I’m going to try very hard not to gush. Okay, forget it, I’m going to gush. No offense to any other writer out there, but Julie Garwood is hands down, my favorite author. I admit, partly because of sentimental reasons for Guardian Angel was the first romance I read. But mostly I admire Julie Garwood because she writes amazing books that keep me reading until the wee hours of the morning and heroes who are, in my opinion, perfect. She’s the reason I almost flunked out of my first semester in college, but then who wouldn’t rather read Julie Garwood than write a term paper? She’s also the reason I decided to write romance.
Join me in Welcoming Julie Garwood to the blog!
That’s the nicest thing any author could hear. If someone gets lost in my story, I feel I’ve done my job.
The first book you wrote was a Children’s book. How did you make the jump from Children’s to Romance?
I actually was working on the romance book at the time I wrote the one for young readers. They both sold to publishers, but it was the historical romance that caught on.
How long were you writing before you sold?
I was very, very lucky. My first books sold right away, and I believe it happened because I was in the right place at the right time. I was attending a gathering at a friend’s house after a local writers’ conference when I met an agent. We didn’t have much time to talk because the party was ending, but she asked me to send her what I was working on. I did, and shortly after that she informed me she had sold my first manuscript to Scholastic. She asked if I had any others, and I told her about the medieval story I was writing. I didn’t even know enough to call it a historical romance. She sold it to Pocket. I’ve been writing romance ever since.
Do you have a favorite book you’ve written, or a favorite hero/heroine?
My favorite is usually the one I’m writing about at the moment – probably because we’re spending so much time together.
What’s your writing schedule like? Are you a morning, afternoon or night person?
I’m definitely a morning person. I like to get to work early. It’s a habit that developed when my children were young. The only quiet time I had was early morning before they woke up.
Where do you get your ideas? Any specific, special events that spurred a particular book?
I’m a daydreamer, so I find story ideas in odd places. I once came up with an idea while watching my son’s high school football game. As the boys were warming up on the field, I envisioned knights preparing for battle. That eventually became a scene in one of my books.
Do you plan out your books? Do you plot ahead of time?
I plot the books, but I’m not rigid. Sometimes I veer away from the plan when I’m writing. As scenes play out in my imagination, I’m often surprised by the direction a character will take, and that’s when the writing really gets to be fun.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies?
I come from a large family, so there’s always some event or celebration going on.
I love to travel. There’s a long list of places I want to visit. Now I just need to find the time.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the next book. Maybe I’m a little superstitious, but it’s a little early to tell you about it. In a few weeks I should be ready to give a glimpse. I can say this much – it’s another contemporary romantic suspense novel.
You’re known as the Queen of historical romance. Yet, for quite awhile now you’ve been writing contemporary suspense. How and why did you make that jump and what did your editors say when you told them you wanted to write contemporary?
My editors were encouraging me to write contemporary stories, but I loved the historicals, so I resisted. Then I came up with the story idea for HEARTBREAKER, and even though I tried, I couldn’t see how to make it play out in a historical setting. I wrote it as a contemporary, and the response from the readers was good, so the publishers asked me to do more. Now, I really enjoy writing these romantic suspense novels, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the historicals, especially those set in medieval Scotland. If things work out the way I want, I’ll be able to write both.
Has your fan base changed since you’ve started writing contemporaries, or do you find most of your historical fans followed you into the modern world?
From the emails I receive, the majority of my historical readers are also reading the contemporaries. Of course, there are those who would prefer one or the other, but in general, I think they’re most fond of whichever they read first.
Will you ever write children’s books again?
I’d love to. I’ve got several ideas for stories, but I just haven’t had the time to write them.
You have an amazing website. Did you help design it? Are there other places on the web we can find you? My Space, Facebook?
Thank you. It was a collaboration. We found a wonderful designer who could carry out our vision. Our intention was to create an experience where the visitor would participate. There are other features we plan to add as time goes on.
There’s a Facebook page for my book, and I have a video for FIRE AND ICE on YouTube, and there are a couple of other sites, but I’ve discovered that you have to spend a great deal of time to have a presence on these sites, so I leave most of my personal contact with readers on my web site.
Your books often center around family and religion. How do you feel about writing the more intimate scenes in romance, knowing your family and friends will read them?
I used to be uncomfortable, but my children are all grown now, and they’re so busy with their own lives, they don’t give my books much thought.
Most romance writers and readers are rather highly educated. Yet, the genre is constantly belittled. How did you learn to deal with those who ridicule the genre? How do you deal with negative critiques?
I don’t pay much attention to them.
Explain how you go about researching your books.
When I write a historical, I do a great deal of research to get the general facts about the time right. For example, if King John is going to be a character in one of my stories, I try to depict him the way the history books do. But since I write fiction, I use poetic license, which means most of the characters and places are imaginary.
For the Roses was turned into a movie. Although I enjoyed the movie, it didn’t exactly follow the book. How did you feel about your book being turned into a movie and the final outcome of the movie?
I thought the production was beautiful, but I was very disappointed to see that there were so many changes to my plot and characters.
Are there any plans for more movies?
There has been interest, but thus far, nothing has developed.
What advice can you give aspiring writers?
I have a few suggestions. First, set aside some time each day to work on the writing. It’s very important that you get into a rhythm and develop the discipline to finish a manuscript. Second, join a group or take a class where you’ll get feedback. Constructive criticism and encouragement are important. Finally, relax and enjoy what you’re writing about. Let your own individual voice shine through in your words. If you’re enjoying what you write, there’s a better chance that your reader will too.