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Northern Ireland mum Julieanne Lynch hopeful novel approach to adult fiction will break her into big time

By Claire McNeilly

Move over EL James... a Northern Ireland author has entered the realms of raunchy fiction with a book she wrote in just 11 days.

Fans expect Julieanne Lynch's latest work - Unbreak Me - to propel her into the world of erotic writing currently dominated by the Fifty Shades author.

The story - about a young woman who gets unwittingly caught up in an enigmatic billionaire's paradise - certainly sounds familiar, but the 38-year-old mother-of-five told the Belfast Telegraph her novel is as far away from a Fifty Shades knock-off as you could get.

"It's not erotic in the same sense as EL James' world," insisted the former South West College pupil, who has read Fifty Shades Of Grey and thinks it's "OK".

"Mine is a very intense romance novel that deals with a lot of hardships and real issues such as addiction, abuse and depression.

"And, yes, they do have erotic moments together, but not in a submissive way. It's aimed at over 18s and it's definitely not for the faint of heart."

Julieanne said that there were too many authors producing carbon copies of popular works.

"They all want to be the next Fifty Shades or the next Twilight, whereas I want my book to be original and stand on its own two feet," she said.

Unbreak Me - which is actually the prolific Lisnaskea author's 16th book - was penned 18 months ago during National Novel Writing month, an international phenomenon in November each year when people from all over the world enrol to write a 50,000-word novel.

"I thought I'd give it a shot just to see how I'd get on, and from beginning to end I had this book finished in exactly 11 days," she said.

"I'd start when I got home from the school run and write until I had to pick up the children again. I'd break in the evening - for homework, for tea, for bath and bed - and then I'd write until 1am or 2am. It was 12 hours writing each day."

This is the first romantic - and the first adult - novel from a family woman who, despite having 15 other works published, admits it has been "slow progress" trying to become a household name.

"My Shadow World series is geared for 16-year-olds and upwards but I'm not a generic writer," she said.

"I write the books that I want to write, and that I like to read. I won't stick to what's trending at the moment."

She added: "I've never written like this before. It's a beautiful story but a hard read. You will cry, you'll laugh and you'll be angry."

Julieanne admits it has been difficult to pursue her writing career financially, and she often struggles to juggle the bills at home.

But she hopes that, with Unbreak Me and other projects, things are about to turn around.

Husband Sean (42), an electrical engineer, and their five children - Kristopher (19), Kelly (15), Matthew (10), Rory (seven) and Poppy (four) - are totally supportive of her work.

"It hasn't been announced yet, but last year I signed a three-book deal with Vesuvian Media, which is a massive franchise, and a traditional house like Totally Bound, which is publishing Unbreak Me," she said.

"Two of the books are set in Northern Ireland.

"I can't name the third yet, but the first two are called Stone Cold and Beneath The Lighthouse and they're due in shops in 2017 and 2018."

Although she's not sure how much that deal is worth, she said she expects it to be "big money" because "they will be pitching it for film as well".

"Everything takes so long because my debut novel back in 2009 - Within The Shadow - was actually optioned for film in 2014 and has been in pre-production for about two years," she revealed. "They're anticipating it going before the cameras next year, so I could be in the running for a small fortune."

Julieanne did an Open University course in English literature and creative writing over six years and then briefly considered training as a journalist before becoming a "serious" full-time writer after she turned 30.

Belfast Telegraph


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