15 Questions with Atina Atwood the Author of the Holiday Heartbeats Series

Topher Hoffman: Hello! Today we have Atina Atwood answering questions at The House of 1000 Books.  She’s the creator of the Holiday Heartbeats Series. This series includes His Epiphany, Love Games, and her newest novel, Luck of the Irish!

She states in her bio that in general, her stories vary in heat levels— from YA to sweet romantic stories to steamy contemporary romance. All of her books have multicultural characters that are strong-willed and purpose-driven.  

I’m interested in what she has to say, so with that, let us get to the questions.  Read more

16 Questions with Keith D. Graham the Author of The Tacharan: A Story of Loch Ness

Topher Hoffman: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for stopping by to check out our interview today with Keith D Graham.

He currently lives in the United States with his two sons, his wife, and dog COPPER.

(Copper was a rescue from our local shelter. He is white with two copper coloured spots on his back like pennies. He came with the name, so we kept it!) Read more

21 Questions with Raven Corinn Carluk the Author of Nomycha

Welcome to the House of 1000 Books, and today we have a treat for you.  We have an interview with Raven Corinn Carluk.  She’s a self-described “desert rose that belongs in the heat.”

Welcome, Raven to the House of Books virtual interview room!  Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions with us. I took a look at your profile, and you have a lot of books. I can only imagine you are a pretty busy lady! It surprised me how many books you had written.

So let’s start, shall we?

Topher Hoffman: I read your biography, so I know the answer to this, but can you tell the readers when did you write your first book?  I think they will be surprised!

21069830Raven Corinn Carluk: It surprises even me sometimes, especially as I keep getting older. My first completed novel was written back in my freshman year of high school. That manuscript is long since gone, and it certainly wasn’t up to my current standards, but there’s a part of me that wishes I had it for at least the nostalgia of it.

Recently, though, one of my aunts showed me a picture book I had written and drawn about the bicycle she had bought for me. So, I could argue that my first book was written when I was eight.

TH: What was your favourite childhood book?

RCC: There are two that really come to mind, though I read so much while growing up. Green Eggs and Ham will always be a favorite book, because it’s the first book I remember reading. And it has a great moral that more people should embrace.

The other favorite was The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein. I was seven or eight when I read it, and I just related to the whole family, but especially the main kids. Precocious, too smart for my own good sometimes, and hungry for adventure.

TH: I see that you write romance, science fiction, and fantasy. Has your family read your romance novels, and if they have what do they think of them?

RCC: I’m not sure if any of my extended family has read my books, because I never connected with them as a child, thus didn’t keep in contact when I became an adult. But my very tight-knit family circle has read the romance, and they like it. Even if they sometimes tease me about the steamier bits.

I’ve been told by them that they enjoy the adventure, that it’s not all heaving bosoms and pining for unrequited love, so it’s something a person can get into.

TH: Now, my favourite random question! If you were walking down the road, and you saw a younger you writing, what advice would you give yourself?

7943082RCC: That’s a great random question, but my answer might be considered “cheesing out” by others. My personal philosophy is that I wouldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t lived through my experiences. So I wouldn’t give my younger self advice, because then she wouldn’t become me.

But my advice to any writer is to tell your story. Keep writing. Keep doing. In this day and age of internet access and free information, there is no reason to hide your story just because it isn’t popular, or is too similar to something else, or can’t be defined by a genre. You can publish it yourself, you can get people to read it, and you don’t have to compromise your vision to fit current trends.

TH: You started writing at a young age. Could you tell us how many books have you written and which is your favourite?

RCC: Published, there are five novels, one novella, and two collections of short stories. On my blog there is a serial novel that’s basically a rough draft, and a couple hundred short stories. Three or four short stories published in anthologies not quite a decade ago.

And that’s just what’s currently available to readers.

Currently, Nomycha is my favorite. There’s something about that story of star-crossed lovers, and discovering yourself as a person, and learning to balance good and evil within yourself and your actions, that touches me like nothing else I’ve written. I have other characters that are closer to mine and my husband’s personalities, and I love their tales, but Cyryna and her novel are my babies. I worked the longest on polishing the manuscript, hesitated the most on hitting the submit button, and sometimes worry that it’s not as good as I think it is.

