1. How did you decide to write Christian romance novels?
Well, Susan, frankly I got SO sick of the world pushing its amoral agenda in romance novels that I decided to try and write my own where I could push God's agenda instead. My thinking was to promote His precepts with the lure of the same kind of passionate romance that I fell in love with at the age of twelve, when I read Gone With the Wind, which by the way, is when I started writing A Passion Most Pure. Back then I wrote 150 single-spaced pages of what is today my debut novel, but I didn't finish it till after I turned 50. But better late than never, eh?
2. Can you share some of your publishing journey with us?
Well, I started out like many authors do, entering contests, none of which I finaled in at the onset. But I studied books on writing and took a fiction-writing course and prayed about every judge's comment in a contest, changing my manuscript according to judges' and the Holy Spirit's leading. And then lo and behold, I started finaling in every contest I entered until I finally hit the jackpot - the Golden Heart! Since this is the grand-daddy of all romantic contests for the unpublished writer, I determined I would "make hay while the sun shines" and sent out 25 queries to agents and 15 to publishers advising each of them I was a Golden Heart finalist.
You can imagine my disappointment when I received 39 rejection letters and only ONE favorable response. And, unlike all the others, this favorable response came in the form of an e-mail from one of the biggest agents in the business, Natasha Kern. She requested that I express mail the manuscript to her so she could read it on the plane en route to a conference! All it takes is one "yes."
3. What made you choose Boston in 1916 as the backdrop for your story?
Well, Boston and Dublin are the only two settings I've used in all three novels of The Daughters of Boston series, and I chose those cities when I was a little girl. I knew I wanted an Irish family coping with a war (like Gone With the Wind), but didn't have the audacity to try another Civil War epic. :) Ireland was always a given, and Dublin is one of its biggest cities, so that's why I chose it.
As far as Boston, I have never been there, but I LOVED Boston Baked Beans candy when I was a kid, as well as anything Colonial. (I used to LOVE Disney's Swamp Fox TV show.) I'm guessing I just picked Boston because of those reasons. You can imagine my excitement when I wrote A Passion Most Pure 40 years later and learned that Boston was considered the heart of Irish America because of its large contingent of immigrants after the potato famine. Very cool!
Thanks, Susan, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readers. Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my website, either by sending an e-mail or by signing up for my newsletter, in which I feature book giveaways. Finally, I invite your readers to visit The Seekers, a group blog to which I belong that talks about "The road to publication." God bless!
Hi Everyone, Susan here. Julie has generously offered to give away one of her books in a drawing. If you've already read A Passion Most Pure, you can choose one of her other books. She informed me they are best read in order.
To enter the drawing, leave a comment with your email address. You have until Saturday midnight, May 9, 2009, to enter. The drawing will take place, Sunday, May 10, 2009. I'll furnish Julie with the winner's name and snail mail address. She will ship the book directly to the winner.