Thursday, November 3, 2011

We're Thankful for Readers

November is the month for Thanksgiving. Here on the Craftie site, we're especially thankful for readers. So, let's celebrate one.

Welcome, Julie! Tell us a little about yourself.

Let’s just say I am an early bird eclectic. I got married at 19 to my own personal hero and had my children early too. I have a microbiology degree from NC State and later went back to school to earn my Masters from Duke University’s Divinity School. This is a problem during ACC basketball season. I have worked in a laboratory, run a Vacation Bible School for five hundred children, consulted on a website for senior citizens and their caregivers, pastored a church building a sanctuary, and worked for a cancer focused non-profit. I once said, “if I don’t do anything after 40, I will still have had a full life.”

These days I am a card and paper artist, volunteer for an organization rearranging cast-off flowers and makes new arrangements for those in need, and am a very young “Grandma Juju.” I love my life and all the time I have to read, write, and create.

How did you discover Love Inspired Romance and how long have you been reading them?

Seven years ago, my mother died unexpectedly. It was life changing event in ways both big and small. I decided I needed to read for entertainment more but picked up a couple of books with surprise unhappy endings. [Spoiler Alert: I could show you the wall dents from when I threw Cold Mountain and My Sister’s Keeper across the room.] So I decided to try romance books because I heard they came with guaranteed HEAs!

I credit Linda Goodnight and Victoria Bylin for getting me reading inspirational romance. When I began glomming romance, I found myself drawn to contemporaries and historical westerns. I read everything Linda and Vicki had written. Then I noticed they also wrote for Love Inspired. Truthfully, I was leery about inspirational romance. How could someone combine stories about faith and love? Would they be sappy, too simplistic, too “religious” or not enough? But I was thrilled! What a wonderful discovery Love Inspired and its community of authors have been for me. Of course, I may be one of the only folks who writes to an LI author saying how “theologically sound” I find their books - in addition to being wonderful love stories.

What is your favorite Love Inspired Romance? Why?

Nope, not going to answer that one. Don’t ask me which child is my favorite either! I read more contemporary and historical than suspense. I have my favorite authors but specifically buy the new authors as they debut. I believe it is a calling to support and encourage inspirational authors in all the sub-genres out there.

What are you reading today?

Just finished Pamela Nissen’s Rocky Mountain Homecoming and Renee Ryan’s Courting the Enemy. Now I am enjoying Pamela Tracy’s Once Upon A Cowboy. (Disclaimer: I was reading Pamela’s book before she asked me to do this interview.) I don’t read a lot of the suspense LI books but I may have to glom her mysteries now.

Do you write, also? If so, tell us what you’re working on?

I have been a writer since I was little. In addition to sermons, I used to write devotionals and essays for a national publishing house. I have always written from “the other point of view.” These days, my writing friends are encouraging me to explore fiction. I am fleshing out some stories including an idea about a woman who finds herself fingered as a former “other woman,” affecting her new faith and relationship with a possible love interest. My friends have said if anyone could make folks see her side of the story, it would be me. We will see.

Besides the Craftie Ladies, tell us two or three other Blogs you like to visit and why.

I visit for their writing tips and encouragement of newbie writers. I love for their always interesting background on the Old West. Don’t get me started on all the wedding blogs I am reading getting ready for my daughter’s wedding in October.

What are you three favorite books of all time (I know, hard to narrow it down). Tell us, what spiraled them to the top of your list? What did the author do that won you over?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott taught me about the writer’s longing to write but I wonder if it was really my “first” romance book. The young loves and adventures of the sisters were described with great detail and written with warmth, humor and pathos.

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer introduced me to characters that were not glamorous but tugged at my heart. The Depression and WWII setting was so vividly described. Authors who are painstaking about details are put on my auto-buy list.

I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens each year on my birthday in December. A tale of redemption, lost love, found hope, and a carefully entertaining commentary on the state of society at the time.

Anything else you'd like to add?

If any of the Love Inspired authors have ever wondered if they “make a difference,” they do! I can’t tell you the number of times I have picked up a Love Inspired book and the scripture verse, story line or something a character says jumps out at me, lifting me up and encouraging me. Thank you all.


  1. Hi Julie good to see you here. I too love the LI books. and I agree about picking favourites.

  2. Julie,
    It's great to have you here! Thanks so much for being part of the Craftie Ladies of Romance.

  3. Julie, I'm with you about Cold Mountain. That story didn't have to end the way it did. It would have been a better book to me. The story was good until the end.

  4. What a great interview, Julie! I never underestimate the healing power of a happy ending ;)

  5. As a reader, I appreciate great Christian novels! Without you, I wouldn't be much of a reader. THANK YOU!

    HEAs are ok with me, but that makes the story predictable. In real life we don't always have HEAs. So I like books that now and then don't have them.

    Linda Wagner

  6. Hi Julie! I recognize you from other blogs. :) Thanks for being here today and for being such a staunch supporter of Love Inspired!

  7. Hi Julie, it's great to see you on here!! Wow you've sure done a lot :) I love HEAs too! There a must :)

  8. Julie! It's so fun to see your smiling face over here. Welcome!

  9. What a wonderful interview!! Julie, we appreciate you so much.

    And by the way, since you may have trouble deciding, I'll just go ahead and tell you to cheer for Duke. ;)

    Also, I'm a huge Lavyrle Spencer fan as well!

  10. Oh wow, do the LI authors make a their books! And sometimes the scripture in front of book is just the right one for me. I've read Merrillee, Missy, Allie, Leann, Lenora, Sandra, Margaret, and Carol...and want to read more and more!

  11. So glad to have you here Julie.
    We appreciate all the readers and knowing that what we write has meaning beyond just getting the words out of our heads. LOL

  12. Great interview, Julie! It's so nice to get to know new people! That's the best [art of these blogs. I love the LI books too. It's a great time to be a reader! So many fantastic writers to choose from! Sometimes that's a problem though because that TBR pile gets mighty large!

  13. Hi Julie - sorry I'm so late posting, it's been a VERY busy day. But I had to pop in and say how much I enjoyed your interview. It was so fun getting to know a bit about you.

  14. Thanks for sharing yourself with us Julie. It's always nice to know a bit about our readers. :) I prefer HEA's as well in books and movies, which is probably why I write romance, but every once in a while I stray. I actually enjoyed My Sister's Keeper--I watched it to do some research on my latest book--but I also knew about the ending and was okay with it. One I hated and wished I could get my time back was Tess. (too early to try and figure out how to spell the rest of the French name) Thanks again for stopping by.

  15. Hi Julie, I'm a day late posting but wanted to say how much your support as a reader means to me. You are a wonderful blessing and I really enjoyed getting to know your brilliant self better!

    PS After following those characters through enormous angst to get the payoff, I felt completely cheated by the author of Cold Mountain! Like Gone with the Wind, I've rewritten that ending a few times. lol

  16. Julie, loved your post! You have certainly inspired many, many people, and I wish you many blessings on your current writing journey. Thank you for stopping by and sharing. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I too often forget that our stories can touch hearts and lives...though of course that's all the Spirit's doing!

  17. Julie, we always enjoy hearing your comments. Keep them comin'!

  18. Julie! You're such a doll--and such an encouragement to me that it is wonderful to see you featured here.


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