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Monday, March 31, 2014

Author Interview with Julia London



I'm excited to welcome bestselling author Julia London to our website today. Her latest book, The Trouble With Honor, was just published on February 25, 2014. GIVEAWAY ALERT: Julia is kindly giving away a copy of her new book to one lucky visitor, so please leave your email address when you comment in case you are the winner!

 

Q:        Please share your journey to publication and the story of when you got “The Call’.
A:        I’m afraid I was a bit naïve (which turned out to be a good thing in hindsight) when I set out to write and publish a novel. I was a public administrator, which was not very stimulating. I did a lot of reading in my spare time, and I fell in love with a book by Iris Johansen. I didn’t know it was a romance novel.  I had no clue there were such things as genres in the book world - I just thought a good book was a good book. And that book was a great book. So, after immersing myself in romance novels, I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to write one of these myself? I didn’t know if I could, but I was determined to try. My first was a medieval romance, and I recognized immediately it was far too rambling. But it taught me what not to do. So I started on the first book I would submit for publication, DEVIL’S LOVE. Once I finished, I picked up some books on how to get an agent, and how the publishing industry works. I followed the instructions, sent out four query letters to agents who represented the sort of book I had written, had a positive response within a week and a two book contract by the end of the month. It happened so fast that when I got The Call, I didn’t believe the person on the other end of the line. I realize now how insanely lucky I was and feel beyond truly blessed to be able to do what I love for a living these days.

Q:        Do you plot your novels in detail or are you a pantser?
A:        I’m a little of both I suppose, although each book really is different. But I always start with general story outline. It’s no more than the story arc, and nothing is set in stone.  As I’m writing that first draft the characters become more defined to me, and sometimes, as I flesh them out, I have to go back and adjust the story to fit the personality that is beginning to appear on the page. I guess that’s a bit pantser-y. But for the most part I have a pretty good idea of where I am going when I start the book.

Q:   Do you draw on real life experiences for your plots and characters?
A:        Most definitely! I think everything which ends up in books have been sparked by something which occurred to a writer at some point in their life. For instance my last novella, THE BRIDESMAID, came about after I was stranded at Chicago O’Hare Airport for over eight hours. I even wrote about it in the foreword and as a bit of ‘author revenge’ gave a shout out to a particularly rude fellow traveler whom I encountered.

Also, the backdrop I used for my historical series, The Secrets of Hadley Green, are all actual locations I visited on my trip to the U.K. a couple years back. I even posted the photos on my website so readers could envision the homes and estates each story was set around. 

My characters are composites of people I dream up, and people I know. I can’t say that any one character is based on any one person in my life, but all of them have bits and pieces of real vs. fantasy. 

Q:        Is there a genre you’d like to write in that you haven’t yet?
A:        Straight historical fiction, along the lines of Phillipa Gregory. I think that is a very unique talent, however, bringing history to life. The novels I write are historically accurate, but the romance is the story. In historical fiction, the history would be the story. I love reading it, but I am not sure I would be the best to write it. But never say never!

Q:        Have you made any career decisions you regret?
A:        The only one I can think of is that I might not have gone with a particular publisher at one point if I could do it all over. But I am not sure it would have made any difference.  I have been very fortunate in my career and don’t regret any decisions. 

Q:        What advice have you got for aspiring authors?
A:        Write something every day. It’s like a muscle—you have to use it to improve it.  And don’t get discouraged. This business is equal parts luck and timing as it is talent and perseverance. Keep writing, practice your skill, and be aware that not everyone is meant to be widely read. You have to know what you’re writing for, I think. If you do it to satisfy yourself, than keep at it, keep improving, keep reading.

Q:        Which form of social media do you prefer for book promotion? What is your most effective form of promotion?
A:        Social media has completely changed the way authors promote their books so it’s impossible to name just one effective form. It used to be publishers did all of our promotions and writers never really had to do anything other than show up where we were scheduled and sign books. Now, with less book stores and more people buying books in e-format I rarely do more than a couple signings a year. I cross promote through all social media platforms. Statistics show older generations mostly use email and visit websites for online information and social interaction, so I send out newsletters and update my website to reach that audience. People in their 30’s and 40’s tend to use Facebook for their social interaction and I’m there every day (WHAT? It’s for work… honest!). So I keep in touch and inform people who use Facebook for their social media interactions of upcoming books and current projects I’m working on. I do shout outs on Twitter and check in several times a day to see what the younger set are all in a twitter about. So, all in all, I think they’re equally valuable in reaching all walks of society and a broad range of age groups.