TH:  You must have a pretty good idea what it takes to make a good story. What do you think makes a good story?

13482846RCC: It’s easy to say a good story should have relatable or interesting characters, and rising action, and real consequences, and a satisfying conclusion, but those are just parts of the craft. To paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow: That’s what a story needs, not what a story is.

A good story really has that element of je ne sais quoi: you’ll know it’s good when you read it, but you can’t define it in tangible words. It has to do with the passion of the storyteller, with how well they translate their vision to the page. I could read two novels with similar plots, characters, and conclusions, and one will just feel like the better story to me because of that touch of passion.

TH: Do you enjoy what you write, meaning, do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

RCC: I think of myself as a storyteller, and that my duty is to share my vision with people. Sometimes it’s just a variation on a common theme, sometimes it’s about subverting expectations. Sometimes it’s just about embracing the darker side of life. I’d like to think I appeal to what readers didn’t know they wanted to read.

I’ve been asked if I would write something more commercially appealing if it meant my big break, and I had to say no. I’ve never been one to follow trends in my own lifestyle, so couldn’t do that with my writing. Yeah, it would be easy to crank out another dystopian YA novel where the good guys win, or yet another bodice-ripper escapist romance novel, but that’s not me.

TH: Do all your books run along the same storyline or are they all unique standalone novels?

RCC: I mean, if you boil any story far enough down, then everything is similar. I think someone similar said there are only seven basic plots in the world, and I can’t exactly argue against that. It’s just how that plot is dressed up that makes each book different.

So, there is a basic plot of Girl-Meets-Boy and they live Happily Ever After in all my novels, but it’s the adventures they have and tribulations they go through that make each novel stand on their own. All of them are walking to the same place, but they each take slightly different paths to get there.

TH: Are there any books that you started to write, but haven’t finished, if so, how many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

21583322RCC: Unpublished, I have a novel that my husband and I are working on together. Maybe a dozen short stories out for submission. Another dozen short stories in various stages of revision, and a serial novel I’m still working on. There are a few plots for more Keila books running around, and a handful of other ideas that just haven’t solidified into something that could actually become a book.

TH: With writing so many romance novels, can you tell us, what’s the worst thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

RCC: Gaw, this is a hard one. I actually can’t think of one, because I enjoy writing about my men, and I enjoy writing short stories from male points of view. The hardest part would probably be trying to write a stereotypical chauvinist, what the vernacular considers toxic masculinity. I’ve always had good men in my life, and that translates to the men in my story, so I can’t put myself in the headspace to create such a character.

But that goes for women, too. Writing someone stereotypically weak or simpering takes more effort than a woman who will defend herself or put her foot down when necessary.

TH: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

RCC: From plot outline to publishing, it’s a couple years. But that was while I was working full time, and had to do all my editing and rewrites in my spare time. If I can come up with a good novel idea, it might be much easier now that I’m a full-time housewife.

TH: When you start to think up a book, do you make up the plot first or the characters?

RCC: 60% character first, 40% plot. The two are really linked for me, especially since there’s magical elements to my works. So, I play with character ideas and what kind of adventures they would have. What would be the stumbling block to them based on their abilities, and who would make a good partner for them, and what kind of antagonist would they be going up against?

TH: You’ve written in the romance genre and the science fiction & fantasy genre. Do you have a preference?

RCC: Fantasy is almost always my preference over sci-fi, even in my reading tastes, but I enjoy telling love stories. I know romance has a bit of a reputation that it’s about sex, and I’ve put some explicit scenes in All Hallows Blood, but I really like to read about two souls meeting and becoming one. So I will probably always write romance with fantastical elements, because that’s where I’m most comfortable.

TH: Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audiobook?

11244531RCC: I actually am looking to making some audiobooks. I’m not rolling in cash, so I wasn’t going to hire anyone, but do it myself. So I won’t have any idea what challenges come with working with a narrator, but I can tell you what it’s like narrating my own stuff.

