Julie L. Spencer is a bestselling romance author of over twenty-two gritty clean books with snarky, flawed characters, and romantic twists and turns. A scientist by day and moonlighting as an author, Julie is an indoor girl with very little desire to step away from her computer. She loves her books and her characters almost as much as she loves her kitten.
Why did you decide to write your books? My imaginary friends won’t shut up until I write down their stories!
• What was the most difficult thing about writing your books? Wanting desperately for readers to like my stories.
• What other authors have influenced your writing style? Stephenie Meyer
• Do you have any unusual writing habits? I constantly edit as I write a book. I’ve heard other authors say you shouldn’t do that but in the process between my own editing and proofreading plus my professional editor, I rarely let a typo past. I also write more than one book at a time and I’ve heard you shouldn’t do that either. It works for me. I’ve published over thirty books.
• What advice would you give for someone who also wants to write a book? Write as much as you possibly can.
• What is your advice for getting published? Publish independently and don’t let anyone tell you one way is better than another. Whatever process works for you and gets your book in the hands of readers is the correct way to publish.
• How long did it take for you to write your books? Most books I write in just a few weeks. The Sayid Royal Family Saga took me over a year but it’s five books and I also wrote and published three other books during that time period. I’m a very fast writer.
• What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? All day, every day, as much as I can fit into my day.
• Where do you get your inspiration? My religious convictions to maintaining the laws of chastity and healthy living such as avoiding drugs and alcohol.
• Is there someone in your life who serves as your muse? Can I choose more than one person? Probably Lisa Rector, Lara Wynter, and Shannon Symonds. Also, my favorite rock bands: Guns ‘N Roses, 5 Seconds of Summer, and the boy band One Direction.
• How do you get your creative writing juices flowing? I have an instrumentals playlist that I’ve been listening to for so long that just putting on my headphones triggers my brain to start writing.
• Have you ever experienced writer’s block and what do you do to overcome it? Kind of. I go through phases in my life where I’m either writing or not-writing. When I’m writing, I’m writing all day every day, even when I’m away from my computer I’m still writing in my head. If I’m struggling, I’ll reread what I’ve written recently and try to get the words to flow from the end of the last section. If that doesn’t work, I go watch a funny half-hour sitcom, laugh hard and with abandon and then come back to the computer.
• Describe your desk where you write. I have an ergonomic external keyboard with keys so warn off that someone who didn’t know how to type wouldn’t be able to find the correct keys. I have a very comfortable chair, my monitor is propped up to be at eye level, really good lighting, an L-shaped design with lots of places to put stuff like reference books.
• Do you base your fictional characters on real people you know? Sometimes, probably a lot more than I realize. The people in our lives affect us and change us whether we know it or not. They will inevitably pop up into our stories.
• What is the best advice you have ever heard? Get better covers for your books! People really do judge a book by its cover. My first published book was called The Cove and I had found a beautiful photograph of the lake where I grew up with a pretty sunset. The book is not about the lake and the sunset. It’s a love story between the two main characters. It’s a romance novel. Once I had a professional cover designed, the book started selling. Also, research names of books and carefully select a title that conveys the genre. My Buxton Peak / Rock Star Redemption Series is a perfect example. If you saw the name Buxton Peak on the cover would you have any idea what that book was about? But if you saw Billionaire Rock Star: Rock Star Redemption Series, would you know what that book was about? No one is going to search for the combination of the words “Buxton” and “Peak” unless they needed nonfiction reference material about the city of Buxton in Derbyshire, England, which is surrounded by the Peak District National Forest. But… people actually do search for Rock Star books and billionaire books. My sales skyrocketed when I changed the name.
• What are you reading now? The Sayid Royal Family Saga
• What is your favorite book of all time and why? I have read the Twilight series well over twenty times. I don’t know why. Twilight changed my life. I hadn’t written fiction in almost twenty years and when I ran out of Twilight books, I started writing fiction again. I write the stories I wish I could pick up off the bookshelf and read.