Q:        How do you feel about Indie publishing and the e-book trend?
A:        I think it’s great! It really has broadened the horizons for many authors who wanted to write something completely different but were told it would never be published because it didn’t fit a certain mold, or isn’t what is “selling”. As a reader I couldn’t be happier. There are more books, more unique stories and different voices which may have never been heard if they waited to be published by one of the big houses.

Q:        What are your top 3 guilty pleasures?
A:        That’s easy!  I guess I don’t feel guilty about anything I do other than some of the things I eat, because they are all food related: 
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
  • Red Wine

Q:        If you could travel anywhere, to a place you haven’t been before, where would it be? Where have you been that left a lasting positive impression?
A:        I would love to visit Australia and New Zealand. The only thing stopping me is the distance.  It’s such a long flight and my patience for being in flying cigar tubes is not very high these days. I would love to go for about a month.

The place that has left the lasting impression is the U.K. and Ireland. I end up there a lot. My sister and I enjoyed a weeklong bicycle trip across Ireland last summer that was the perfect vacation. Pubs open early, the scenery is incomparable, and the people were among the friendliest I’ve ever met. Just lovely. 

Q:       What 3 things are almost always in your refrigerator?
A:   Yogurt, chocolate milk (great recovery after a long run) and avocados.

Q:        What are you reading right now? 
A:        The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. An amazingly witty and a truly wonderful read. I can’t recommend it enough.

Q:        If you were stranded on a desert island and could choose one person and one thing to be stranded with, who and what would they be?
A:        Love this question! A Navy Seal and a fully loaded Kindle with a never-ending battery life. Not that I’ve thought about this much :-)

Q:        Favorite actor, favorite actress, and why?
A:        I absolutely love Colin Firth, for obvious reasons – Hello Mr. Darcy. As for actresses, I like Jennifer Aniston. She just seems like a low maintenance, down to earth woman and I’ve probably seen more of her movies in the past few years than any other actress I can recall. I like Jennifer Lawrence, too, because she is funny.

Q:        Do you prefer Oceans, Deserts, or Mountains?
A:        Mountains. My family has a place in the mountains of New Mexico. I head there at least once a year with my dog, Moose. It’s so peaceful. It’s a great place to recharge. I really feel like it’s a place to exercise my mind, body and soul. 

  
Q:        Tell us about your new book.
A:        In THE TROUBLE WITH HONOR, four sisters are the stepdaughters of an ailing earl. The oldest, Honor, is determined to remove her stepbrother’s fiancé, Miss Monica Hargrove, from his life. She and Monica have been the bane of each other’s social life for years, and Monica has privately made it clear to Honor what she would like to do when she becomes the countess—move Honor and her sisters as far from her and the family fortune as possible.
Honor knows just the person to help her in her plan—the dissolute George Easton, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Gloucester. Honor convinces him to attract Monica away from her stepbrother. But the devil needs coaching to lure Monica, and only Honor can provide it. As George steadily makes progress with his lessons and luring Monica into the snare, Honor finds herself envious. The dashing and scandalous man soon holds everything within his hands: the fate of Honor’s family, Honor’s future, and more importantly, her heart.

Q:        What’s on your agenda in 2014?
A:        Thanks for asking! After the TROUBLE WITH HONOR is released in March, the second book in my contemporary Pine River trilogy, RETURN TO HOMECOMING RANCH, will be published in July. Also, I’ve got another contemporary novella called ONE MAD NIGHT releasing in October. The same super storm that stranded Kate and Joe in THE BRIDESMAID will strand a pair of ad execs vying for the agency’s biggest account the next morning. In the meantime, I will be writing two more full length novels in The Cabot Sister series, and the last installment of the Pine River series. And now, after reading everything I’m committed to next year, I should really go and get to work. I think I’m in need of one of my guilty pleasures. Which will it be, chocolate, wine, or cheeseburger?  Decisions, decisions.