Currently, I am posting videostories on my YouTube channel. Me, reading my old flash stories from my blog, while the words are on screen for anyone who wants to read along. And it is a fun project, because it allows me to exercise so many different facets of my creative nature.

Learning how to speak into a mic is probably the hardest thing for me right now. Learning how to give emphasis without spiking the audio levels, how to pace myself, how to make sure I’m enunciating, how to do slightly different voices. But this is an information age, so I can Google lots of tips, and am learning as I go.

Editing the audio itself has been pretty easy. At least so far. Clearing out my breathing, the occasional clicks, trimming down pauses that went on to long, that all takes less and less time. It was always the easiest part.

Once I feel I’ve really mastered audio production, I’m planning to turn Stories With Bite O,.,O into my first audiobook, then Nomycha.

TH: As I can see, you have a lot of published books. Is writing your full-time career? Or would you like it to be?

RCC: Until recently, I was having to work full-time to do all the things that kept me fed and housed. After an injury at work, my husband was able to position himself so I could stay home and become a housewife. Which means I am now a full-time writer, so long as I’ve gotten my daily chores finished.

It is certainly something I’ve always wanted. Trying to be creative while working sapped my energy, and was painful. Trying to find time for self-promotion while working led to a nervous breakdown, which caused me to put writing on a hold for five or six years. Telling stories is in my soul, but it takes time and freedom. Both of which I have now.

TH: You said you have been writing since you were five. When did you first consider yourself an author?

RCC: I didn’t actually consider myself an author until I signed a contract for All Hallows Blood. I was no longer just writing, I was published, and I felt I could call myself an author.

TH: Can you please tell us about your most recently released book?

41123759RCC: The synopsis reads: When war breaks out between the two lands, Cyryna must leave her training and contemplation to recover a relic of great power. Her magical skills are immediately put to the test in skirmish after skirmish with the undead hordes of Valham. Her heart is put to the test when she meets a man with silver eyes.

Nomycha has been an on-and-off again project for probably ten years. It was inspired by a dream, and went through at least one complete re-write before it got to this stage. I tried to explore elements of destiny, of balance, of how light and dark hate each other for being different. Cyryna explores what it means to be yourself, to stand up for your beliefs, to embrace your inner strength. Maksim is warrior, protector, and proves that love will conquer all.

Plus there’s adventure, action, monsters, magic, and villains.

TH: What is the significance of the title?

RCC: I’ll let Maksim explain it: “Mychas are spirit hounds. They act as guardians of the mystic plane, guiding magic users. Nomychas are the little hounds that watch over dreamers. I’ve dreamt of you my entire life. You are my nomycha. You are the one who guides me.”

It’s his pet name for her throughout the book. It seemed the most appropriate title, even if it’s a made-up world, because there is so much in the tale regarding dreams and the great hounds.

TH:  If your book one day made into a movie,  who are the celebrities that would star in it?

RCC: Even though I tend to write my action scenes with a cinematic style, I don’t usually think about who would play my characters in a movie. I don’t even usually have a particular person in mind while I’m writing. But in this book, Orlando Bloom was my inspiration for Maksim’s looks. He’s always my guilty pleasure; I’ve loved him since I first saw him, and always will.

I’m not sure who would be cast, but they’d need to be young and hot.

TH:  Where can people buy your books, and what book do you recommend starting with?

21596338RCC: I’m on Amazon http://bit.ly/RavenCorinnCarlukAmazon and Smashwords http://bit.ly/RCCSmashwords I recommend starting with Stories With Bite O,.,O to get a feel for what I like, how I write, and then decide where to go from there.

Or come by my blog for free stories every week. http://bit.ly/Raven-Corinn-Carluk

TH: Finally, is there anything else you want the readers to know?

RCC: Leave reviews about the books you read. It helps the author, especially us indie authors, but you’re really helping your fellow readers. They want to know if their time and money are worth spending on a book, and you could help them make that choice.

Thank you!

