Julie trained as a journalist but writing romance has always been a dream of hers. When she hasn’t got her head in a book or drafting one, she writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie says writing at home seems to be incredibly difficult for her — she usually requires coffee, music and noise!
Rock My World is her first contemporary romance novel. Julie has just finished writing her second novel (a rom-com) and is polishing that at the moment whilst beginning to do some research for her third. These are also contemporary romances with a good dose of humour (hopefully!). Julie is married, has two sons and lives in Scotland.
Time to chat with Julie!
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
All the time! They seem to take on a life of their own and lead me with the story, which I think can only be a good thing.
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
I love just the whole concept of writing, especially trying to create atmosphere and describing my characters and settings – basically using my imagination.
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I try to do a bit of editing as I go, but usually I concentrate on getting the first draft down and then the polishing and tweaking stakes place after that.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Don’t give up! I know it’s a cliché but it really is so true. Read as many books as you can and take note of what you think works and doesn’t. I think you can’t be a good writer if you’re not an avid reader. Just try to find your own voice and keep writing. You’ll get there.
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
Like many writers, I received a lot of rejections before I was offered a publishing contract. I got lots of positive feedback but no offers. It was disheartening at times but I just kept going until I struck lucky with Not So Noble Books. Years ago, I had two childrens’ picture books published but it was always romance that I wanted to write. I think being a writer, means you have to expect to receive rejections. Just don’t let them get you down. Read lots, write lots and persevere!
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
I love engaging with readers, other authors and bloggers, especially on Twitter – in fact, I think I’ve become a bit addicted to it! There are so many supportive people in the writing community and it’s an honour to be part of such a special group of people. The downside is it can distract you from your writing sometimes if you let it, so I try to be as focused as I can.
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
I just love the rom-com/chick-lit genre. There are so many talented writers out there and the plots and characters are so sharp, varied and imaginative. What I like least is the criticism that’s sometimes aimed at the genre. I think it is unjustified. I want to laugh, cry and escape when I read a book and this genre does all that, in my opinion.
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
For Rock My World I researched 80s rock music (which I love) and did a bit of note-taking about the politics and social aspects of the era, just to get a feel for it. It brought back a lot of memories!
Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?
I don’t tend to, no! I run ideas past my Husband, two sons and a couple of close friends but I don’t tend to let them read what I’ve written until it’s finished. I think sometimes that can kill the excitement of my work and I like to try and surprise people.
Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?
The feedback about Rock My World has been unbelievable! It is such a special feeling to know that readers love your writing. I’ve had comments from people saying they couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. Other ladies said they had developed a huge crush on Matt (my hero) and another said she got so involved in the story, she had to make herself put her Kindle away at work as she found herself taking sneaky reads!
Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?
I write verses and captions for greetings card companies. I’ve been doing that for a few years now and really enjoy it. The card designs are gorgeous and when I see cards in shops that have my verses in, it really gives me a buzz!
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I’ve always wanted to be an author. Right from an early age, I loved creative writing and have always had an obsession with books. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, nor would I want to!
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
I seem to be more of an early bird, not only with my writing! I think I have more enthusiasm and energy in the early part of the day.
I make sure I get out for a brisk walk every day, even if it is just for half an hour and have to have music playing whilst I’m writing. I also enjoy a nice coffee whilst writing – I love a good Latte!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love listening to music; reading and watching movies, especially rom-coms. I also love getting out and about for lovely walks in the fresh air and spending time with my Husband and two sons. Family time with them is very precious.
Thank you for this fab interview Lisette! X
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