Tell me a little about yourself. What got you started in writing?
In the 4th grade my teacher, Mrs. Bettesworth, ran a Halloween writing contest. I don’t even remember “the prize,” just that I wanted to win. The plot of my story, scrawled in blue ink on wide-lined paper, was a ripped off mishmash of the classic Frankenstein and Wolfman movies I loved to watch on Saturday afternoons. The experience was enough to get me hooked, so that by 7th grade when another teacher, Mrs. Roberts, asked me to participate in a state-sponsored program of academic contests that included a writing event, I was primed and ready to go.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
Unlike many writers, I don’t have any particular scheduled writing time. Sometimes I do best in the early morning, but I often write off and on all day and into the evening. Since I work from home and answer only to my two cats, all of that is much easier to manage. I work with a partner, so we have joint work time each day, which is usually sometime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?
I keep my iMac on a rolling table that I bring around to the front of my easy chair. I live in very small quarters, so everything does double duty. First drafts tend to happen on my MacBook Air or more recently my iPad since I finally found a keyboard case I enjoy. I prefer to polish and format on a larger screen.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
The best moments in writing for me are when I hit the flow state. I have no idea where the words are coming from, but they are there. The worst moments are when that isn’t happening and I don’t know how to get it started.
How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
My writing partner, Patricia Pauletti, and I collaborate on story concepts. She came up with the concept for our first book, Langston’s Daughters. I was at her home at the time. I sat down with my laptop and typed out the first scene, which ends with Mandy’s assertion that while her father might kill himself, he “wouldn’t ruin a good hat doing it.” Everything fell into place from there for us both and we haven’t slowed down on The Lockwood Legacy books since.
Our fastest book to date happened in 10 days, that was Irene’s Gift, and our slowest was Jenny’s Choice, which took a month.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
We’ve tried blog tours and paid promotions through various companies that send newsletters to subscribed lists. Of the two, the latter has worked better for us. We also use social media, which is a lot of fun, and we have our own email list. Interested readers can subscribe via the website www.julietteharper.com.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
We’ve just brought out boxed set collections of the the first six Lockwood books as well as a sampler “best of” set. Right now, we’re working on a new storyline with a light, paranormal twist that brings the worlds of a modern theatre and Hollywood’s Golden Age clashing head on.
|Get the set at Amazon!|
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
We have put our Selby Jensen mystery series on the back burner for several months because the second book is going to be based on a true unsolved crime that occurred in Room 636 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas in the 1960s. We’ve spent hours learning about the murder and integrating the events into our character’s world. Some of the details are so creepy, I can’t do the research at night or I can’t sleep.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Simple. You have the talent. Get yourself in a chair and your hands on a keyboard (or wrapped around a pen) and write. Dictate if you have to. Self-publish and start writing again. I remember every awful, catty thing a reviewer ever said about me -- and often those are not kind memories -- but I learned from every mistake and became a better writer for it. If you don’t put yourself out there and make those mistakes, you will never find the real truth of your talent.
Do you find that you have an absolute burning need to write? I get asked that question over and over and have to say that honestly, it’s not like that for me. I have gone long periods of my life without writing, but I realize now that when I am writing, I’m a “better” version of myself. Maybe I do have that “need” and I’m just not identifying it correctly. I’m always curious how other writers feel about that question.
Good question. No, I don't always have "an absolute burning need to write" but I can tell you what I'm like when I haven't written for a few days - irritable, moody, crabby, depressed ...
I know that I need to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard daily in order to keep my head above water.
Thank you, Rana!
Learn more about Rana;