RCC: Thanks for having me!

So there have it folks!  Raven Corinn Carluk! She’s definately an author to keep an eye out for!

Follow Raven!

Blog: http://ravencorinncarluk.blogspot.com
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ravencorinncarluk
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/RavenCorinnCarluk
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ravencorinncarluk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ravencorinn


16 Questions – Johanna L Randle- The Inevitable Fate of E & J

Topher Hoffman: Today I would like to introduce to you an author of YA fiction! I am excited to introduce her, and she’s I’m sure she’s excited to share with you her writing world, and her first full-length novel called The Inevitable Fate of E & J! So I say, enough of the small talk, let’s get the ball rolling, and let me present to you this fabulous new author! Welcome, Johanna L. Randle to the House of 1000 books!

Welcome Johanna to the pages of the House of 1000 books blog, your time is very well appreciated and thank you for taking the time to answer some questions!

As I read your profile on Twitter, I realized that you are a number cruncher with a degree in psychology! When did you know that your passion didn’t lie within those fields and that your magical world was waiting to be written?

jlrquote1Johanna L. Randle: Honestly, I’ve always known I wanted to be a published author. I love books so much, and they’ve helped me through my entire life. I’d stay in the classroom on recess and write stories. I have tons of notebooks with stories I wrote as a kid. I wanted to be a part of the world so badly. The world where my words can bring a smile to someone’s face, make them laugh, or especially, help them relate to one of my characters. However, crippling self-doubt was always an issue with me, along with that logical part of my brain telling me I needed a “real” career. Two of the biggest lies I ever told myself.

It’s funny, I went to school originally to become a teacher. My first class was a psychology course, and I fell in love with that field. I knew early on that I didn’t want to be a psychologist but wanted to focus instead on child development. However, in order to make a huge difference in the field, you need a Ph.D., which is just not feasible at this point in my life. Maybe someday.

The number crunching came about in an odd sort of way. You know those personality tests that tell you what career you should be in? (I obviously love those, because well, psychology.) Anyway, everyone I’ve ever taken has told me accounting is one of the best fields for me. I’ve always avoided it because I have a creative mind and accounting sounded, to be honest, utterly boring. I’m lucky enough to be in a company where the leaders understand that I get bored easily (see the previous sentence about the creative mind). Because of this, a position opened up in accounting, and they let me move departments. I ended up really enjoying the work. As far as day jobs go, it’s a great placeholder until when (if) I make it big time as an author.

TH:  In your personal belief, what do you think makes a good plot in a story?

JLR: What makes a good plot in a story, to me, is one where you can fall completely into it. Where the world around you disappears, and you are living in the plot the entire time you read. This also requires that the characters involved in the plot are relatable, likable, even if you like to hate them, and entertaining. For me, the best plots have always been character driven. While I admire writers who can create a wonderful atmosphere, and describe something as mundane as a plant in so much detail you can see it, my favorite books to read are ones that the plot has me biting my nails, on the edge of my seat, or anxiously waiting for the next moment I can read more.

TH: Are any of your friend’s authors? If so, what advice did they give you?

JLR: None of my friends are authors, but many of them are readers. They did not really give me writing advice, but more advice to have faith in myself and my ability to write. I even have co-workers who have shown faith in me, and I appreciate it more than they’ll know. My family members were especially encouraging. They are always telling me to go for my dreams and that they love my writing.

There are multiple aspiring writers in my family, however, and I can’t wait for them to release their books. I’d love to get to a point with them where we’re swapping works in progress to give each other developmental edits and plot ideas. (If you’re reading this, I’m talking to you, Jennifer, Jessie and Chris).

TH: Currently, who is your number one fan, how do you know?

randle2JLR: I have two number one fans – my husband and daughter. I know this for a few reasons. One, I don’t yet have many fans as a newly published author. And two, my husband has put up with my rants about plot points, character traits and those moments where I almost deleted my entire manuscript. I’ve actually ripped up handwritten notes before, and my husband tried to tape them back together. He’s encouraged me so much. I’ll never forget when I was at the dentist right after I got my book cover completed, and he randomly started bragging to them about it. That was probably the moment I finally and fully believed he did have faith in me. And my daughter tells everyone her mom is a writer and squealed along with me every time I made progress in my novel.

