First off, let’s start with wishing Julie Olsen a happy birthday! Next, let me just say I had a lot of fun copyediting her novel Full Disclosure. Sure, converting an entire book from present to past tense tests any editor’s sanity. However, the task is much more bearable when the story has so much going for it. I hope you’ll feel the same after reading this interview.
Official Bio: I haven’t done it all, but sometimes it feels as if I have. Born in Arkansas, raised in Kansas, educated in Iowa, and currently residing in Missouri, I’ve been landlocked my whole life and base my stories in the Midwest. I’ve worked in a library, as a newspaper reporter, as a car courier, behind a receptionist’s desk, as a video producer, as a magazine editor, as a payroll manager, as a social media coordinator, as a small business owner, and as an ice cream scooper. The plot of Full Disclosure planted itself in my head during a long bike ride, and once I got home I sketched the outline. I wrote the book just to see if I could, never thinking it would see the light of day. I don’t find myself interesting really, and I’ve labored over this last question for far too long, so let me just say this: I can’t sing worth a hoot, I like to take pictures of my food, and my loves are my kids, sleeping in, music, and Fridays.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
Full Disclosure is the first book in an erotic romance series. Written in first person, it tells the love story of Olivia St. Clair and Damien Stone. Narrated by Olivia, a wary, twenty-something personal trainer who is hit by a car and plucked off the hard streets by the enigmatic Damien Stone, a 30-year-old entrepreneur with off-the-chart sexiness and secrets to hide. Sparks fly from the get-go, but as determined as Olivia is to avoid all things Damien, their mutual attraction just can’t be denied. As their relationship grows, each reveals their vulnerable and innermost truths. Just when you think you know it all, another layer is peeled away, but can their relationship withstand Full Disclosure?
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
I vividly remember this: Raising my hand in fourth grade and answering my teacher’s question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was a bank robber. I remember the revelatory feeling I had in telling her I wanted, in essence, to be a criminal. I also understood, in my child’s mind, why I wanted this. I wanted adventure.
I write to fulfill that want. My characters can be shepherds in a field, scientists in a lab, gunslingers in the Old West. They can be bank robbers on the run. They take me with them on their adventures. It’s a whole lot better this way, and it keeps me out of prison.
3. Writing aside, what passions drive your life?
I have two exceptional kids who are my sun and my moon. I am an athlete and very competitive, and my sports of choice are racquetball (I’m an A-level player) and cycling (I’m that crazy cyclist choking on your exhaust fumes). Sports are my Prozac. I love to cook, abstain all things political, seldom watch TV and never, ever the news. I recently became a coffee junkie, this after a lifetime of comparing the taste of it to what I imagined an old shoe’s flavor to be. I like to watch movies with the subtitles on. What can I say? I love words.
4. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
Like every reader, I have a long list of much loved books, and they jockey for top position in my heart. Having said that, several years ago I read Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. It remains my favorite and honestly, I can’t imagine anything surpassing it. Tiny Beautiful Things grabs you by the tender bits and doesn’t let go. Its truth literally hurts. I am not a crier, but tears streamed down my face as I read it. It’s my go-to for reading aloud to friends, and they bawl as well.
I read novels for a singular reason. I want to leave this world for a while. I want to be immersed in the emotions and senses of the characters on the page. I want to be seduced by words. It’s the seduction of Strayed’s words which did me in.
5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
With a full-time job and a life, I barely have time to write, so at this time readers can follow me on my Facebook and Twitter profiles. I don’t post often, but I try to put up snippets as to my doings. At the very least I post things I find amusing or inspiring.
6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
Stephen King reads four to six hours per day, and that largely sums up my process as well. Most days, my head is a busy place. It takes me some time to drain it of the minutiae of daily life. Reading is how I do this. When I’m in the middle of a book, I need a disciplined approach and write five days a week, bemoaning the two recharge days as wasted (although this is far from the truth). I have a lovely group of betas, though I don’t implement the rip-from-the-printer-and-read-it style, preferring to hand over larger chunks at a time. I consider two thousand words written to be a good day, and I’ll self-edit first thing the next day before moving on in the story.
Once I’d finished Full Disclosure, I self-edited it ten times before handing the whole shebang to my betas. Nowadays I prefer more timely feedback, and they are likely to get several chapters at a time.
