Today I’m introducing you to an author whose books always make the must have summer reading list for long days at the beach or lounging by the pool. I first discovered Julie when her book Truffles by the Sea came out. Check the archives for my review of Truffles. Now on to Julie and some interesting trivia.
1. Who do you want to meet and why?
You know, I could write something really high-brow here or deeply spiritual, but the truth is, at the moment, I’d like to meet Justin Bieber—and bring my 12 year old daughter with me. Two reasons, mainly: First, I didn’t give him much credit in the beginning—not until I saw him in concert and witnessed all that talent of his exploding on stage. Second, my daughter would be “over the moon” and that would make me one happy mama!
2. What’s your favorite comfort food?
See’s candy … that’s a food, right?
Anything with Chocolate is it’s own food group in my book.
3. What would be your dream vacation?
Summer’s coming, so I’d like to visit all the Hawaiian Islands. And my dream vacation would last at least a month.
4. Is there anyone who has influenced / encouraged you to write other than God who ultimately gives us any talents including creativity? Who and how / why?
My mom has been an incredible encourager. She’s shamefully biased, and she calls me all the time with encouragement about various things I’ve written. She’s amazing.
5. Can you give a brief synopsis of your journey to publication with your first book?
I started writing professionally when my oldest was a baby (he’s 19 now). For the next fourteen years or so, I wrote hundreds of articles for all kinds of magazines both in the Christian world and in the general market. When the Christian fiction market began to open up in the mid-90s, I tried, unsuccessfully, to sell a couple of novels. Finally I participated in a mentoring group at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers conference and the book I was working on ~ Chocolate Beach ~ sold to Bethany House a few months later. That was five years ago and I’ve published a book once a year since.
6. What else have you written / are you currently writing (including unpublished works)?
My subsequent books were Truffles by the Sea, Sweet Waters, A Shore Thing, and the recently released, Fade to Blue (the third of my stand-alone Otter Bay Novels). I’m currently writing another seaside novel set for release next year, and hope to announce details soon.
7. What first gave you the idea for this book?
Ever since the inception of the Otter Bay Novels with Sweet Waters, I’ve wanted to set a book with the famed Hearst Castle as its backdrop. So much intrigue and mystery about that real castle on the hill and its eccentric, yet astute owner. Of course, novels are more than their location. So after writing the 2nd of these stand-alone novels, A Shore Thing, even I longed to know what happened next for the big-hearted, single mom from that story. Fade to Blue satisfies that curiosity …
8. What else would you like to share with readers about yourself or this book?
I think Fade to Blue has something for many tastes. It’s a contemporary story, however, if you like historicals, you’ll appreciate getting to know more about the history of the real and famed Hearst Castle on the California coast. The story is also romantic and suspenseful, and I bit off a few nails writing it. I hope readers get lost in the story and the beautiful setting, and fall in the love with the concepts of forgiveness, sacrifice, and grace—as much as they do the breathtaking locale.
9. Share with us one of the craziest things you’ve done or that’s happened to you?
There’s a book in this, really, but in just a couple of months’ time, I went through a painful divorce and brain surgery—and also met the love of my life. Sad, crazy, beautiful time that I hope to write more about some day.
10. What five books would you take with you to a desert island?
Bible, The Mitford Bedside Companion, Gift of the Sea, Bird by Bird, My Life as a Doormat (in three acts).
11. What concept or scripture is God revealing more deeply to you in this season of your life? And how is that revelation influencing your life?
When my children were very young and I was very exhausted, the concept of the Proverbs 31 woman was overwhelming. I think I even resented her a little. Now I want to be more like her. Funny how a little growing up changes the perspective. There are a lot of activities the Proverbs 31 woman represents, but the underlying theme is in verse 30a: “…a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” I don’t want my kids to look at me as just a writer or their mother, but as a woman who fears/honors/trust the Lord.
12. Why did you start writing and when?
I wrote on scraps of paper during lulls in various jobs long before marriage and family. Once my first child was born, I quit my job at the YMCA to stay home with him—and went a bit loco from the change of pace. That’s when I wrote my first new-mommy, angst-filled story for a magazine called Expecting (an offshoot of Parenting Magazine). The title—and this is really going to date me—was “Baby, Cordless Phone, and Me.”
13. How do you choose names and get to know your characters?
I use a well-worn baby names book to help me brainstorm character names. A main character’s name has to sound right when said aloud and also must have a meaning that’s relevant. Writing my characters, even if I don’t know them all that well yet, is the absolute best way to get to know them. I’ve tried doing extensive interviews beforehand, but I get bored easily, so I might as well just start writing. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t already plotted out the book somewhat. I have. But I’ve found that their quirks just don’t show up until I’ve actually given them a voice.
14. What’s your favorite character / scene from this book/series (so far)?
The last scene of Fade to Blue is very romantic, so that’s definitely up there in my book! But … I don’t want to give anything away … 🙂
15. Do you have any teasers you can share for the sequel or your next book?
Hmm … details have not been released, but if you love sand and surf and the northern California coastline (or would like to visit vicariously through a novel), you won’t be disappointed.
16. Are there any closing remarks you’d like to share?
I hope people reading this are encouraged to follow their heart’s desires with the Good Shepherd as their guide. God took all the lows and highs in my life and created something new with them. Although I’d always wanted to write, I had no inkling that I’d be writing beach-themed novels one day. I just kept praying and writing and seeking until an idea popped into my head. I followed that idea, and now find myself talking about my fifth novel filled with “waves of grace.” Be encouraged!
Thank you for taking the time to share with my readers.
Click Julie’s photo above to drop by her website and blog. Click the bookcover above for more info or to purchase a copy of Fade to Blue. Check back later today for my review of Fade to Blue. Skip back to Friday and Saturday for reviews of Sweet Waters and A Shore Thing