TH: This is my favourite question to ask everyone. If you had an opportunity to talk to your younger writing self, and you knew that you were going to write a book, what advice would you give yourself? Especially when it came to career choices?

JLR: If I could give advice to my younger writing self, I’d go back to fifth grade, when I wrote more than any other time in my life and would have told ten-year-old Johanna to not stop writing. I wished I’d continued the efforts I put in at that age. I didn’t actually start fully committing to writing a novel until I was in my twenties. I think if I had put more effort in the younger I was, the quicker my publishing goals would have come to fruition.

TH: Writing takes a lot of work. From what I’ve gathered online it can either be an especially exhausting, or it energizes you. What does it do for you?

JLR: It does both for me. It energizes me when I’m writing the first draft. When ideas freely pop in my head, and I can’t write them down fast enough. Or when I’m stuck in the plot development and the next scene magically appears in my brain. It energizes me when my characters speak to me, and I can picture them as clearly as real-life people.
The exhausting part comes when I re-read the first draft. When I realize I’ve used the same word 185 times. Or when I catch that I’ve done more telling than showing. And being new to the published author world, it’s been a bit exhausting figuring out how to market my book! And in full disclosure, there are times when I just don’t feel like writing, and I’d rather read. This slows down my progress immensely and then comes in the regret cycle.

TH: I have the greatest respect for authors. It takes a lot of work to write, edit, and compose your book, especially the first one. I would imagine that it has a massive learning curve. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your first novel?

JLR: The most surprising thing I learned when I wrote my first novel is that it’s an actual job. It’s not as simple as, “I have this amazing idea, and my characters are awesome. I’m going to write a book.” I had this delusion that every great book I read was the result of that exact thing, which is part of the reason I was afraid to try myself. I believed my favourite authors were just magic and could pen a book on the first try. But after writing the first, third, fifth draft, I realized that it is a process. Ideas are great, but it takes dedication, blood, sweat, tears, your heart and soul, and your first-born child (kidding).

Every sentence you write requires an immense amount of thinking and re-working. Does this sentence make sense here? Does this contradict an earlier plot point? Have I described something enough, or too much? What is a better word to use here? Etc. Writing can be a hobby, but to get a novel where you want it, it becomes much more than that. But it’s so worth it.

TH: All writers need tools of some type. For you, what was the greatest thing you bought that has benefited you with your writing?

JLR: This is an easy question. The best tools are books. The more I read, the more my writing improves. The more words I devour, the more circulate in my own brain. Even if I read a book that I don’t love all that much, it provides me with courage because I admire every single writer who is brave enough to put their work out into the world. That and notebooks. Lots and lots of notebooks so that I always have a place to jot down notes. (I prefer handwriting notes for my books rather than using a computer).

TH: You have a fascinating finished book. Was this your first attempt at writing a book, and if not, how many unfinished stories do you have. Will you ever go finish them

JLR: This was the first book idea I’d ever had that I wanted to write. I came up with the idea when I was sixteen. However, this was not the first one I actually wrote. I had a young adult dystopian novel written and was actually acquired by a small agency. However, the book wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and I struggled to get it just right. I ended up pulling the book and re-wrote it twice. It sits abandoned in my drafts folder now. I also have seven other unfinished stories that I’ve started. As soon as I get a story idea, I immediately begin writing it now (considering it took me a dozen or so years to finally get this one released, I don’t want that to happen again). Most of them have no more than five chapters written. I plan to go back to every single one and write a full-length novel and release them to the world. Most are young adult, but I have three that are adult novels. I may eventually try to publish my dystopian novel too, but there was so much I went through with that book that I can’t look at it quite yet.