7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I self-published. I’m not going to lie, it is very time-consuming, even when hiring out the cover design and formatting, which I did. Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. But if you like control over your artistic endeavors, it’s the route I would advise following, particularly for your first novel. I have learned heaps pertaining to the ways of Amazon, Goodreads, CreateSpace, .mobis and .epubs, book blogs, social media–the list goes on and on. Down the road, who knows? Although I feel comfortable self-publishing my work, I would consider all offers of traditional publishing houses, and I feel much more informed now, having done it all myself already.
8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
Start early. Hit the book blogs with ARCs and don’t be shy when it comes to asking your readers to post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. Spend time researching how other authors have done it, and then emulate them. Just keep plugging away, and eventually you will find your readers. This is a work in progress for me, but I think most of all, listen to those who have gone before you.
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
Full Disclosure is the first book in the No Secrets series, and I knew when I published that I’d have readers clamoring for the second book, so I’m happy to report that Full Confession will be released in time for your summer reading lists. Book 3, tentatively titled Full Circle, is forthcoming, probably with an end-of-year release date. After that, I’ll take a little breather from these characters and play around with a YA fiction idea that’s been floating in my head for a while.
10: Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
Two things. 1. Art imitates Life, or so they say. But Full Disclosure is a work of fiction. It’s not based on my life, or more specifically, my sex life. I do have an imagination, Mom, and I use it in this book.
And 2. Back in the Stone Age, I graduated with a degree in English from the University of Iowa, home of the prestigious Writers’ Workshop. Too chicken and thin-skinned to let anyone read my stuff, I nevertheless set out to become a writer, albeit a timid one, and set a deadline for myself: I would be published by age 25. Well, that didn’t pan out. Haha.
It’s funny how things work out. I’m not spiritual or religious, but you’ve got to hand it to the universe. She knows when you’ve cooked long enough.
You can connect with Julie via Twitter and Facebook.
Is there anything else you’d like to know about Julie Olsen?
Guest Post: Please join me over on Finding our Way now for a post titled The Kitty Catcher.
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2016.
Happy Birthday Julie – have a wonderful day and a fantastic, successful year.
I love your sense of humour and I’m sure that must be reflected in your book.
Jeri, you always seem to surround yourself with the nicest people which makes for the most interesting interviews. None of the stiff stuff.
Thanks for introducing Julie. Much success to both of you.
Thank you Lenie! It’s such an honor to be included on Jeri’s blog. She’s pretty darn good at what she does, in addition to being an all-around nice person herself.
Happy birthday to Julie!
Jeri – what an interesting interview. You always ask questions with which the answer gives you a true picture of the author.
A wannabe writer, I feel encouraged to go for it with both hands. The obstacles along the way only build you up for what is laying ahead.
Thanks Phoenicia! I am sure I’m not alone when I say to you, “Just go for it.” Write when you feel like it and when you don’t. Sometimes it’s the days you’re not feeling it that end up being among your best output days. And yes, those obstacles can be a pain, but don’t give them another thought, Phoenicia. Rise from those ashes and just write. 🙂
Full disclosure can be a pretty dangerous thing. But I guess it’s not quite as risky as robbing banks.
Hehe. I would tend to agree with you, Ken. But tell that to Olivia and Damien and they might just disagree. 😉
This is great, Jeri. It’s interesting to read about other writers and their experience. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading, Sabrina. ?
Great to meet you, Julie. Your book sounds intriguing. I love a good romance. I’m fascinated that you graduated from the renowned university in Iowa. I’m a self pub as well and it really is time consuming as you say. Thanks for the tips in marketing. I could always use some new ideas and inspiration. Thanks, Jeri for another great interview!
Hi Lisa, nice to meet you as well. The marketing, or as I like to call it, the “groveling,” is definitely my least favorite part of beng a writer. If you have any tips, I’m all ears. 🙂
I always like to hear about other writers’ processes. Julie, I’m impressed with your discipline, And the amount of reading you do. And that you start each day editing before moving on. Sometime writers are given advice not to do that and just continue on, leaving editing until all of the draft is done. For me, I find that I can only go on for so long before I need to stop and do some editing – it’s like a desk that has just gotten too messy to work from.
