Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tuesday Special Interview: Julie Garwood

Yes I know it’s supposed to be Toni Blake, but I did promise you Julie Garwood a while ago, so here goes!

Author Name: Julie Garwood
Genre: Romance/Suspense
Latest book in shops now:

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Walmart, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)

A plastic storage box, and, as I remember, a cookie sheet. The loaf of bread I bought yesterday was $2.50.

What were your favourite books as a child?

I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries when I was very young. The first book that truly made an impact on me was To Kill a Mockingbird. I carried it around with me for weeks

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

I get up very early and spend the morning at my typewriter. I take breaks to plot by doing laundry or answering email. I write until mid-afternoon, and then I stop to take care of business or run errands. In the midst of all this are phone calls from family, friends, agents, editors, etc..

Name your top five favourite books of all time.

There are several that stayed in my memory long after I finished them. I think of To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, Gone with the Wind, Angela's Ashes, The O. Henry stories, and so many others.

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

I'm not reading one author in particular. I've been trying to stay current on the bestsellers, but I don't have as much time as I'd like to read.

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

I have many friends who are in the local chapter of RWA. A couple of close friends whom I see often are Candy Cole and Sharon Flannery.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher named Sister Elizabeth who opened up the world of books for me. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a storyteller.

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

Ralph Waldo Emerson. I'm inspired by his words and his philosophies. I'd love to spend a day with him discussing what it means to be alive.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

I want to take my readers on a journey – to give them an adventure. If I can make them smile or pull them into a great love story, I feel successful.

How has the romance genre changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?

When I wrote my first book,
Gentle Warrior, I was told there was no place in the romance genre for humor. I'm glad to see that's changed.

What I don't like to see is the cloning that's becoming so prevalent. If one book is successful, we often see it followed by several just like it. The shrinking number of mid-list authors is also unfortunate. We need new voices entering the genre.


Which of your books is the dearest to your heart, and why?

I'm usually fondest of the one I'm working on – probably because I'm focused on it.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

Not necessarily reviewers, but I do pay attention to what readers tell me. I've been hearing lately that they want to read more humor, so I'm making a conscious effort to lighten things up.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

As it happens, I'm leaving for Scotland in a few days. It will be a trip for both pleasure and business. I'm going to be researching my next historical.

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

My favorite historical heroines are Gillian from
Ransom and Madelyne from Honor’s Splendour. I think I identify with them most. In my contemporaries, it would be Michelle from Mercy.

My favorite hero will probably be Noah Clayborne, but I haven't actually written his story yet.

{Honor’s Splendour was the first of your books that I read, I absolutely loved it. Thanks to author
Sarah McCarty for recommending your books to me!}

What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?

I like to write stories in which bad things happen to good people. I'm interested in how people react to adversity. Most of my characters are decent people who strive to do their best. When something unexpected hits them, we get to see how they measure up.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

I would choose someone for whom my story would make a difference. I've received many letters from people who are going through a hard time and who find escape when they read. I'm especially touched by cancer patients who tell me that one of my stories distracted them from the misery of their chemo treatments.

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

Nora Roberts. She's not only prolific, but she sets a high standard and keeps it there. I think she'll be an influence for a long time to come.

What was the last movie you saw?

I've been to some in the last months, but I can't remember the names of any of them right now. They must not have been very good. I watched Mystery Alaska on TV the other night. It was fun.

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

I love all romantic films. I happened to watch
The Remains of The Day
with Anthony Hopkins for the fifth time last week and fell in love with it all over again. I think the repressed passion lying underneath the surface is what makes that movie so appealing.

What was the last book you read?

The Secret Life of Bees

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

Every time I finish a book I want to start over again. I figure I can make it better if I rewrite it. Of course, if I wrote and rewrote as much as I wanted, I'd never turn anything in. My insecurity comes, I think, from a fear of disappointing the readers.

As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?

Actually, I have three pieces of advice.
Let your voice be heard in your work. Don't chase after market trends. Most important: Don't talk about it. Do it.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

I don't have a title yet, but the next one is due out at the end of next summer, and it will feature my favorite bad boy, Noah Clayborne.

Thanks for your time Julie, much appreciated!

Next week’s interview will be with
Toni Blake! I promise!