Indie Support Sunday: Julie Olivia
I hope that when you’re reading this interview, you’ve either already witnessed the awesomeness of Julie Olivia or are on your way to experience it. Julie is sunshine personified. Not just in the stories she writes and the humour she brings into her romances, but as a person. From the minute we connected on Instagram—when she asked if I’d like to read an ARC of my favourite of her books, Thick As Thieves—I’ve been a Julie fan.
With 10 books to her name, Julie’s stories have a great mix of sweetness, spice and humour and I can’t wait for more of her magical writing. Her Christmas novella, The Fake Santa Apology Tour, was the holiday romance I didn’t know I was looking for when it was released. And then earlier this year, she released the first in her Honeywood series—All Downhill With You and it was absolutely glorious!
The Fiction Between Us is the second book in the Honeywood series and it releases on September 22nd (and be available in Kindle Unlimited) and if you like heartfelt stories, sexy times and fantastic humour, then you need to pick it up. In fact, I’d think you need to read all of Julie’s books right this minute!
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
As a 1992 baby, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Harry Potter was my first book obsession. (As it probably is for most millennials.) I loved the world building. I loved the characters. I loved it all.
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
I’ve always leaned toward romance. Even when I wrote other genres, my stories always came back to the love interest. It was very much a head-smacking “OH! OF COURSE!” moment when I found the indie romance genre. I may have enjoyed writing before romance, but I became truly addicted to writing after romance.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
I honestly never considered the traditional route. I heard about self-publishing and was instantly sold. I’m also an over-organized control freak so it works well for me haha
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
The best part is the freedom to write whatever, and whenever, you like. I could surprise publish something tomorrow if I wanted to, and that is so exciting to me. However, the worst part is probably having such easy access to reader reviews. But that’s just how the cookie crumbles when you put yourself out there. Your books won’t be for everyone and I wish I would have learned that earlier. It would have saved me a lot of unnecessary heart ache.
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
Yes, I do write full-time as of a couple months ago! Best decision ever.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
I love illustration. I spent most of my life pursuing art and even majored in art for the first couple years of college. It’s exciting that I can now utilise those skills in self-publishing! I make my own covers and promos, and I have a blast with it! I always said I wanted to write and illustrate a children’s book, so that’s definitely still on my bucket list!
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
I used to write horror before romantic comedies (I know, I know, very different!). I like the ambiance and the creativity that comes with horror. But I also really love Halloween so maybe it’s just the spooky vibes that are appealing!
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
Pride and Prejudice, always. Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey as well. It was the first indie romance book I fell in love with, and it inspired me to write my own! And the entire Fallen Men series by Giana Darling. I live for those hunky bikers.
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Write. That should be your top priority always. Finish a book then finish another, and always work on your craft. Read books on storytelling and character development. You can always improve.
Write what you LOVE, and write for YOU. Don’t write what’s popular just because you feel like you should. Write something YOU would see at the bookstore and think “wow, I HAVE to pick that up!”
Keep your eyes on your own paper and be supportive of others. There are a lot of wonderful, talented authors out there working their tail off! And they will be successful because they deserve it and they have busted their hump to get there. But you can’t play the comparison game. Be happy for others. Their success does not diminish yours. Your time will come. So, congratulate them. Genuinely. And then work on your story.
Be kind to yourself. Take breaks not because you “earned” them but because you, as a human, are entitled to them. Watch television or play video games without guilt. Go on a walk. Meditate. Put your phone in another room. You need to be in a good headspace if you’re gonna be creative and write (which, as stated above, is the number one priority).
HAVE FUN. Do you want to make a map for your small town? Do it. Do you want to order a mug with a quote from your book just for you? Do it. Do you want to post a TikTok about your book’s vibes simply because you love your story? Do it! Fall in love with your own books and never apologise for it.
Can you briefly tell me about your books?
I write romantic comedies with small towns, tight-knit friend groups, sizzling spice, and heavy banter. I try to write about subjects that interest me. My most recent release, All Downhill With You, is a spicy romantic comedy set in a theme park. I’ve been obsessed with roller coasters for years, so doing research for this series is a breeze. I could read about theme parks all day long and now I get to!
Of your books, who is your favourite character?
That’s so difficult! My husband inspires most of my heroes, but his goofy side behind closed doors is most like Ian Chambers from In His Eyes. So I’m a little biased toward liking that character the most. :)
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
I’m inspired by everyday life and the people I meet along the way. I’m a shy extrovert, so I prefer to be around people but I tend to sit to the side and just absorb the conversation. If it’s said around me, it will likely end up in a book! :)
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
Too much. haha
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
Cosy. I like creating warm, welcoming, fleshed-out places with fun characters you wanna be friends with.
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
I have a friends-to-lovers story planned that spans over thirty years. I am most excited about that one.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
I’m currently working on Honeywood Fun Park book 2! I’m obsessed with this park and so excited I get to explore it more!
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
Favorite? Age gap. My husband is eight years older than me, so no surprises there haha. Least favorite? Surprise baby. I can see why some people like it, but it’s not for me.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I’d love to do a friend’s dad romance. But I’m not sure how I could pull off that type of taboo in romantic comedy! I guess we’ll see!
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
Depression, but with someone on the other side of the struggle and on medication. It does get better, and being on meds should be more normalized. Also, therapy! I LOVE that therapy is popping up more in modern romance!
Normal talk during sex!! I love when the conversation flows freely when the characters are getting it on. I like the stumbles, the ‘do you like that?’ moments, the awkward time when he’s putting on the condom, all of it! Gimme a dirty talking man, but also make him realistic! He’s not a sex-machine. He’s a person!
What is your favourite thing about the romance genre?
The openness of female sexuality!! I love it. I love that romance is inspiring women to not be ashamed of their sexuality or discussing sex. Viva la revolution!
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks or audiobooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense (neither? comedy!)
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series (Standalones in a series!)
Music or silence while writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Tea or coffee
Cold or warm weather
Morning person or night owl
Illustrated cover or photo cover
Julie’s Instagram account is a burst of colour that you need in your life. You can also check out her website and sign up for her newsletter. And if you’re a fan of the Honeywood series, she’s even got merch available for purchase!