Hi Donna, and thanks for your kind words. I find I can slip more easily into my made-up world if I read over what I wrote the day before. And if I’m reading, I may as well clean up my messes. Good lord, I sound like my mom!
Happy Birthday and congrats on getting Full Disclosure through the ENTIRE process!
Aww, thanks Candy. Seriously, the process never really ends. As soon as I finish one step, two more reveal themselves. This self-pub business is rather like parenthood. They don’t tell you how many diapers you’ll go through, or how you can say goodbye to sleep, etc. But it truly does have its rewards.
Hi Jeri… thanks for this interview. I enjoyed meeting Julie Olsen.
And I liked to learn about her favorite books writing process and editing process.
Something memorable in this interview was the author´s answer to her teacher when she was a kid, telling her that she wanted to become a bank robber… ha ?…
She is right, most of us were used to be `adventures hunters´ as kids, somehow… As adults we tend to sublimate that, however the feeling behind different shapes remains the same, I guess …
All the best to you!, Aquileana 😀
Hi Aquileana. Thanks for your sweet comments. Adulting is just no fun. Oh, to be a kid again. Or a bank robber. ?
Happy birthday Julie, it’s nice to meet you! You may not find yourself interesting, but I sure do after reading this. I’m intrigued by your book and fascinated by your process. Best of luck with the series!
Oh wow, such sweet compliments. Thank you Meredith. I confess I took a look at your Facebook and was duly impressed. Words I can handle, but artistry with color eludes me. Beautiful stuff! Take care.
As a hybrid author who has been traditionally and self-published, I really enjoyed reading Julie’s profile. Thx, Jeri.
Hi Doreen. Thanks for reading and for your comment. I’d love to hear more about your hybridicity (is that a word, Jeri?).
Very enjoyable review and I love the cover of Julie’s book. Sounds like Julie has a busy life going and I personally can relate to the “process” she mentioned because I’m also a voracious reader. Sometimes I even surprise myself how many books I go through in a month, and I’m also big on re-reading books. Thanks for the very enjoyable interview Jeri!
Thanks Marquita. YES! Rereading books is so essential to a writer’s growth. Books are like favorite foods. I go back to them over and over.
Thanks for all the sharing! It helps to hear about another’s journey.
I’d like to respond to your comment on publishing, which is such a rapidly changing industry. I agree that self-publishing is the way to have control over your work. In considering a publisher out there (as opposed to self), I have learned, after the fact, how important it is to be wary. I went with a company that called itself a hybrid. They charged a hefty front-end fee. I had expectations about the work they would do, especially as regards promotion. I discovered that really I needed to do most if not all the work myself. They did not do much and they took a big cut from sales.
With so much self-publishing these days, it must be hard for publishers to survive and thrive. From my own experience and hearing about others’, it seems that getting more and more authors to sign contracts takes precedence over looking after the authors who have already signed contracts.
It’s helpful to speak to and read online what other writers have to say. How wonderful it is when we help each other out!
Hi Ramona! Love your insight. Yes, self-publishing gives me control over my own work, but as I mentioned and as most know, it takes a large chunk of time, hours I could have spent writing. It’s a decision I’ve struggled with but for me, it works (for now). I am sorry you had a bad experience with the hybrid publisher. i’ve been lucky so far, but it takes a lot of vigilence to weed out the shysters, and there are a lot of them in every channel of this business. I’d love to hear more about your experience, or if any others fell prey to shady doings in the sel-pub universe. Take care!
Hi Julie, I actually hired someone to help me with self-publishing–an utter gem, a writer herself who’s come to know the book industry well. If others can find a trustworthy person to help them with their self-publishing, I’d say it is worth it. It can save a massive amount of time, as you’ve mentioned, and headache, at least for me. Thanks for your reply. 🙂
Rock on, girl! That sounds like the perfect set-up. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you find your assistant? Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Happy Belated Birthday, Julie! This was a great interview. Different and down-to-earth. Then again, Midwesterners are quite balanced. 😀 I love the fact that you wanted to be a bank robber. I can only imagine your teacher writing a note for you to bring home to your parents, “I think Julie needs to see a doctor or receive more money from the tooth fairy. I’ll keep the candy till locked until I hear from you.”
Thanks Denise! I remember Miss Stewart casting a wary look in my direction and yes, I bet she wondered about my moral compass. Lucky for me, it was the 70s and people didn’t get too worked up about cray-cray when it presented itself.