• What does your family think about your writing? They humor me but they’re honestly not that supportive. Very few of my family members read my stories. Oddly my father is my most diligent reader. He’s even written reviews on Amazon with pretty detailed reasons why he liked or disliked things in the books.
• Do you prefer writing in silence or while listening to music? I prefer quiet but I’m often forced to listen to music in order to drown out the noises coming from the television and conversations around me.
• If you could live anywhere in the world for one year just to write, where would you go? This may sound weird, but I’d like to stay home with no distractions. I love my husband and children but sometimes I just want quiet with no interruptions. I don’t like to travel. I like my own bed, my own food, my own computer workstation, my cat and my dog. My kids are all grown up, but I’d really prefer to keep my husband around for my year of uninterrupted writing. I would just like the television to be far from my desk and computer, so I don’t need headphones when I’m writing.
• Do you have a favorite font to write in? Times New Roman, 14 point.
• What is your favorite genre to read? Probably clean rock star romance.
• How do you decide on your book covers? I hire cover designers who are experts. I know my limitations. Together we evaluate the covers in my genres, see what other covers look like, and design our covers based on what other successful authors are doing.
• What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books? The characters have a mind of their own. They take me on twists and turns I never knew were coming. Just when I think I know where the plot is going, I find another plot twist.
• How do you select names for your fictional characters? Sometimes I look through social media friends. Often when I’m watching television, football games in particular, names will pop up and I’ll write them down in my character bible for later when I need a name. Many times, I’ll research names based on where the character originates. The characters in my Sayid Family Saga in particular originate from the Middle East, Mexico, and Guatemala.
• If you’ve written more than one book, which one is your favorite and why? At one time I probably would have said the Buxton Peak/Rock Star Redemption series, but I think Combustion may have bypassed my rock stars. The story is too real to be fiction. Every teenager should read Combustion. Every parent, every teacher, every nurse, police officer, doctor, victim’s advocate, coach, or anyone who loves a teenager, should read Combustion.
• What do you think makes a great story? If the story keeps readers turning pages. If a story makes someone cry, laugh, and/or stay up half the night, you know you’ve created a great story.
• Have you ever been able to meet your readers? All the time. I have many friends who are my readers, plus when I’ve gone to writers’ conferences, I’ve been able to meet people who are my readers.
• If you get fan mail, what was one of your best responses from a fan? This wasn’t mail, but the neatest compliment was when I was sitting in the stands at a football game and a well-known teacher from my child’s school waved to me from several rows over and called out to me, “Julie, oh my gosh! I finished your novel, The Cove and I LOVED IT!” I was able to smile and wave and say, “Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.” Many people in the stands heard that exchange and it made me feel really good.
• What do you wish readers understood about book reviews? I wish readers understood that these characters are like family to us as the author. We created those characters. We also created the storyline. We spent hundreds of hours creating those stories. If you don’t like our stories, that’s your opinion. Remind yourself before you post that review: would you want someone to look you in the eye and say, “Your baby is ugly, and you need to go back to school to learn how to be parent.” Because that’s essentially what you’re saying to an author when you say, “I hate your characters and you need to go back to school and learn to write.” You can be honest about what you like and dislike without being hurtful.
What are you currently working on? I’m just finishing publication of my Sayid Royal Family Saga, a five-book story with a cool twist. I’m also working on a spin-off story from that series called Honorary Prince, and I just finished writing the eighth book in my All’s Fair in Love and Sports Series, called Matching You with Love, which I co-wrote with Audi Lynn Anderson. It’s about a tennis player who’s trying to match up her friends with the cute guy next door when what she really should be doing is admitting she has feelings for him. Cute story.
Julie’s Website: Author Julie L. Spencer
Enter a giveaway by clicking on this StoryOrigin link where you can download a free copy of a novella that won’t be released to the general public until summer of 2021. With the free download, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for one of seven signed paperback copies of the first book in the series, Billionaire Crown Prince.