Q & A with author Julianne MacLean
USA Today Bestselling author, Julianne MacLean came to the romance genre after completing a degree in English literature from the University of King's College in Nova Scotia. She fell in love with some of the classic romances - Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice - and after a brief stint as a federal government auditor, decided to try her hand at becoming a modern day romance writer.
She is a four-time Rita Finalist and winner of numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers Choice Award, the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and the Greater Detroit Romance Writers Booksellers' Best Award. Her books have been translated into many languages and she has sold over 1.3 million books in North America alone.
She is a devoted wife and mother, and loves to travel. She has lived in New Zealand and Ottawa, and is now settled happily in Nova Scotia while working on her latest book.
Michelle: What keeps you writing when you feel like quitting?
Julianne: I never feel like quitting—at least not for the long haul. I suspect that when I pass on, there will be a half-written manuscript on my computer. I’ll be a writer until I draw my last breath. However, when I do feel like quitting *for the day* after a certain number of hours at my computer—but I need to stay put and produce more pages to meet a deadline—I’ll get up and make a cup of tea and return to my chair. One of my weaknesses is potato chips. A bowl of sour cream and bacon chips makes it so much more fun to stay seated at my desk while I nibble, so I need to be careful, or I gain weight while working toward a deadline!
Michelle: Describe your writing space. What is the scenery like? Do you listen to music, or is it quiet?
Julianne: I have an office on the main floor of my house, but I need quiet to write. If the family is watching something loud on TV, I will set up a card table in my closet for total silence, or use sound reduction headphones. My desk in my office faces the window and I have a beautiful view of my backyard and the lake. The sky is a tremendous inspiration for me, whether it’s storm clouds and rain, or a colorful sunset in the evening. It’s constantly changing so it’s a pleasure to watch whenever I look up from a half-written page. Sometimes I see deer and rabbits or a beaver—or a bald eagle that catches fish, which is amazing to watch—but they are a terrible distraction. I often end up on the deck with the binoculars, lured away from the current scene I’m trying to write.
Michelle: If you were granted two wishes what would you ask for?
Julianne: world peace and compassion/kindness to replace all forms of violence
Michelle: What would be the title of your biography?
Julianne: Being Grateful
Michelle: Besides your own books, what book(s) are you looking forward to reading?
Julianne: I love this question. Whenever I’m writing a first draft, I don’t read other authors’ novels because I need to stay immersed in my own story world and think about my own characters, even when I’m not actually sitting at my keyboard. I LOVE to read, so I tend to collect books while I’m working on one, and I accumulate a huge TBR pile to binge on when I finally type THE END. (Other authors’ books are my reward.) Right now, my pile contains books by Kristin Hannah, Jane Green, RaeAnne Thayne, Kimberly Belle, among others. I just finished a book by Kristan Higgins. I also like to read the monster bestsellers during any given year, to see what all the fuss is about. I just read INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins. Here is a picture of my summer TBR pile.
Michelle: Who was your favorite character to write about in `The Color of a Silver Lining`? Why?
Julianne: That’s a tough question because I loved them all, but if I had to choose, I’d choose Bev, because she was a great mom and she was able to own her past mistakes.
Michelle: Just for fun, who is your ideal male character?
Julianne: Gosh, it’s hard to choose just one. Let’s go with the wonderfully heroic, and a perfect man in all ways: Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie, played by Michael Landon. (Incidentally, I named my daughter after Laura Ingalls Wilder, because I was such a huge fan of her books and the TV show when I was growing up.)
Michelle: Do you write Regency, modern, or other eras? Which do you prefer?
Julianne: I have written historical romance in the past, including Regency, Scottish Highlanders, and late Victorian. I enjoyed them all equally, as I loved doing the research for each era.
Michelle: Which factors most influence your selection of a book?
Julianne: The author’s voice, in terms of making me feel connected to a character. Whether it’s a suspenseful psychological thriller or a romantic women’s fiction novel, I want to be able to keep turning pages for hours, and for that to happen, I need to care about the characters. And I want freshness and unpredictability. I don’t want to feel as if I’ve read that story before, a hundred times over.
Michelle: Are there any parting words you would like to say?
Julianne: Thank you for having me, and these were great questions! I really enjoyed answering them.
Julianne, thank you for your time and for visiting New Horizon Reviews