July 2013


Julia Williams worked in publishing before becoming an author. Her books include Strictly Love, The Bridesmaid Pact and her latest release, Midsummer Magic. She lives in Surrey, England. (Interview by Jade Craddock)

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  1. 1. Tell us about your latest novel Midsummer Magic?

    It’s a bit of a departure for me being more of a light-hearted rom-com then my previous books. It follows the fortunes of Harry and Josie who are spending the weekend in Cornwall organising their wedding. They’ve invited along Harry’s best mate, Ant, and Josie’s best mate, Diana, who are the best man and bridesmaid. Little do they know that Ant and Di have history, so the sparks are about to fly! If that’s not enough Ant meets TV hypnotist Freddie Puck and persuades them all to take part in a hypnotic experiment which turns everything upside down for each of them. Cue some midnight mayhem, involving misunderstandings, fallings out and cupid’s arrow, all set on a cliff top, which features Standing Stones and an open-air theatre…

  2. 2. You use Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a frame for the novel, what challenges did this bring?

    More then I thought it would at the beginning! In the play Titania and Oberon fall out over a little boy, whom Titania has stolen from Oberon, which doesn’t quite translate into a modern day novel! So I made my Titania an aging soap star called Tatiana, and Oberon, an actor called Auberon, who were in love a long time ago, and who meet up for the first time in years. Needless to say, Freddie Puck has one or two tricks to play on them… I also decided giving the characters love juice made Freddie seem a bit manipulative, so I made him a TV hypnotist instead.

  3. 3. When did you decide on using the play as a basis for the book?

    It didn’t come to me straight away. I had the idea of a couple preparing for their wedding initially, but then when I came up with the title Midsummer Magic, I thought it needed a more enchanted feel, and one thing led to another!

  4. 4. Would you consider using another Shakespeare play for a future novel? If so, which one?

    I’d certainly consider doing it again. I love Shakespeare, and I like the idea of having his stories feature in commercial fiction. Probably if I did it again, it would have to be something like Much Ado, because it’s so witty. Although, the bed trick would be VERY problematic for modern audiences…

  5. 5. Does Shakespeare easily lend himself to chick lit?

    Yes, I think so. Certainly the comedies do, because he’s the original romantic writer (well not quite the original, he pinched a fair of his stories too!), and he does star-crossed love so well. He’s definitely a good role for romantic writers!

  6. 6. Have you ever been hypnotised? Would you let Freddie Puck hypnotise you?

    No, though I did listen to some hypnotism tapes for research, and they didn’t work! I'm very cynical, so I think I’d be quite hard to hypnotise. If I got Freddie to hypnotise me, I’d like him to cure my fear of dogs and flying, please. But frankly, I don’t think it can be done.

  7. 7. There’s a lot of fun and mayhem in the novel, what was your favourite part to write?

    All of it! I really enjoyed writing this book. It was a total romp from start to finish.

  8. 8. Which character did you relate to the most?

    Diana. I like her spikiness, and the way she covers up her heartache with a shield of pretend hardness, which is what I used to do before I had children.

  9. 9. Do you think chick lit gets the coverage it deserves?

    Yes and no. I think blogs like yours do a fantastic job of promoting chick lit, but in a sense they’re preaching to the converted who already know how brilliant it is. I’d love to see the day when a chick lit author gets a David Nicholls style cover and vice versa.

  10. 10. What is the biggest myth about being an author?

    That it’s easy and we get paid lots of money! Most people don’t earn a lot from writing, and it is much harder then it looks.

  11. 11. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

    How important it is to take the time and effort to learn your craft. I came from a background of being an editor, and thought it was going to be much easier then it was.

  12. 12. What does it take to succeed as an author?

    Talent, hard work, the ability to accept constructive criticism, a thick skin and a big dollop of luck.

  13. 13. What do you look for in a book as a reader?

    A good story, and interesting characters, who I really care about.

  14. 14. What book do you see yourself escaping in over the summer?

    I’ve got two that I'm looking forward to: The Drowing of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes, who’s both a friend and a brilliant writer, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, which I know I am going to love.

  15. 15. What’s up next for you?

    I'm returning to the village of Hope Christmas for a final and third time, and finding out what my characters have been up to since the end of A Merry Little Christmas.

  16. 16. If you could hypnotise one person who would it be and what would you make them do?

    That’s an interesting question. I’d have to cheat and hypnotise all my children to tidy up after themselves.

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