Author Interview: Romance Writer Juliet Madison Talks About Creativity and Her Writing Process

This week’s guest in the Writer Wednesday series (even though it’s Thursday!) is Romance writer Juliet Madison.

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Juliet’s latest release Fast Forward recently hit the digital shelves. It’s a romantic comedy with a twist:

Aspiring supermodel, Kelli Crawford seems destined to marry her hotshot boyfriend, but on her twenty-fifth birthday she wakes in the future as a fifty-year-old suburban housewife married to the now middle-aged high school nerd.

Trapped in the opposite life of the one she wanted, Kelli is forced to re-evaluate her life and discover what is really important to her. Will she overcome the hilarious and heartbreaking challenges presented to her and get back to the body of her younger self? Or will she be stuck in the nightmare of hot flushes, demanding children, raunchy advances from her husband and hideous support underwear forever?

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Fast Forward sounds like a lot of fun and I look forward to reading it. You can find out where to buy it below.

Thanks for being my guest on Flying Pony Juliet.

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  1. What activities (other than writing) get your creative juices flowing?

I find movement good for creativity, whether it be walking in nature or just around the house. Some of my best ideas come this way. Also taking time out to rest and relax and let the mind wander often results in a surge of creativity (that’s if I don’t drift off to sleep!). I’m also a very visual person and have an art background, so looking at inspiring pictures helps me feel creative (Pinterest is great for this!).

  1. What sort of writing routine do you have – disciplined or undisciplined, regular or erratic, focused or easily distracted?

It changes regularly. I’ll set a new routine and then I’ll get out of the habit of following it and I’ll try something new. Overall, it depends what I’m working on. If I have to get something done in a fairly short time frame I can be very disciplined. In fact, I think I thrive under a bit of pressure. When I don’t have that deadline or goal, I get distracted easily and end up writing spontaneously, whenever I feel the urge. Most of the time, I try to write every day, or at least five out of seven days. This isn’t all day, I don’t have that luxury as I have to work around other responsibilities, so I try to take every opportunity I can.

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if so what do you do about it?

I’ve been writing for three and a half years and I’ve never suffered from writers block. Quite the opposite… I find my mind gets overloaded with ideas and I have trouble getting them all down fast enough! Occasionally the words come slowly, but I find if I try to imagine the scene in my mind like a movie, I can soon get back into the rhythm. If I can’t imagine it easily, it often means the scene is not worth writing and I need to think up something else.

  1. Which aspects of the writing life do you most love?

I love the thrill of creating something from nothing. Coming up with a story, characters, a setting, and making it seem real. Story creation and the writing process is my favourite part. I also love interacting with readers and authors, it’s fun and provides a much needed social side to what is usually a solitary type of work.

  1. Which  aspects do you least love (or detest!)?

The fact that I can’t get the story out of my head in one day!

  1. What  books and writers have most influenced your own writing?

All good books inspire me, but when I was starting to seriously consider writing my own book, I was reading Sophie Kinsella and Monica McInerny at the time, so I guess they helped me with the desire to get started. I wanted to create books with both humour like in Sophie’s, and heart like in Monica’s. I now call my work ‘humorous and heartwarming fiction’.

  1. Can  you describe for us your writing process, from getting the original idea to completed manuscript?

My process is being refined with each book, but what I do now is start with the basic premise and title (in most cases, title comes first for me), and I usually write a little blurb so I can sum up what the book is about. I make it clear in my mind how the book is going to end, and then I start planning it and writing it. I often start by writing the first scene without having plotted much, and once that is down and I have a feel for the story, I’ll write an outline, usually in bullet points with a list of main plot events. I don’t plan out the chapters, because I find that when I’m writing I’ll naturally find the best place to end a chapter (always trying to end them on a hook), so I work in scenes instead.

Before each writing session, whether I have twenty minutes or two hours, I jot down a brief list of what’s going to happen in the scene I’m up to, sometimes on a post-it-note (using my outline as a guide), and stick it where I can see it while writing. Then it’s just a matter of getting from A to B to C to D and so on, filling in the gaps.

Once a chapter is complete, I’ll do a quick read-through and fix up any basic errors or change a few words, and then move onto writing the next bit. I usually send of a few chapters at a time to my critique partner and then make additional changes after that.

Once the book is complete, I’ll edit some more until I feel it’s ready!

  1. Describe  your path to publication.

I’ll give you the brief version! 😉

I started writing seriously in late 2009, working on a contemporary women’s fiction manuscript which I finished a year later. I then got to work on another manuscript, still women’s fiction but with more of a contemporary romance bent, and after that, I wrote my romantic comedy, Fast Forward.

I sent Fast Forward to many agents and a few publishers, and received about twenty rejections, until I submitted it to Harlequin Australia’s new digital imprint, Escape Publishing. Within a few weeks I had an offer of publication, and was thrilled! It was almost exactly three years to the day, from when I started my first book, to when I received my first offer of publication. And now they’ve bought another of my novels; a small town romantic women’s fiction called The January Wish which releases December 2013.

You can read the full details of my ‘Call Story’ on my blog: http://julietmadison.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/my-call-story/

  1. What  advice would you give to writers who are working towards publication?

If you love writing and it’s your dream to be a published author, never give up. Keep learning about the writing craft, keep writing stories, polish your manuscripts, and keep a look out for new opportunities. Research various agents and/or publishers and compile a list of those that would suit your book. When you feel your manuscript is ready (and if you’re not sure, ask for some outside feedback), start submitting. Editors and agents are very busy and it can take a while to hear back, so put your best work out there, then while you’re waiting, get to work on something else.

Going to writers conferences is also very valuable and there are usually opportunities to pitch directly to editors, so take advantage of this. Twitter also has many opportunities to get your work looked at – pitching competitions, editor/agent chats…etc. Start exploring, follow those in the publishing industry, and keep an eye out!

Most of all, believe you can do it. Every bestselling author was once an aspiring writer, just like you.

Buy FAST FORWARD via…

Escape Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes/iBookstore, Kobo, Google Play, B&N/Nook.

Connect with Juliet online:

Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter.

7 Comments

  1. Fabulous answers and advice Juliet and so can’t wait for The January Wish!!

    Reply
  2. Thanks Alissa! I can’t wait either 😉

    And thanks Pamela for having me on the blog today!

    Reply
  3. Juliet, I’ve just started using that technique of writing down what the scene is going to be about before I write it and it was made such a difference. (Did you get the idea from the Rachel Aaron book? I think I heard about that book from you.)

    It would be nice to be able to get the book out in one day, wouldn’t it?!

    Great interview Pamela – I’m off to check out the rest of your site 🙂

    Reply
    • Glad you liked it Kerrie. Good luck with the writing!

      Reply
    • I did hear about it from that book (2k-10k), but I was kind of doing it before then anyway. The book just gave me a bit more motivation to be consistent with it, now that I know how useful it can be. I now feel totally lost without a list of plot points next to me!
      Ah, a book in a day – how cool! 😉

      Reply
  4. I’m intrigued! What’s the name of the Rachel Aaron book?

    Reply
  5. Pamela, it’s called 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love – http://www.amazon.com/2k-10k-Writing-Faster-ebook/dp/B009NKXAWS. I’ve only implemented that one tip so far but that has been extremely useful to me. I’ll add in some more ideas once I’ve got that one more established.

    Reply

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