August 5 – Julia London

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 Julia London is doing the Q&A and since it’s the weekend, there’s no guest author on the page. (You can find a list of most participating authors at the bottom of this post.)

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?

I don’t know why, really.  I only know that I have always been a writer.  Even as a little girl, I was writing “books.” I have always maintained that writing is like any natural talent, like singing, or dancing—I am compelled to do it, and that compulsion never goes away.

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

Do you mean courageous as in rushing into danger, or courageous as being thrust into a situation and having to roll with the punches? I don’t think I’ve ever been willingly courageous, but I’ve had to find my courage several times along the way.

The biggest leap of faith I ever took was quitting a very good job at a very good salary to write full time.  I thought I would never be able to devote the attention a writing career deserved if I kept the day job, so I told myself it would be okay, and I went for it.  Is that courage? Or dumb luck? I don’t know, but it worked out for me.

 

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

Well, I personally love to read happy stories with happy endings.  There is enough darkness in the world, and for my escape, I want sunshine and light and unicorns and glitter.  Plus, I love the push and pull between men and women.  It’s fascinating to me how we fall in love and how that love is sustained.  I really enjoy exploring the path to love with different characters who have different sorts of issues.

 

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

I grew up on a ranch. My grandparents lived on the land next to ours.  On summer evenings, they would come over and my parents and my grandparents danced around the dirt drive together.  So did the kids.  It always seemed so perfect to me, family and love and everyone happy.  It was a scene right out of a country western love song.

 

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

I would definitely tell me not to do what I thought was expected of me, but what I thought was best for me.  I can honestly say I don’t have many regrets, but as I’ve gotten older and wiser (the bar was not high, haha), I have reflected that some of the decisions I made when I was young I made because I thought I should. That it was what was expected. I finally got smart.

As a writer, I would tell my younger self to believe.  Anything is possible.

 

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

How many strong, intelligent women there were in the 18th and 19th centuries that pushed against boundaries and societal expectations.  If you haven’t read the account of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, you should.  She was a woman who was restricted by her status and her gender and still had a great impact on her world.  There were some rabble rousers, too, like Lady Caroline Lamb, who was Lord Byron’s lover, and when he was done with her, she stalked him.  She was very colorful.

 

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

I don’t really have that happen.  The story comes to me organically, and the characters evolve from that. It always is very obvious to me as the writer who should have the page.

 

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

Scotland.  I don’t know what it is about that country that fuels the imagination so, but I love it. I think about going there all the time, and fortunately, I’ve been several times.  But I have this fantasy where I live with my dog way up in the Highlands.  We take long walks, and then I have a cottage and I write.  I write without interruption and fully inspired.  Of course Scotland is a modern country and my fantasy isn’t so realistic.  But I like it all the same. :o)

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

I wrote a series of contemporary women’s fiction books that featured a character who had ALS.  Leo was not the star of the show, he was more like the Greek chorus. He addressed the reader directly, and he was funny, and he was erudite, and he was a young man who knew he was dying.  I can honestly say that Leo was the one character who pretty much wrote himself.  I loved him.  I miss him still.

I received a letter from a young woman, a nurse, who told me she had just been diagnosed with ALS, and she had been obviously devastated by it. But after reading those books, and how Leo accepted what was and what was coming with such a positive attitude, she wanted me to know that she felt more at peace.  That Leo had shown her the way to look at her own disease.  She thanked me for him.  That letter was so moving to me—of course I’ve heard from readers that they’ve enjoyed me work or it got them through a bad time.  But I never realized how powerful a voice I created could be.

I still hear from readers about Leo.  It has awed me.

(Bobbi here – This is the Pine River series and I loved Leo. Read more here:  julialondon.com/series/pine-river/  )


Julia
recommends:

I just read Abbi Waxman’s great women’s fiction book, Other People’s HousesI loved her voice and the story so much.

abbiwaxman.com  –  @Amazon

(Bobbi here – I loved this one too, and AW’s debut, The Garden of Small Beginnings, was a favorite book of 2017.)

 

I really enjoy Lenora Bell’s regency historicals.  They are so fresh and light. It’s all in the voice for me!

lenorabell.com  –  @Amazon

 

I listened to Sherry Thomas’s Scarlett Holmes novels (a feminine twist on Sherlock Holmes), and they are so good.  Her writing is superb, which can really annoy a writer like me who envies it, because she emigrated here from China at the age of thirteen and learned English then.  Don’t miss her books!

www.sherrythomas.com   –    @Amazon

 

(Bobbi here again – you all know I love Sherry Thomas, and her essay for RARM 2013 – the first-ever Read-A-Romance Month – remains one of my all-time favorites.  Julia London’s 2013 entry was pretty good too.) ;o)

 


Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author of more than forty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Highland Grooms historical series, including  Wild Wicked ScotSinful Scottish LairdHard-Hearted HighlanderDevil in Tartan & Seduced by the Scot.  She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including the Homecoming Ranch Series and the Lake Haven series, including Suddenly DatingSuddenly in Love, and Suddenly Engaged.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction.  She lives in Austin, Texas.

 

Buy Julia’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  –  TBA

17  –  TBA                             💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

(more to come…)