Indie Support Sunday: Julia Connors
I love it when authors—new and established—get in touch with me, wanting to know if I’d like to read an ARC of their upcoming release. Earlier this year, while I was prepping for the release of my own debut, Julia Connors got in touch with me to find out if I’d be interested in reading her debut. On The Edge is an alpine sports romance with a second chance and I was instantly hooked.
Julia writes stories with great chemistry, banter and friendships. The second book in this series, Out of Bounds, is available now and just like the first one, it’s fun and explosive.
While she might have dabbled in some women’s fiction and YA, Julia’s found her home in the adult romance genre and we’re so glad to have her!
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
I’ve been writing my entire life. I was a big reader as a kid, and I loved to dream up and write my own stories. I have spiral-bound notebooks full of stories I wrote (and illustrated) as a kid. I then took a hiatus from reading and writing for fun during high school and college. Literally one of the first things I did when I graduated from college was go to the bookstore! I’ve been voraciously reading ever since, and it was my love of reading that inspired me to start writing again as an adult.
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
I didn’t choose the romance life, it chose me! LOL, for real though, I stumbled my way through writing a chick lit (sweet romance) novel, then two YA romance novels. I finally transitioned to writing adult romance when I realized that it was pretty much all I was reading. I can’t help it, I’m a total sucker for a couple working for their happily ever after!
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
Initially I thought I’d go the traditional publishing route, but what it really boiled down to was control. I have a bit of a type-A personality, and I wanted to be able to choose my cover, choose which editors and proofreaders to work with, and determine my own publishing timeline. I also wanted the flexibility to write the stories that were speaking to me, without having the gatekeepers so often found in traditional publishing. I’ve watched many of my friends go the traditional publishing route and so far I’ve never regretted choosing indie publishing.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
It’s all on you. There is no one else you can blame if something doesn’t go right or doesn’t get done. That provides tremendous motivation and there’s tremendous potential, but it also makes the whole publishing process very stressful.
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
Right now I’m writing while also holding down a full-time job. I do love my job (which is such a privilege, I know), but writing full time is the dream!
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
I love spending time outdoors—skiing or snowshoeing in the winter, and paddleboarding in the summer. Not sure I’m exceptionally good at any of those things, but I love them so much it doesn’t matter.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
I’d probably go back to writing YA, or maybe try writing New Adult. I don’t know if YA would be a great fit for me anymore, because I enjoy the steamy scenes too much!
What are some of your all time favorite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, the Washington Wolves series by Karla Sorensen, From Lukov with Love and Kulti by Mariana Zapata, and pretty much anything and everything by Lucy Score.
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Finish the book. Seriously. You can not be an author without actually writing the book, so make the time even if it means you have to give up other things.
Spend time learning about both traditional publishing and indie publishing to really figure out which is the right fit for you.
Write the book that YOU want to write. You are ultimately the face of your books, so make sure you’re proud of what you’re creating.
Make other writer friends. Writing, especially in indie publishing, is really different from any other job – you need people who understand what you’re going through, who can offer advice and support, and who can cheer you on when you need it. And the best part is, you get to be that person for others, too.
Know that indie publishing is a long game. There will be so many times that you want to rush into something, or make a business decision that might be good in the short-term even though it’s not what’s best in the long-term. Remember, you are playing the long-game. Internalize that.
Can you briefly tell me about your book(s)?
My books all have a few things in common: strong female friendships, hot but broken heroes, and the strong, sassy women who love them. This series centers around winter sports (skiing, snowboarding, and hockey).
Of your books, who is your favorite character?
That’s like asking me who my favorite child is! I honestly don’t have a favorite character. I love different things about each of them. But Nate, from On the Edge, will always be my book boyfriend.
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
My first book, On the Edge, was inspired by a YA novel that I wrote a few years ago. That novel was about two characters, Jackson and Nate, who met on their high school ski team and fell in love. Their story stuck with me, and they wouldn’t stop telling me about what happened after their book ended. Eventually, I had to write it all down, and it became my first adult romance novel and my first published book. In that original YA novel, Jackson’s little brother Beau had a massive crush on her best friend Sierra. My second book, Out of Bounds, explores what happens when those two end up sharing an apartment after not seeing each other for nearly a decade.
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
I mean, I wish I was half as cool as my characters. But for real, I think there are elements of myself in every female main character I’ve written. So far Jackson is the most similar to me.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
If I did my job, my readers will feel what my characters are feeling. Overall, though, I hope that my stories bring people hope and happiness, and serve as an escape from an otherwise kind of crazy world!
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
I can’t wait to write the first book in my next series, but I don’t want to say too much. Let’s just say that my heroine has a one night stand on vacation with someone she absolutely should NOT have slept with!
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
I’m currently writing the fourth (and last) book in my current series. However, I keep getting sidetracked with a couple from the third book who really want a Christmas novella, and I just might have to listen to them – so there may be a novella in between the third and fourth book of my series.
What are your most and least favorite tropes?
Absolute favorite, no questions asked: enemies to lovers. When done well, I can’t get enough. I don’t really have a least favorite, but I’ve never really loved bully romance. I just like my heroes a bit sweeter than that, I guess.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I’d love to write another (but more traditional) workplace romance. And enemies to lovers. I can’t get enough of that.
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
One of the things I love most about romance as a genre and as an industry is how empowering it is for women. I’d love to see more of that in books—women who know what they want and go after it. Characters who are less traditional, and happily ever afters that are unexpected, are both so refreshing.
What is your favorite thing about the romance genre?
That no two couples or their HEA look exactly the same. I also adore that we can showcase great relationships and sex-positivity without sacrificing a great story..
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks and audiobooks, I always have at least one of each going at a time.
Historical romance or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series
Music or silence while writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Tea or coffee
Cold or warm weather
Morning person and night owl, which makes for a very tired Julia 90% of the time!
Illustrated cover and photo cover, depends on the genre!