Thank you very much for inviting me here today! I hope you enjoy The Trouble With Honor!

JULIA LONDON is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.  She is the author of more than two dozen novels, including romantic fiction, historical romance and womens’ fiction novels. She lives in Austin, Texas.
Trouble with Honor Links:
Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/1eUUBQV

Julia London Social Media Links
Julia’s Website:  www.julialondon.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/juliaflondon/

For more information about Julia, visit her author page at http://www.romancebooks4us.com.

Julia, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us here at Romance Books '4' Us today. We wish you success with your new book!

22 comments:

Mary Preston said...

Hi,

I hope you do step into Historical Fiction sometime in the future. Another great love of mine to read.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Karen H in NC said...

Hi Julia,

I'm a fan of your historical romances and it's been a while since your last HR release. It's nice to see a new one hitting the bookstores.

Which of the various genres you write is your favorite?

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Debby said...

I love reading your stories and can't wait to read this one.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Sandy said...

Loved the interview. Thanks for sharing.

Rose Anderson said...

I enjoyed your interview, Julia. Thanks for joining us today. Love the advice about promoting. :) Best luck!

Carly Carson said...

This interview is the best evaluation of social media that I've seen. Even though it says, do everything! lol

chey said...

I always enjoy your books!
chey127 at hotmail dot com

Suzanne Rock said...

Thanks so much for doing the interview. It was amazing! I'm a huge fan and think your books are fantasic. :)

Rose Gorham said...

Love your books, Julia. I enjoyed reading your post.

Paris said...

Hi Julia,

Welcome to RB4U! We share a fondness for Iris's books and a dread of flying cigar tubes:) The Trouble With Honor sounds like a great story and is going onto my TBR list.

Cynthia Arsuaga said...

Ditto what Paris said! Love the cover too. Great interview! Love to learn about new authors to me and their journey in writing.

Julia London said...

Thank you so much for having me here today!

Julia London said...

Mary I would love to do that some day. Time is an issue for me at present :-).

Karen H, I don't really have a favorite -- I am so glad that I can do both. It's a great break to go from one to the other.

Thank you Debby!

Sandy, you are so welcome :-). It's a great way to reach readers.

Thank you Rose!

Carly, that's the first time anyone has said I had good advice about social media, LOL!

Thank you Chey!

Wow, thank you Suzanne. :-)

julia london said...

Sorry for the mass comment, but I don't know how to reply to individual comments.

Rose, thank you!

Thank you, Paris :-)

Cynthia, I love the cover too. I am very lucky :-)

jean hart stewart said...

Trouble with honor sounds fantastic! AND I couldn't agree more about Colin Firth....Love, love him in any movie he's in.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Hi Julia, Honor sounds wonderful. I write mostly contemporaries but read Regencies for relaxation. And even Frankie Heck on "The Middle" loves Colin Firth. She gave the dog she found that name. ;-)

jelquinn@att.net

joye said...

Enjoyed the comments. I have been a fan of Julia's for a long time. This book sounds as good as the ones I have read.
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

Gemma Juliana said...

The cover of Julia's new book has got to be one of the most stunning covers I've ever seen. Wishing lots of success with this new novel!

Melissa Keir said...

It's wonderful to hear from an author of your talent. I think I always learn more about myself and writing.

Congrats on your many successes. It's fun to learn about your writing process and how your stories come about. It makes me feel good about what I do and hopeful that someday I'll get there! :)

Do you get much say in your covers or do you feel like they understand your style more now?

daringzoey at yahoo.com

Marianne Stephens said...

Thanks for being on RB4U today, Julie! What a wonderful career you have, and we'll be looking for more books from you.

Sandy said...

Sorry to be so late. What a great interview, and Julia, you have genuine humor. Smile!

I have several of Iris's hard back books on my shelves, so I'm definitely a fan of hers.

If you go to Australia, you really need more than a month and another month for New Zealand. I haven't been to New Zealand, but I have been to Australia.

I haven't read any of your books yet, Julia, but I'm looking forward to it.

Also, I worked for an airline, so I didn't mind flying the cigar tube. lol I love the image.

skmarshall@kc.rr.com

Sunny Cole said...

Great interview! And if you see Australia, it's awesome!

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