August 11 – Julie Ann Walker

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate romantic fiction! Come back every day to read the fun author Q&As – calendar here –  and each weekday in August, we’ll also have an author guest hosting the Romance of Reading FB page. Today Julie Ann Walker is doing the Q&A.

This year is significantly smaller in scale. If you’re interested, you can read about some of the reasons why here. It’s been a crazy year, and a complicated few months.

Happy August. Isn’t life better with #ATouchofRomance?! xo

2018 RARM Questions:


Why do you write books? 

To appease the voices in my head? No, seriously though, I write books because I love the storytelling process. Through narrative and prose, I get to dream and travel and explore and live lives other than my own, have experiences other than my own, and fall in love a hundred times over again. My question is, why doesn’t everyone write books? Ha!

 

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I’m doing it right now. I’m writing a trilogy that is way outside my comfort zone and brand. I think it’s evocative and emotional and soooo not romantic suspense. (It is a love story, ’cause I’m a sucker for a good one of those.) And I have no idea if anyone will read it or like it, or if my fans will boo and hiss and tar and feather me in the virtual world/social media space. I might have wasted a year of my life, and the thought of not getting a paycheck for all this work keeps me awake at night. But I had to write it. The characters and their story wouldn’t leave me alone. So I took a chance and jumped in with both feet.

 

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

There are two reasons why I write romance. One, I love falling in love. With each book I write, I get to know the hero: his back story, his motivations, his personality, and his quirks. And I get to fall in love with him through the process of writing him. Two, I love that romance has a guaranteed happy ending. I love knowing that no matter how much pain, anguish, and suffering the characters go through, in the end, they’re going to be all right. There’s welcome security in that.

 

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.

Picture this: Rolling mountains without a phone line or electrical line in sight. A bright bluebird sky. Insects buzzing around flowering bushes, their drone a pulsing thrum that sounds like the heartbeat of Earth itself. And miles upon miles of rock wall and massive guard towers. I’m talking about a hike I took along a section of the Great Wall of China where few tourists ever dare to tread. I was moved to tears by the expanse of the it all, the remoteness of it all, the verve and the vigor and the sacrifice of all those who’d built this mighty structure. I communed with nature that day, and with the monumental history of man. It was there that I understood the smallness and vastness of my own existence. Even now, the memory gives me chills.

 

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

Stand up for yourself. That old adage “what you put up with, you end up with” is true. It took me a long time to realize there’s a difference between being kind and obliging and being taken advantage of.

 

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

The trilogy I’m working on now is set in New Orleans and I’ve loved learning about the history and culture of that city. One of my favorite things is the custom of the King Cake. It’s a cinnamon-style cake with green, gold, and purple icing. Inside is baked a little plastic baby. The cake is brought to gatherings and parties in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras, and whoever gets the slice with the baby inside is responsible for bringing the King Cake to the party the next year. It’s just to hopeful. As if everyone just naturally assumes there will be another year, another party, another Mardi Gras.

 

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? (Thanks Eileen!)  

I wish I could say I go with who is screaming the loudest. But there have been times when contractual obligations have forced me to tune out (or at least turn down the volume on) one voice in order to listen to another. Those are the times the writing has been the most difficult.

 

If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

I would choose the west coast of Ireland. All that wildness. All those wonderful green vistas and grey/blue seascapes. Sheep and pubs and cottages with thatched roofs. Traditional folk music sung in that rolling Irish brogue. It’s the perfect place to walk and talk and dance and dream. A place to set my imagination on fire.

 

What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?

I’m over the moon anytime I get fan mail that says something along the lines of, “I was going through (fill in the blank) and your books provided me with a welcome escape.” I think the purpose of fiction, and romance specifically, is to allow readers to disappear from their own lives into a story they know is going to be inspiring and hopeful and, ultimately, happy.

 

Julie Ann recommends:

First up, I love Suzanne Brockmann. She’s the reigning queen of romantic suspense, the lady who started it all. I adore the humor and heart and the diversity of her characters and stories.

Suzanne Brockmann   –    www.suzannebrockmann.com   –   @Amazon

 

Secondly, I’m a sucker for Kate Meader’s wit and whimsy and unbeatable dialogue. She has a new rom-com coming out soon called Down With Love. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy and… wow! You want this book.

Kate Meader    –    www.katemeader.com   –   @Amazon

 

And last but certainly not least, I. Love. Kristan. Higgins. Her women’s fiction is so sweet and honest and alternately heartbreaking and funny. I devour every word of each new book she writes.

Kristan Higgins    –   www.kristanhiggins.com   –   @Amazon

 

Bobbi here – three authors I love wholeheartedly, too! And you?


Julie Ann Walker has saved the world. Or… at least the characters in her books have. In real life Julie prefers vino over villains, baked goods over bullets, and massages over missions, so she gets her international intrigue fix by writing romantic suspense novels that have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.”

A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Julie enjoys daily walks through Chicago’s beautiful Lincoln Park, fishing with her father, reading, writing, and watching the Chicago Cubs round the bases. 

 

Buy Julie Ann’s books:

 

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

 

Authors on The Romance of Reading page:

1   –   Jeannie Moon           💜         2   –   Lenora Bell

3  –    Nancy Herkness       💜         6   –   Kimberli A. Bindschatel

7   –  Cathy Maxwell            💜         8   –   Amelia Grey

9  –  Liz Talley                     💜         10  –  Dylann Crush

13  –  Marilyn Brant             💜         14  –  Sharla Lovelace

15  –  Sally MacKenzie        💜         16  –  Regina Kyle

17  –  Mimi Milan                 💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

(more to come…)