LAURIE: Julie, I’m so glad you could join us today. First, can you tell us a bit about your book and what inspired you to write this story?
JULIE: The first aspect of a story to grip me is always the characters. I created Maizey Faye because she’s every woman in one: she’s smart but insecure, spunky but a little shy, brilliant but afraid of failure. When she decides to take on the task of running a farm all on her own, she’s filled with self-doubt, but she doesn’t let her fear hold her back.
So many of us work to overcome our fears and redefine ourselves in search of a happier existence. Maizey reflects all of that, and that’s why so many readers can relate to her. We identify with her insecurities, and we admire her courage in overcoming them.
As for Jax, Maizey’s love interest, well...he’s every woman’s dream. Smart, funny, tough but sensitive. Maizey isn’t sure if she can trust him because he’s her direct competitor...and because he’s of the male gender (reason enough to be suspicious considering the betrayal in her past) but Jax is pulling out his full arsenal of charm to win her heart. And when the going gets tough, Jax is there for her. He’s what all us women want all in one neat (and handsome) package.
Inspiration for the setting comes from my grandparents’ place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where I often spent time in the summer as a kid. I have great memories of the wilds of Michigan’s north, running around with my cousins, riding snowmobiles and shooting targets with my grandpa’s rifle. Even as an adult, it’s a magical place for me: sometimes harsh, rural, and poor, but wild and free and beautiful.
LAURIE: And is this the first book you have coming out with Anaiah Press?
JULIE: Yes, and I’m thrilled to have found a home with Anaiah. I connected with Kara Leigh Miller via a Twitter pitch party. She took a chance on a new author and I will forever be grateful for that. Snagging an agent or an editor is tricky, as all authors know, but social media opens doors that cold queries and unrequested submissions cannot. Publishing is a tough business, but if you’re persistent (and thick-skinned!) you’ll eventually find a home for your book baby.
LAURIE: What led you to publish with Anaiah Press?
JULIE: Finding Anaiah was such a blessing! It’s wonderful to partner with a Christian press that not only entertains but also inspires readers. Publishing with Anaiah was just the right balance of personal and professional, and every step of the process polished the manuscript until it shined. Anaiah helped make Nothing Ventured a beautiful, gripping page-turner that I know readers will not be able to set down.
LAURIE: What draws you to writing romantic suspense as opposed to straight up romance or romantic comedies?
JULIE: I love a twisting, suspenseful plot. Action keeps me turning the pages just as much as the romance. I also love the bond that forms between two characters when they’re faced with a difficult situation. Their love develops in a special way because they’re relying on each other.
That being said, I have been kicking around the idea of writing a romantic comedy. I love a book that makes me laugh out loud in one paragraph, then my heart beat faster in the next. No matter the genre, though, the common denominator is faith. When my characters encounter conflict, they rely on Jesus to show them the way. His presence in always there, the source of all love and the calm in every storm.
LAURIE: Are there any authors who’ve influenced you in your writing? Do you have any favourite authors?
JULIE: I have so many favorites! Colleen Coble stands out, as well as Dee Henderson. These two incredibly talented authors balance romance, suspense, and faith in a way that inspires me. I think the best way to learn the craft of writing is to read works that you admire. This method is also, of course, the most fun by far. Like most writers, I am a book addict. Once I’m absorbed in a story line, you can keep your dinner reservations and concert tickets. I am happiest curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.
LAURIE: How long has it taken you to get published?
JULIE: It’s been a long journey, with lots of stops and starts. I wrote my first manuscript when I was twenty-five, but I took a long hiatus while my children were very young. I started trying again in earnest about two years ago. Not finding success with the traditional publishing world, I self-published a three-book series: Garden of Nymphs, Hiatus, and Gold in the Dust.
I absolutely love the heroine of that series, a geeky but beautiful archeologist who seems to find ancient treasures—and trouble—wherever she goes. I spent quite a bit of time with Dr. Helena Thessaylia and her heartthrob love interest, Jason Eros. When I finally completed the series, I felt a void. As a writer, I get attached to my characters. Not surprising, since I spend so much time in their heads.
But when I started writing Nothing Ventured, I found a new fictional couple to adore: the spirited Maizey Faye, a fascinating contradiction of strength and fragility, and the irresistible Jax Lawson, knight in shining armor extraordinaire, capable of any lengths to conquer Maizey’s untrusting heart. (You’ll be rooting for him from the stands).
About seven months ago, Anaiah Press purchased the rights for Nothing Ventured, and I was over-the-moon excited to share Maizey and Jax’s story. It released March 12th on Amazon.
LAURIE: What advice would you give to other writers trying to break in to the Christian market?
JULIE: Faith, patience, and perseverance. Read the sort of books you want to write. Pay attention to details like pacing, character development and plot. Your favorite authors can be your best role models. It’s also important to establish a vibrant social media presence. This step is time-consuming, but well worth it. This is how potential readers can learn about your projects and connect with you. Not to mention it’s free, unlike advertising. I was initially intimidated by social media and avoided it like the plague.
Like many writers, I am happy to write pages and pages about fictional characters, but the moment you want me to talk about myself....blank. Yeah. I play better with my imaginary friends. Once I overcame my fear, though, I found an incredibly supportive, talented and helpful writing community on Twitter. Social media is definitely your friend if you want to break into publishing.
One last piece of advice: A little caffeine and lots of Jesus. This is an eternal truth.
LAURIE: What hobbies do you like to do when you’re not writing? Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you and your work?
JULIE: I’m blessed to be married to the love of my life, Daniel. He’s an incredibly supportive husband and my biggest fan. We have three cute kiddos: Jack, Benjamin, and Madeline, who keep us happy and busy and exhausted and thanking God every day we have them.
As for hobbies, I love to read (of course) and I absolutely have to run, otherwise I get antsy/borderline grumpy due to endorphin withdrawal.
In the miscellaneous category, I am addicted to chocolate and I speak French. I love to read my favorite authors’ books in their French translations.
LAURIE: And finally, how long do we have to wait for your next book?
JULIE: Nothing Ventured released March 12th. You can get the digital version on Amazon. BOOK LINK
LAURIE: Here is a look at Julie’s beautiful cover and the back cover blurb:
When Maizey Faye’s fiancé dumps her, leaving her with nothing but a lonely little tree farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, she sees it as the fresh start she so desperately needs. So what if she knows next to nothing about tree farming. It can’t be that hard, right? Wrong! She’s in over her head, and if she doesn’t figure it out soon, she’ll lose everything.
Maizey never imagined her salvation would come in the form of her handsome business rival, Jax Lawson. She’s not sure if she can trust him, or if he’s just another traitorous man to add to her growing list. But when she starts receiving mysterious messages and dangerous threats, she has no choice but to accept Jax’s help. With her life on the line, she’ll learn real soon whether Jax is sincere about his affections or if it’s all been a lie to get his hands on her farm.
About the Author:
Julie Arnold is a Christian Romantic Suspense author of four books, including Garden of Nymphs, Hiatus, and Gold in the Dust. She lives with her husband and three children in Sylvania, Ohio, though her imagination often takes her to faraway, fictional worlds. The setting for Nothing Ventured was inspired by time spent during her childhood at her grandparents’ home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Julie invites you to connect with her at:
I'm a military wife who's raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We've lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I'm not writing, I can be found spinning, knitting, and hanging out with my dogs.