TH: That’s pretty impressive! Can you please tell the people what your novel is about?

johannarandlecoverJLR: The Inevitable Fate of E & J is about two friends, Elizabeth and Jimmy, who had a falling out in middle school and stopped talking. Until that point, though, they were best friends, practically attached at the hip. Both of them are drawn to the other suddenly around the time Elizabeth turns sixteen. She’s feeling lost in her social circle and with the life she created for herself. And he’s missing what used to be between them. And they both just happen to be experiencing hallucinations, visions, phantom pains and voices. When they discover that they are both experiencing similar ones, they start on a journey to figure out what’s wrong with them. To not give too much away, it’s their past lives coming back to haunt them. They might be soul mates, but that might not be a good thing.

TH: Your book is clearly a romance book, and with all romance books, I bet you really need to make the reader experience strong emotions. Do you think you could be a writer of this type of novel if you didn’t in someway feel emotions strongly?

JLR: There is absolutely no way that I could write romance if I didn’t experience emotions strongly. I’m a lover of what’s commonly referred to as “the feels,” in books, movies or tv shows. This doesn’t necessarily mean only romantic feels. Any strong emotion characters feel, I feel too. I think that’s why I prefer character driven novels. Honestly, my biggest hope for my novel is that readers tell me “you gave me all the feels.” It also helps that I have an incredibly wonderful and romantic husband. The ironic thing is, I love romance, but I am one of the least romantic people in real life!

TH: Now that you have written your first book has your mindset shifted towards how you will write your next book?

JLR: Absolutely!!! I mentioned that I had the idea for this book when I was sixteen. Well, I wrote the first draft in 2014 in a notebook, in my car on my lunch break. It only took me a month to complete the first draft. I didn’t touch it again until a year later. Then another year. And then another two years until I really decided I needed to get this book out into the world. I guess you could say my characters were haunting me as much as they were being haunted. A few days ago, I discovered a document in my archive folder from 2012 where I’d started this novel! It freaked me out. I realized it took me seven years to finally be dedicated enough to get it published. I have vowed to never do that again.

Another shift in my writing is to stop writing so many drafts. I confused myself with them and made a mess of it all. This is probably due in large part to the long breaks in between. Now that this first one is written, I’m dedicated to finishing the series (three books total) and novellas I have planned.

I’ve also learned how to be a better writer since the first draft. I’ve stopped writing like I’m writing an essay for school and started to write in what I hope is an entertaining way.

TH: Like I said before, writing a novel is a long gruelling process, although I bet you it is a fun one. With your job in the way, how many hours of writing do you get in a day?
See prior answers! I clearly do not get a lot of writing done in my day. I do, however, have a lot of notes in my many notebooks. I need to go back to school for my day job, and I’m a bit concerned that will get in the way of my writing, but I am making a pact with myself that I won’t let it.

I’ve never been a goal setter for my writing (which is the opposite of myself at work, I have lots of goals and I always meet them). So, I think from now on, I’ll just have to force myself to set writing goals and hope that the level of motivation I give to my day job translates to my writing. As I mentioned, the logical part of my brain often tells me work is a priority.

TH:  In your novel, the main characters use to be best friends, and they had a falling out. They later meet up again and hit it off, shall we say, pretty good. What was the most laborious part of the writing these scenes into your novel, was it their early life, their later life, or something totally different?

JLR: The more difficult scenes for me were the middle of the novel. I loved writing their backstories, and their emotions from when they met up again. I even got butterflies myself on a few of the scenes. And the ending was so much fun to write. But the middle, which is the meat, was a struggle. I found myself wanting to get to the end quickly and had to force myself to add more interactions, more struggles, and more misunderstandings. They wouldn’t magically forgive one another and be in love again, would they?

TH: I bet you think pretty highly of your two main characters. Now, I’m going to put you on the spot! Out of Jimmy and Elizabeth, who do you like best?

