Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Chat with the Very Talented Julie Garwood about 'Sweet Talk' , Romance, and Writing

Julie Garwood
Check out her website at: http://www.juliegarwood.com/#
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=JulieGarwood ( @JulieGarwood )
Follow her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JulieGarwood

With tens of millions of books in print and numerous New York Times bestsellers, Julie Garwood has clearly earned a position among America's favorite fiction writers. Her reputation as a masterful storyteller is solidly founded in her ability to deliver stories with appealing characters, powerful emotions, and surprising plot twists. Readers claim that it's the humor as well as the poignancy of her novels that keep them laughing, crying and thoroughly entertained. Ms. Garwood lives in Leawood, Kansas and is currently working on her next novel. When her schedule allows time away from family and career, she devotes her efforts to promoting literacy, and especially enjoys sharing her love of reading with student groups.
For more information, visit Ms. Garwood's site at www.juliegarwood.com

(Photo and biography taken from the Simon & Schuster website: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Julie-Garwood/1075688/biography )

The Interview

Lisarenee: Several years ago you made the switch from historical romances to romantic suspense novels. It seemed like you were not alone in doing so. I noticed several other authors did so as well. What prompted you to do so? Was there some sort of industry shift or did you just wish to try something different to challenge yourself?

Julie: I loved the historical novels, but I had come up with an idea for a book that I really wanted to write. Even though I tried to make it historical, I realized it had to be in a contemporary setting. This story kept gnawing at me, so I finally sat down and wrote it. When HEARTBREAKER came out, the reader response was so positive, the publishers asked for another contemporary romantic suspense novel. Right now I'm committed to writing several more contemporary novels, but I hope to get back to medieval Scotland at some point. I'm always a little homesick for the Highlands.

Lisarenee: I've noticed a lot of your historical romance fans will read your romantic suspense novels and then comment in their reviews that they wished you'd go back to writing historical romances. I get a chuckle from this because they obviously must like your romantic suspense books because I notice time and time again they keep reading them. I can only imagine as an author you need to have thick skin to take the bad reviews, with the good, as well as have a good sense of humor to see past some of it. What makes me curious, however, is what made you decide not to write under a pseudonym? I've seen a lot of authors do that when they switch sub-genres and was wondering if that was something you even considered at the time?

Julie: It never occurred to me to use a pseudonym. Years ago, I wrote a book for an Emily Chase series, but that's the only time I didn't use my real name. People have told me that I have a distinct voice in my work, so if I used another name, they'd probably know who it was anyway. I don't read reviews. I'm not thick-skinned, and reviews, whether they're good or bad, take my mind off my work. I've decided it's best if I don't read them and just focus on doing the best job I can.

Lisarenee: When you first started writing your romantic suspense novels, you used to really give your readers a look into the mindset of the killers. I've heard from other authors that it is sometimes the funnest part to write because it's so challenging and different from what they usually write. Is that true for you as well?

Julie: Getting inside the mind of a killer is fascinating. It can be challenging for a writer, but it's also fun because you can go to the extreme. When I started writing contemporary novels, I focused more on the suspense and wanted the reader to know what the villain was thinking. I've lightened up some since then. There are enough sick things happening in the world. I'll still write stories with a mystery or an element of suspense, but I want to concentrate more on the humor and the romance.

Lisarenee:  In Sweet Talk, one of your characters is suspected of running a Ponzi scheme. I suspect this part of the story was inspired by the Berni Madoff scandal that was so highly publicized and talked about?

Is there anything else that inspired this story?

Julie: It was actually a whole array of financial schemes that inspired this story. We'd heard so much about the problems caused by the mortgage crisis and out-of-control financial institutions and companies like Enron, I decided to write a book that characterized the greed and showed the effects it had on innocent victims.

Lisarenee: Sweet Talk begins with 4 girls all being part of a test trial for some sort of experimental drug treatment of an illness that is thought to be incurable. Is Sweet Talk the first in a series?

Julie: Not right now. I loved these girls, and I think they each would make a terrific story, but they'll have to wait. I have several other projects to work on first.

Lisarenee:  Besides a steamy chemistry between the main characters, what do you feel are some of the most important elements to crafting a good romance novel?

Julie: Of course the hero and heroine have to have a sexual attraction. And it's important for the reader to feel that emotional tie and to empathize with them, so I give them certain traits that make them people I would like to know. For example: they must have a sense of humor, and they must be loyal.

Lisarenee:  There seems to be a trend lately in books to make the heroines more real by making them less perfect. Some accuse your romances of containing heroines that are a little too perfect. I personally like both the flawed heroine and the fantasy perfect heroine. Each brings something different to a story. Sometimes I can connect with the heroine more when she's flawed while other times it's nice to know no matter how perfect they may appear on the outside, they still have some of the same issues as the rest of us. What are some of the characteristics you feel make for the best heroines? What are your thoughts on your heroines being too perfect?

Julie: I've tried to create heroines who have qualities that I admire, but I've never thought of them as perfect. They all are flawed in one way or another. In SWEET TALK, for example, Olivia is insecure and has issues from feeling abandoned as a child. She also has a bit of a temper and loses her cool on occasion. Love is blind, however, so the hero might know these weaknesses are there, but he chooses to see past them.

Lisarenee: Are you presently working on any new books and, if so, is there anything you can share with us about it?

Julie: I'm working on two trilogies. The first is about three sisters and the second is about three brothers.

In the story I'm currently writing, the heroine is a food critic, so she has strong opinions, and the hero is a bit of a nerd. Thus far, they've been a lot of fun.


Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. For those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure, Sweet Talk is out in stores today. 

Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood
To read my 5 rose review of Sweet Talk Click Here.

Book Synopsis:
Attorney and IRS agent Olivia Mackenzie is the kind of tough, wise-cracking, powerful woman fans expect from a Garwood protagonist—but this time she has outdone herself. Olivia is not just any woman, she is every woman; flawed in the familiar ways so many of us are.

On the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naïve and unsuspecting victims, Olivia suddenly finds her own life is in danger after she asks questions of the wrong people. She is accustomed to fighting for the underdog, but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when enough is enough, Olivia calls for reinforcements.

When she meets FBI Agent Grayson Kincaid there is an immediate and obvious attraction, palpable on both sides. Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.

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