Book Club with Julianne Donaldson

May 15, 2015


Last night was book club night at our local library.  I was really looking forward to this night, because it was a Q&A night with one of my favorite authors, Julianne Donaldson! (funny story, but she lived in our little neighborhood when we lived in North Salt Lake too, we only lived there a year, and our paths didn’t cross, but now she’s moved to our little (not so little) town!) A good friend and I went and we had such a good time.  We learned a lot!  I took my two books and got them signed – I think I am the only person ever who can’t ever think of anything intelligent to say when talking to people I look up too, or take a decent photo either.

But in the end, I came home so uplifted.
(I am one of those people.  This might sound so strange to some of you, but I’ve felt the spirit at football games, at grocery stores, at work, at book clubs. There is good everywhere in the world!  I know that there was a good spirit there last night and it was such a great event.)
So yes. I’m totally saying it, that book club was uplifting.

And I am still smiling to myself about it today.  I thought I would share some of  notes and thoughts I got from last night. (These aren’t exact quotes, just scribbles I jotted down really fast as we sat there listening… I might not get these quotes exactly right, but hopefully you get the idea.)

I think the biggest question of the night, the question on everyone’s mind is, is there another book?  
She said she is a “discovery” writer.  She comes up with a character and a plot and sees where it can take her.  She doesn’t always know the ending, but she knows it will be a happy one.  She has some ideas she is working on but it will be a while before they get published (if they do).

What influenced you to write regency romance and become a writer?
She said that she was sick once when she was a teenager and a family friend brought over a stack of Georgette Heyer books which she read and they really influenced her and she loved them.  She also did an emphasis on English Literature with her English Degree from BYU.  Another similar question was asked later in the evening and I really loved what she said, she said, she loved regency romance but she couldn’t find books that were what she was looking for.  So she created the book she was looking for…a  clean regency romance.  She began writing while her husband was in law school and they had 3 small children.  She said they were poor and he was busy and she needed a creative release.  She said she can remember the exact moment standing at the sink doing the dishes when she came up with the song in Edenbrooke.  I loved this about her and the interview!

How do you do it – with 5 kids?
I loved this question.  She said she did take time off with baby number 4 and baby number 5.  Like I said in the previous question, she said when she began writing Edenbrook her husband was in law school.  So he did law school, but she got Thursday nights.  Every Thursday he would watch the kids and she would leave the house and head to Barnes and Noble to write.  She said for her she needs to leave the house, it just works better.  She also emphasis what works for her isn’t what might work for everyone.  One thing that she said that I love, and that has stuck with me, is that she said when she is mom, she is mom.  She focuses on that.  And then when it’s time to write she can write and not feel mom guilt.  I need to be more like this.  Be mom when it’s mom time.  And have a different time to write, or read or blog.  But separate them.

What was the last book you read?
The Law of Moses, by Amy Harmon

Will you ever write a continuation, or a series?
She said she likes stand alones. It doesn’t look like we will get another story about our favorite characters 🙁  But that’s okay, I still love her stand alone books.  (She did mention during another question, that she loves happy endings.  So at least we know we will always get a happy ending with her books!)

What advice do you have for writers, do you ever get writers block, and how long did it take you to write each novel?
Yes – she does get writers block.  Everyone does.  She says sometimes you just need to leave the scene and work on another one and come back to it.  or she will play the piano, or go on a walk or go to a museum.  Something else to fill her creative well.  She said her advice is to read good books a lot. There is a difference between reading  a lot and reading good books.  She mentioned the 10,000 hours rule from the book Ouliers, she has been a regular journal-er since the age of 14.  She says those hours of journaling are her 10,000 hours.  They have helped her in so many ways.  She also said writers conferences really help her.  And to not be afraid to own it.  Not to say you are an aspiring writer.  You can aspire to be a published writer, but everyone can be a writer.  She said with her first book from start to publishing it took about 5 years.  But once she signed the contract for Blackmoore she was able to write and finish it in about 9 moths.

Tell us more about the cover art – how they are selected.
She said her publisher picks the covers.  She gets to help and offer opinions.  The cover for Edenbrooke was originally the same photo on the cover of The American Heiress, which came out just months before Edenbrooke.  I personally love both covers, but I think they both fit their own books.  I can’t imagine them right if they were swapped.  She said they came up with the cover of Blackmoore and went back and forth on a couple things.  And in the end all she had them do different was add a bird. If you look closely you can see it.  I love that cover too.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
I think this was my favorite answer.  And the one that totally made me tear up.  Because she said her favorite thing about being a writer is seeing what it does for her kids.  She mentioned that she has a 10 year old girl, who loves to read. And the opportunities and confidence that she has seen her daughter have  because she can see mom do it is worth it.  She said it shows them that you can pursue your dreams, you can do great things.  Its’ empowering. You can do that and be a mom.

It was a great night. I had a good time with my friend and I had a good time listening and learning.  I loved the feeling.  I’m going to be re-reading these books soon.  If you haven’t read these books, you really need to look into them.  I would love to hear what you think.

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