JLR: As a female author, I should probably say Elizabeth is my favourite, but I actually favour Jimmy quite a bit more. As I was writing his character, I realized he was actually sort of funny. Something I’m not in real life. (Though my husband will tell you that when I’m mad or frustrated, I’m hilarious, as long as it’s not directed at him). But Jimmy also had a rough life and he’s overcome that in a positive way. And that was really fun to write. I believe the world needs real-life books that reflect real-life struggles, and I’m so grateful for the authors who write those. But I also believe that sometimes, people just want to escape the bad in the world by reading characters who have some positive things to share. That’s what I hope I’ve conveyed in Jimmy. I really do love Elizabeth as well. I can relate to her. She’s placed herself in this cage of a life that she thought she should want because it made others happy. But she’s completely different than that life and she’s just now finally realizing it.

TH: Is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers?

JLR: Just one thing. Thank you for all of the readers who are giving an unknown, self-published debut author a chance. It means the world to me knowing that others are out there reading something I put so much effort into, simply for the purpose of entertaining them!


Follow Johanna on Social Media!  Twitter: @RandleJohanna

Pick up her new book on Amazon! The Inevitable Fate of E & J


16 Questions With Author Julia Colbourn

Topher Hoffman: Hello Julia! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for the readers at The House Of 1000 Books. I find it so amazing and motivational that there are so many authors out there that are doing what they love. Writing amazing stories. I am thrilled to get this opportunity to spend the time with you to do just that. julianna

I see that you have a lot of books under your belt! How many novels are you up too?

Julia Colbourn: I’m working on book number four as we speak. I’m averaging a book a year so far.

TH: That’s great! It looks like you have publications that fall into various categories. What is your favourite genre to write?

JC: I love to write in many different genres – there’s usually a romance of some sort going on, but I like to write about real life situations, not cozy, unrealistic storylines. My first book is a dystopian fantasy (no elves or dragons, though!) and I’ve also got some non-fiction books that I’d like to write. My interests are very varied and I can’t see me settling into any one genre just yet. My style, however, remains the same.

TH: I like to find out in all my interviews when authors started to write.  Some start at a young age, but others don’t start until they are adults. When did you find your passion for writing?

JC: I think I was born with it! Certainly, I wrote stories as a kid and revelled in writing essays at senior school, inspired by a rare gem of an English teacher. I first started writing seriously when I was at home with a young family. I had several articles and short stories accepted in magazines, but by the time I retired and had the time to return to it seriously, the writing world had changed and so had magazine content!

TH: Writing takes a tremendous amount of time, can you tell me if it ever gets in the heart of home life?


JC: I published my first book while I was still teaching – how I found the time to write it, I juliabook1don’t know! Secret all-night sessions, fuelled by chocolate, I suppose! But when you have the writing bug, it’s very hard to ignore it. Now I’m retired there still isn’t enough time, as we are travelling a fair bit and have many other commitments, not to mention the time Twitter takes up (purely for marketing purposes, of course!!). It helps that my partner is Asperger – he likes to do his own thing which leaves me free to do mine!

TH: Has your family read your work, and if so what was one point that you got told as feedback that you continue to follow while writing?

JC: My sister is my proofreader, and though her preference is for cozier reads than mine, she still tells me that I write well. My cousin and several friends give me huge support and nag me to get the next book wrote, which is very motivating. My daughters sometimes mutter ‘no sex, please, mother’ but, while there is no gratuitous sex in my books, I do feel it’s unavoidable if you’re painting a true picture. There’s only one scene of a sexual encounter in my current book, so maybe, subconsciously, I’m taking their feedback on board.

TH: What is the one author that you have read that influenced you the most and what is your favourite book of theirs?

JC: If you limit me to just one, I’d have to say Austen (I discovered only a few years ago that I’m actually descended from her grandmother, which was cause for great celebration!). She was the first author to make me realize how you can use humour in a serious novel to great advantage. Trollope was another. And Thomas Hardy showed me how to not shrink from unpalatable truths.

TH: If you met that author and wanted to ask them one question, what would it be?

JC: Oh, I’d love to ask Jane Austen what sort of books she would write nowadays. She would be so pleased with the advances women have made over the last century. Can you imagine what her Twitter following would be?