Julie, I hope you will be as successful as Anaïs Nin. If so your books will be read generations from now.
Oh my goodness, Caterina! Thank you for your well wishes. What an incredible honor that would be! Take care.
We wouldn’t expect anything less from you, your always a winner in our book!!!
Aww Sandy, thanks for your sweet words. ?
Great interview, Jeri and Julie! I totally know how it is when planned timelines of accomplishments go off course and when imagination isn’t a reflection on reality. 🙂
I know, right? “Coulda … Shoulda … Woulda” will be etched on my tombstone. Take care, Loni.
I had to laugh when Julie said that she got the inspiration for her book on a bike ride. When I had a bike, I really felt that all my inspiration came while pedaling. And it doesn’t work the same on an exercycle. I have to be biking through the real world with real life hazards to get any mental benefit.
I’ll be honest. I don’t’ usually read romance novels. But I found Julie charming and funny in this interview so I might just have to give it a try!
Hi Erica! Thanks for your lovely compliment. 🙂 I find that when the blood is pumping, I am taking in more oxygen, and oxygen is the key to creativity for me. Riding is also time for solitary reflection, as well as a great calorie burner. So it’s a win-win-win.
Sorry to be late to the party, but happy belated birthday Julie! What a blow your mind concept. I can’rt tell you how many conversations I have had about the topic of full disclosure, and if it is really ever truly possible, so the idea of the book is completely appealing to me! I wish you every success! Great interview, Jeri.
Thanks Jacqueline. On the surface, complete and total honesty seems doable. You meet someone, fall in love, and want to share every little thing about yourself, especially every wisp of emotion that passes through you. But I agree, it’s a much harder thing to accomplish than you’d ever imagine, good intentions notwithstanding. Possible? I think so, but the chemistry between the two people has to be in total sync, imho. I guess we will see how the concept of full disclosure plays out with Olivia and Damien. 🙂
I think one of the hardest things for a writer is not to self-edit while you’re writing. I let my writing sit overnight and when I look at it in the morning by some magic the content has sort of edited itself. You see immediately what needs to be fixed. I blog and do business writing but I would never have the discipline to write a book.
Jeannette, I totally agree. The key is to let it percolate for a day or two before editing. Not too long, though, or you’ll be in danger of losing that underlying mojo that is your character’s voice/emotions/logic. At least that’s how it is for me. Thanks for your comment!
Great meeting you here and also loved this interview! I’m not a writer per se, but write a blog and communicate to my readers all the time. I am fascinated by the process you have shared.
When it came to editing you have done it ten times! Wow. Whenever I write a blog or article, I just go on and on. I do come back to it to make sense of it all, then check the grammar because that is one of my biggest flaws.
I enjoyed this so much…thank you,
Hi Donna. Appreciate your comment. I am a perfectionist and thought if I edited enough I would hand off my manuscript to Jeri and she would email back and say, “Hey, there’s nothing I can do here.” Isn’t that hysterical, Jeri? 🙂
Hope your birthday was a happy one, Julie!
I always enjoy reading how other novelists go about their process of writing and editing. I like to write that crappy, crappy first draft the whole way through and then start over. Sometimes reading the mistakes is quite humorous!
Love your caveat to your mom that this is your imagination at work! Best of luck with your book and those to come.
Hi RoseMary and thank you. I must admit I wish I could be more free-flowing and brain-stormish when it comes to my process. Alas, my OCD-tendencies tend to quash those best laid plans. Take care!
Hi Julie, as a former teacher I’m still stuck on that part. Hilarious, you telling your teacher you wanted to be a bank robber. 🙂 she may have expected that out of a boy student. Makes a lot of sense why you write. The same reason people love reading a great book. It must be more fun though to be on the decision making end of where the story will go.
Hi Susan. You might be right and that begs the question, why do boys get to have all the fun? (At least I hope that was my Girl Power thought at age 10.)
What a wonderful interview.
I always enjoy reading about other authors, and their process. It truly helps me look at mine, and develop how I write and edit.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
Thanks William. I agree it’s enlightening to read about other writers’ processes. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall of the Edinburgh coffee shop J.K. Rowling wrote in, all while keeping a mothering eye on her toddler. Talk about distraction! I don’t know how she did it.