Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Romance author Julie Garwood. With more than 35 million books in print and 27 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 and powerful emotions. Readers claim that it’s the humor as well as the poignancy of her novels that keep them laughing, crying and thoroughly entertained.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Ms. Garwood attributes much of her success to growing up in a large family of Irish heritage. “The Irish are great storytellers who relish getting all the details and nuances of every situation. Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life I learned that self-expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick,” says Ms. Garwood.
Ms. Garwood began her writing career when the youngest of her three children entered school. After the publications of two young adult books, she turned her talents to historical fiction. Her first novel, Gentle Warrior, was published by Pocket Books in 1985. Today her name appears regularly on the bestseller lists of every major publication in the country, and her books are translated into dozens of languages around the world. Her bestselling novel For the Roses was adapted for the Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie Rose Hill.
Ms. Garwood lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is currently working on her next novel.
We asked Julie where people can find her work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)
My books are in most bookstores and online. They’re also available as audio books, and they have been translated into dozens of languages around the world.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Wired?
I began my career writing historical romance, but in the last several years I’ve been writing contemporary romantic suspense novels. I’ve loved both. Though they’re different genres, you’ll find similar subjects in my stories. I like to create plots where characters face a problem or a bad situation that they have to overcome through their own wit and determination. My themes are pretty consistent: family bonds, loyalty, love. I also try to add in a good dash of humor. In Wired, the same themes are there, but there’s a twist in the family connections. The heroine’s parents are deceased, and the aunt and uncle who raised her are pretty despicable people. Nevertheless, she does her best to be a good and loyal niece. In the end, she learns that loyalty has to be earned.
What was the inspiration for Wired? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
On the news there had been several accounts of hackers and computer theft, and I thought the idea of computer crime would make a good jumping off point for a book. Most of my stories begin with one scene that plays out in my mind. In the case of Wired, I saw a young woman sitting in a coffee shop working on her laptop when a television newscast catches her attention. The reporter tells of a group of elderly people who have been robbed of their savings by a computer hacker. The young woman is outraged for the victims, and since she knows she has the skill to help, she decides to take action.
From that single scene characters began to take shape and the story unfolded. I had to find out who she was, what challenges she was facing, and of course, who she would meet along the way that would win her heart.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
By far, I think the biggest draw to any category of romance novels is the happy ending. Anywhere you look today, you can find bad news. When I write my books, I can create my own reality where the good guy wins and the bad guy gets what’s coming to him.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
When aspiring writers ask me for advice, I tell them three things. First, write what you enjoy and have fun with it. If you’re not loving the process, it will show. Second, let your voice come through. Readers will take the journey with you if they can hear you telling them the story. Third, set aside some time each and every day to write. It takes discipline to finish a book, and routine will help with that. When I began, my children were young, and the only quiet time I had was early in the morning before they got up. That was my writing time.
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
I live in the Midwest, but since I love Boston, I made it the setting for Wired. It’s also the setting for the book I’m working on now. The title is Grace Under Fire, and I hope to have it out in a few months.
Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to be with us today, Julie! Perhaps if you come to Boston you can drop by our store – We’re about an hour away!