TH: I read one of your interviews, and you described how you flesh out your characters. Have you ever created an antagonist based on somebody you seen in real life?

julia book 2JC: No one character is based just on one person, but inevitably I use snippets from all sorts of different sources – people from my past and my present, TV personalities, even people I’ve just heard about. I might use someone’s voice, someone else’s mannerisms or body language, someone else’s facial expressions. It helps, when I write, if I can picture my character in my mind – I can literally see them closing their eyes, or changing their posture, and I can hear the tone in which they speak. The Narcissist in my current book is based loosely on a close (thankfully ex) family member.


TH: With having so many books out, you had a chance to develop so many characters. Who is the one type of character that you absolutely adore?

JC: It’s got to be the feisty female lead!! They’re all flawed in some way (as we all are) and my current main female character is badly damaged from a relationship with a Narcissistic personality disorder and at first appears weak and spineless, but she gradually wins through. Women are incredibly strong.

TH: What about out of the books you have written? Why is your favourite?

JC: My first book is my true love! I put heart and soul into it – some science, some novel religious theories, a bit of philosophy and observations of human society as a whole. There are also some hidden meanings in it, for those who like a book with layers. Sadly, I knew nothing about marketing in those days, and I just pushed it out onto the literary ocean and let it flounder on its own. I hope, at a later stage when I am more established, to come back to it and do it justice.

TH: Have you ever had a real-life problem and written it into the story?

JC: Inevitably. All authors draw on their own insecurities and childhood dramas (and many of their adult ones, too!) I went to quite a posh public school but my social life was always rooted in more down to earth circles, mainly at the local riding school where you had to muck in (and out) to earn a ride. This straddling of two worlds crops up in my third book, Seduction & Destruction, and to a lesser extent in my first book, where the female lead just doesn’t fit in anywhere. And my own partner is Asperger – there’s a whole book there, waiting to be written!

TH: To use a publisher or to self publish that is the question! If you had a chance to tell your younger writing self one piece of advice about publishing, what would it be?

JC: I think self-publishing is still my preferred choice – I’m too impatient to wait patiently for months for an inevitable rejection slip – but self-publishing involves a steep learning curve. I wish I’d known at the beginning what I know now. And I now have a huge support network through writers’ groups on Facebook and the Writing Community on Twitter – whatever question I have, someone will have the answer. And I’ve learnt so much – I never even knew what a beta reader was a few months ago!

TH: Can you tell us about your newest book?

JC: I love to look at dysfunctional relationships. They are far more common than most juliabookthreepeople think. In my latest book, I turn the spotlight on Narcissistic personality disorder, of which I have some personal experience. It was fascinating researching the topic and realizing just how common it is. I’ve also included a two-faced best friend (also drawn from personal experience). I have never understood why some people are so destructive for no apparent reason. As Paulie says, in my current work in progress, ‘What’s the matter with people, eh, Barney? You’d think they’d settle for a bit of honest love, instead of devoting themselves to making other people’s lives a misery.’

TH: Looks like you worked really hard on it! What is one thing in the book that you want your readers to take away from the novel?


JC: A better understanding of common human flaws. When we are young, we are constantly searching for the perfect job, the ideal best friend, the Mr. or Ms. Right. The sooner we realize that chasing perfection makes us miss the real opportunities in life, the better. Life is golden and so much fun, but it will never be perfect. Just dive in. Ride the rapids and learn to navigate around the immovable objects.


TH: What is the most important thing that you want your readers to appreciate when it comes to your work?

JC: I want people to feel that I’ve created real, three-dimensional characters and touched on some of the ugly realities that often get avoided in romances. I want my readers to be informed by my books and come away from them with thoughts in their heads that weren’t there before.

TH: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers of the House Of 1000 Books blog?

JC: Writing is hard work. The best thanks any reader can give an author is a review. Please, please review any books you read. So many people don’t.

TH: Thank you for taking the time Julia to answer my questions! So there you have it, folks! Yet another lovely story for you all to check out!

Connect with Julia Colbourn on Twitter and Facebook.

Buy her new book:  Seduction & Destruction: A tale of crime and passion in the gangster world.