Julie Ann Walker – Joy, The Essence of Romance

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Visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about The Joy of Romance. Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

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Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with a Feel Good Book

Joy.  It’s such a simple word.  Just three little letters.  AnHell Or High Water Cover Finald yet it describes a mammoth emotion.  One that transcends mere “happiness” or “cheer.”  Joy is bone-deep and at the same time ephemeral.  It’s a pervasive, spiritual feeling that reaches all those delicious nooks and crannies of the human experience, filling you to the brim with a euphoric sense that for now, for this moment in time, all is right.  All is good.  There is hope. 

When I sat down to write this piece for Read-A-Romance Month, I kept coming back to that word: joy.  And I began to think perhaps I’ve been wrong about why so many people read romance.  You see, I always assumed romance was a publishing juggernaut because people love the idea of love.  And they relish following along on the characters’ journey to finding love because that journey is both an epic adventure and a story as old as time.  It’s scintillating, exciting, and yet familiar.  It’s something wonderful that we can all imagine or remember or relive.  Who wouldn’t want to do that over and over again?  But then I thought, “Wait a minute.  The journey to finding love isn’t what makes a romance a romance.”  Take Nicholas Sparks for example.  His books are all about the journey to finding (or reclaiming) love.  Yet they are not romances.  Why?  Because they don’t have happy endings — or, at least, not all of them do. TOO HARD TO HANDLE - FINAL COVER

That’s when I had the “aha!” moment.  It’s when I realized people read romance not only because they are in love with love, and they enjoy following along on the characters’ journey to finding love, but also because they know when they reach the end of the book, there will be a happily-ever-after.  There will be a sense that, for those characters, all is right.  All is good.  There is hope.  There is… joy. 

Romance, at it’s very essence, is all about experiencing that heady, potent sense of joy.  Romance novels make us feel good.  And I’m here to tell you, “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!”

Julie recommends:
The authors who write books that make me feel good are…

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

My husband and I were hiking along a deserted sCIMG3694ection of the Great Wall of China.  We were utterly alone in a way I don’t think we’ve ever been alone before or after.  The only sounds were the bugs buzzing in the trees and the occasional call of a mournful bird.  The only sensations were the hot sun beating down on our heads and the dry breeze slipping between the surrounding mountaintops.  It was profound… that sense of aloneness.  And then something amazing happened.  Drifting up from the valley below came the sweet notes of a pipa – a traditional four-stringed Chinese instrument.  And for some reason, hearing that melody in a place were no melody should be, I suddenly felt this overwhelming sense of being part of something greater than myself.  Of being part of humanity.  Of being part of the world… the universe.  I was tiny and insignificant and, at the same time, huge and overwhelming.  I was alive.  I was living.  I was a sentence in the story of the Earth.  And it was a joyous sensation. 

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

There’s an abandoned train bridge at the end of a long walking trail near my hometown.  As a teenager, I used to gingerly hop from railroad tie to railroad tie until I’d reached the center of the bridge.  Then I’d sit and let my feet dangle above the slow-moving water, pondering all things large and small.  I’d dream big dreams and worry about little worries.  But no matter what, I always felt refreshed, renewed, and reinvigorated on the walk back.  That place was/is a place of contemplation, of simplicity, of joy.   

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

The sound of my husband playing guitar.  I fell in love with him one lazy summer afternoon while sitting and listening to him strum a six-string Martin.  And nineteen years later, it still brings me joy to hear him play.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

Slow Heat in Heaven by Sandra Brown.  It’s the first full-length romance I ever read and the one that got me hooked on the genre.  I’ve read many wonderful romances since, but I will always remember my first time.  *wink*

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Chris Pratt!  I love a funny man!

Julie is generously giving away a signed copy of THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR anthology and my newest release, HELL OR HIGH WATER.

Julie Ann Walker Author PhotoJulie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find Julie on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. 

Buy Julie’s books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo


(Please note that the Amazon button and most cover images link to an affiliate page that supports Read-A-Romance Month. Thanks so much for your help!)

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  • Marissa Yip-Young

    Nice interview

  • Carol Luciano

    Love, love your Black Knghts. Looking forward to reading Hell, Or High Water. Thanks for shariny & the opportunity.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Susan Craig

    Thanks for the story about the Great Wall of China – it was beautiful.

  • Sandra Brown does have a way of drawing you in!

  • Jennifer C

    I would love to visit the Great Wall of China! Great interview. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Karen Mikusak

    Loved Hell on Wheels! Thanks for the giveaway.

