being alone sometimes. I’m happiest when I have a good book to read, good coffee to drink and chocolate of course. If I can combine all those things by the sea, preferably on a quiet beach in Greece then that’s pretty much my idea of heaven.
Family is also important to me so spending time with them also makes me happy but it’s the simple things in life for me, sun, sea, flowers, good food.

Describe your best ever holiday. I must have watched the film Shirley Valentine about five times when it first came out. Inspired by the film and the fact that I’d lived in Athens for a year, I took a month off work and went island-hopping round Greece. Apart from the return flight, there were no deadlines, no hotel bookings to meet, just a backpack and a month to do whatever took my fancy. Being May it was early in the season and I knew accommodation wouldn’t be a problem; you simply took a boat to whatever island you fancied and there would be someone there holding up a photo of their accommodation. Life was simple back then and very cheap. There was a wonderful sense of adventure every morning in not knowing where you would be that evening and I absolutely loved the sense of freedom.

What’s your signature dish? I think the first dish I ever cooked for someone else was lasagne. It was a good few years ago and I felt quite proud at the time. Today it’s still a family favourite and I add a dash of Worcester sauce and a splash of red wine to spice it up. Served with garlic bread it’s pretty yummy.

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook, why? I use both and they are quite different. Twitter is useful for reaching out to all kinds of people but I rarely interact much on there. Facebook on the other hand has become like an extended family as there’s much more room to have meaningful conversations. In fact meeting up with people initially met on Facebook and who go on to become friends outside through various book groups is one of the best things about social media.

Thank you, Julie. Your ‘Shirley Valentine’ island-hopping holiday sounds amazing. What I wouldn’t give for a holiday like that right now?



Find out more about Julie at her website.

Take a look at Julie’s beautiful Christmas novel, Callie’s Christmas Countdown.

More guests tomorrow. I can’t wait!

Check out my full guest list here.

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