For the end of February, I’m pleased to interview romance author Julia Ward. She is witty, funny and writes one of my favourite blogs – The Half Fast Writer. She is an absolute blast of fun, so I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed.
Thanks for doing this, Julia, it’s a pleasure to interview you. So first things first let’s talk about your inspiration. Where do the your ideas come from?
Julia: I’m a pantser. This means I don’t outline or plan or plot things out first. Everything just falls out of my brain as I’m typing. It’s like I’m telling myself a story. Sometimes a plot twist can really surprise me. I get done writing a scene and think, well, it was odd that I added the detail of that candle stick. I can take it out later. Then later in the story the FMC is in that room and has to fend off an attacker! How handy the candle stick is there. Though they don’t all work out. Sometimes, I have to repair some scenes.
Great, I love twists but find them challenging to write. So following from that do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Julia: I remember my mom reading Go, Dog, Go and we had dogs so I related to that one. I loved that story. I still love that story. The FMC always coming along with more and more hideous new hats and the MMC couldn’t care less. It let me know that fashion trends come and go. If you like something, then enjoy it. If you don’t, don’t. But don’t glare at someone because they do. And most important, drive.
Talking about trends and drive, do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Julia: My whole plan is to put a few out and just keep writing. The more I have out there the more visible I become. But I’m an introvert. I’m not going to be splashy.
That’s sensible. To just keep writing is key, especially to develop a back catalogue and gain visibility. So a more craft question next, tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.
Julia: Mostly I sit down and just start writing whatever random things comes to my mind. That usually prompts something else and suddenly I have a story. There are times that I end up stumped because I don’t know what to do next. If I sit, sometimes another character will come up and then I can write again. Other times, I have to take a break, that’s when I might get dishes done. In the middle of the night I’ll get inspired with what happens next. I make myself remember it and then it gets written the next day.
Sounds cool. Finally is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing as far as content?
Julia: God, yes. First of all, I had a difficult time acknowledging that I wrote romance. Romance was not the best genre to be classified as. I used to think of romance as a crutch for those for people who just wanted to wallow in self-pity in their own relationships, maybe mediocre or maybe there are only embers rather than hot flames. Now I see it as a way to inspire and boost those situations. Romances can boost oxytocin and bring about feelings of affection and attachment and what the reader does with that is up to them.
The other challenge I have is that my characters seem a bit weird. Turns out, I’m very mildly autistic. Very mildly, but I think it affects my stories and characters. They are a little quirky. Sometimes that means overly analytical, sometimes overly blunt. Sometimes astoundingly slow, especially when it comes to relationships and social interactions.
I’m hoping that I’ll find my niche, perhaps other Aspies looking for romance stories with characters they can relate to.
Awww…that is so sweet and inspirational. Thanks for the interview and for being a real sport!
Julia: Thank you for having me.
Did you Know? Quick Facts About Julia Ward
- She is a Pacific Northwest native.
- During childhood she delighted in running with the family’s pack of dogs through the neighboring forest, pretending so many adventures.
- More stories filled her head over the years with only a few making it to paper. Now, with kids grown with kids of their own, she looks forward to sharing her stories with others and hopes they’ll bring a little fun or love into someone’s life.
- A variety of disparate jobs during her years including a waitress/bus person, hotel housekeeper, pageant contestant, programmer, security guard, electronics technician, singer/actress, office clerk, cook, cashier, seamstress. All of that before she was 23. This has given her some interesting experiences and knowledge leading to the formation of some quirky characters.
- Her primary genre leans toward the romantic side but she also has works in progress that wander into the sci-fi as well as the paranormal realms.