  • LisaVH

    Thank you for sharing. I am in love with BKI and am currently enjoying Deep Six. 🙂

  • I love Julie’s writing and all her books are amazing. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

  • Joan Varner

    Thank you for sharing your “joy moment” in China. That must have been so deeply profound and moving.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    So you are a new to me author but after reading your post and seeing that you enjoy many of the same authors I enjoy, I’m adding your books to my TBR list immediately 🙂 I love a happy ending and I don’t often choose to read something that isn’t going to bring me joy!

  • Kareni

    What a wonderful photo of you and your husband at the Great Wall; it sounds like you had a terrific experience there. Wishing you much reading and writing joy!

  • mariannewestrich

    Love, love, love the Black Knights! Just downloaded the new series and look forward to reading more of your work!

  • Kelli Jo Calvert

    Great interview!!

  • Carol Opalinski

    Wonderful post!! I love your Black Knights and I bought the first book in the new series and can’t wait for a quiet moment to read it. I love reading books that I know will end happily. Still traumatized by the ending of Gone With The Wind. LOL!!

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    outside of the great wall whats the most exciting place to visit?

  • Texas Book Lover

    I definitely read romances for the joy or happy feeling they give me.

  • Brenda Schiefer Crider

    LOVE romances…especially romantic suspense and the BKI series!!!!! GREAT interview!!!!

  • Kathryn Trask

    I have long heard of your books and want to read at some time. I love Suzanne Brockmann books so no doubt yours would be a good fit.

  • May

    Love your books! 🙂

  • Debbie Fuller

    Your a new author to me and I have already downloaded one of your books. Looking forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing and posting.

  • cheryl c.

    I enjoyed reading about your moment of joy. What a wonderful experience!

  • Erin F

    You hit the nail on the head 😉 it is the moment of joy and the HEA. Thanks for sharing!


    Great giveaway! Julie Rocks!

  • Pamby50

    New author. Love Chi-town. No better way to spend the day than at the lake. Just finished reading a book so I just on-clicked Hell On Wheels. Looking forward to reading it.

  • Rhi

    Nice essay. Never thought to look at reading romances from the perspective of joy. thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  • Marcy Shuler

    I really liked your post on joy, and I loved the pic and story on the Great Wall of China.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Thank you for sharing your idea of joy!! I think you hit it on the head. It’s the journey toward an HEA. I loved your story about being on the great wall of China. You are a new to me author and I will be checking out your books.

  • jackie woodland

    You where a new author until I read the first Black Knights Inc, book fell in love with the series

  • Betül

    Would love to visit the Great Wall of China one day!

  • Lisa Hutson

    What a peaceful sweet memory on the Great Wall!

  • Kelly

    So true about the HEA!! Real life doesn’t guarantee anything of the sort – not even close for many of us – but there is joy in reading about others having that.

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    Your Great-Wall story was truly a joyful one. I had a similar feeling the first time I snorkeled in Hawaii. It wasn’t on my bucket list and I never thought of doing it until that day and it was a transforming experience.

  • Dawn Anderson

    I loved your Great Wall story. There are few people who experience that kind of joy.

  • Michele Hayes

    I love finding authors that are new to me. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Diane Blaser

    I would love to see the Great Wall someday…thanks for sharing your story about it!

  • marypreston

    Romance novels DO make us feel good. There is everything right about that.

  • Linda Henderson

    My love of reading started in first grade. I read to escape a lousy home life and stories about loving families would take me away to a better life. Then as I grew up and discovered the romance genre I fell into a different emotion. I come from a broken home and myself have two divorces so I tend to read romance to experience the love, happiness and joy of a happily ever after. One reason I don’t read Nicholas Sparks, although my daughter loves his books. As in a continuing series, such as J.D.Robb’s In Death series, I can enjoy a story that doesn’t have a conclusion to the romance at the end of the book, but continues on to the next one. This is one reason why I love series. I enjoy reading about the characters after the initial book is done. I like knowing what happens to the people I come to care about in the future books.

  • Martha B

    I really like romantic suspense! Thanks for writing such entertaining stories.

  • Kai W.

    I just love all of the book covers for your books.

  • rebecca moe

    So jealous you got to go to the Great Wall! What a fabulous story–thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Glenda

    What an amazing story about being on the Great Wall! Awesome!

  • Mary McCoy

    Thank you for the great romance event at the Schaumberg library!

  • kirsten west

    Cool picture at the Great Wall. Everyone loves a happy-ever-after!

  • flchen1

    What a lovely moment you enjoyed at the Great Wall! It’s been eons since my family and I went, and I’d love to take my children to see this!

  • Emily Baucom

    Wonderful post, I would love to visit the Great Wall of China one day!!