Julie is an online friend in American Christian Fiction Writers. I hope I get to meet her at the national conference in September. I just love the title of her book - Chocolate Beach, and the cover is awesome, as you'll see later in the post.
I’m a beach lover married to a lawyer, so some people assumed my first book was autobiographical. Ha! That was before they actually read it, that is! Seriously, I’ve found that sometimes I start with things I know—like marriage to a busy attorney—but then veer wildly away from myself. I also write about characters who fascinate me, yet are nothing like me. Like Bri’s boss, Ty, in Chocolate Beach. That man thinks in buzzwords, often to the exclusion of sense. He made me both laugh and cringe.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
You mean I have to pick just one? Okay, let’s see. I had to have brain surgery in my early 20s, and I talked the orderly into shaving off just half of my head of hair. He argued, but I won. A couple of weeks later, I had the remaining side permed and colored by my hairdresser (she did this after hours so as not to scare away her clientele!) I often wore my hats cock-eyed after that to cover the hair-less part and to show off the new do on what was left. I thought I looked so chic. :-)
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Second grade! Seriously. I became a voracious reader about that time, and knew I wanted to write. My late grandfather was an entertainment reporter and playwright, my father writes on the golden age of film, and my mother has also been published multiple times. So I guess it’s in the blood.
Sounds like a legacy to me. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I got hooked on Chick-lit about five years ago, and read them often. I also enjoy other types of contemporary women’s fiction, and I try to swallow at least two literary novels a year—just to feel ‘smaht’.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I wrote two novels that didn’t sell, both romance. However, one of them opened the door to the sale of Chocolate Beach. Charlene Patterson, my acquisition’s editor at BHP, was kind enough to read one of those novel submissions and then give me feedback on it—even though her house did not pick it up. When I felt I had a winning idea with Chocolate Beach, I sent it to Charlene and there you go!
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Actually, I’m often overwhelmed, so I pray a lot—and that brings me a supernatural kind of peace. I’m committed to attending regular Bible studies too, because they help me stay focused on what God thinks about my busy life! I also jog on the beach and drink tons of coffee.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Meanings are as important to me as the sound of it rolling off my tongue. I have a dog-eared copy of a baby names book that I use. I also visit various baby name websites. Once I find a name that sounds good to me, I check its meaning. This actually takes a big chunk of time, but to me it’s worth it because these characters and I spend a long while together, and hopefully readers will as well.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That by the grace of God I’m learning to love people, quirks and all. Not perfect, mind you, but learning.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A dolphin because they love to frolic in the sea—and they scare away the sharks!
What is your favorite food?
Um, that would be double chocolate fudge brownies. Tell me you’re not surprised.
Of course, I'm not. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Finishing what I started. I often became (and sometimes still do become) hijacked by fears of rejection, fears that what I’m writing makes no sense at all and isn’t the least bit interesting. I’m in awe of those writers who’ve stayed the course, even though they have yet to find a home for their manuscripts. Knowing that other writers are out there giving it their all inspires me to do the same.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
With Chocolate Beach, I was able to write about two of my favorite things. Well, three actually: chocolate, the beach, and a God-led life. Heroine, Bri Stone, loves her life as a laid-back "beach girl" with an older distinguished husband, a surf-ridin' teenage son, and a kicky job as a Southern California tour bus host. But her rose-colored sunglasses crack when she discovers evidence that her husband is tired of her carefree ways. The question is, can Bri reinvent herself—and recapture her husband’s heart?
As a Christian, I know there’s hope. There’s always hope. So while my novel is about missed cues, self-absorption and unintended consequences, it’s ultimately a story of grace—wrapped in a (hopefully) entertaining and delicious package.
Thank you so much Lena for inviting me to visit your blog! If you or your readers would like to know more, please stop by my website: www.juliecarobini.com or send me a hello via email to Julie@juliecarobini.com .
And thank you, Julie for spending time with us.
Readers, be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Chocolate Beach. You'll be glad you did if your name is chosen.
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