Julie, will you tell us how you sold your books and who published them?
Julie Carobini: Bethany House bought my first book, Chocolate Beach, on proposal. I’d actually finished about a 1/3 of it at the time, and when I got ‘the call’ from my editor, Charlene Patterson, I cried! (I was not agented at the time). I’ve worked with them on two books.
I have now contracted with B&H Publishing Group for a series of three books set in Otter Bay. I was in a store dressing room yanking on a pair of skinny sweats when I got that call from my agent, and I had to scream into the phone to be heard over the loud background music. He says it’s the weirdest deal call he’s ever made…
By proposal? That’s amazing for a new author to achieve. Congratulations, Julie! Did you have smaller works previously published?
Julie Carobini: Before writing novels, I wrote many, many stories and articles for all sorts of publications. I received two awards from The National Association for American Pen Women: one for non-fiction, and the other for short story fiction.
As far as novels go, in total, how many books will we be seeing published in the near future by you?
Julie Carobini: I’ve published two novels in the past two years, and I have three more due out within the next two years.
In addition to writing your novels, what other endeavors do you do related to writing?
Julie Carobini: I blog nearly every weekday, and love it! We talk about writing on Mondays and Fridays, and whatever I want in between J I love my blog buddies! As for judging, I’ve recently been a judge in the ACFW Genesis contest—very fun. Lots of talent out there.
What inspired you to take up fiction writing? Or, who inspired you and what did they say or do to help you get started?
Julie Carobini: I can’t remember not wanting to write fiction, but after rededicating my life to Jesus, I decided to hone my skills by writing non-fiction stories about Him. These appeared in all sorts of Sunday School papers. After that, I began writing for magazines and newspapers, almost always incorporating some element of my newfound faith. I wrote a couple of novels, too, at this time, but they never sold.
Finally one day, I plucked a pink-covered novel from the shelves of B&N, and was hooked on fiction again! I decided to write a sassy, first-person story about a laid back beach chick who finds evidence that her older, distinguished husband had grown tired of her carefree ways—and what she does about it. That became my first published novel, Chocolate Beach.
What is special about you and your books?
Julie Carobini: Well, I adore the sea, and not just as some abstract thing that makes me happy, but because it’s one amazing demonstration of our God’s infinite creativity. It’s my favorite place to pray, and my books all have some fun element of God’s creation in them (for example, the heroine of Chocolate Beach loves watching dolphins; and the heroine of Truffles by the Sea, talks to a friendly sea lion.) I so hope readers feel the grace of God when reading my books.
How long would you say you studied the craft of fiction writing before selling, and how best do you learn the tools of writing?
Julie Carobini: Too long to say. I did find the teaching at the Mt. Hermon writer’s conference in CA to be most helpful! I’m not much of a book learner, though, and learn best by reading fiction that I like, and then taking it apart.
Have you felt like giving up writing?
Julie Carobini: I gave up several times, actually. Rejection hurts, especially when you believe that acceptance is coming. That’s happened to me more than once, both in fiction and non-fiction. But here’s the thing: God would not allow me to give up for good. He let me wallow a bit, even take a job in a completely different field, but that only seemed to stir up the embers within me. I realized I should not rely on other people—consult them, yes—but my faith has to be in God’s call and in my own hard work. Once I got that through my thick head J, I felt free to go for it again.
You mentioned that you had written two novels before Chocolate Beach, do you ever intend to try and sell them?
Julie Carobini: Now that I’m writing full-time, I can see why J I won’t try to sell them now, but I might use pieces of one of them in a future story. I really liked that heroine!
What’s a typical writing day for you?
Julie Carobini: I’m a mom to three kids (two teens and one elementary), and so much of my writing must be done while they’re in school. When I’m on deadline, I try to write 2k words a day. Now that summer’s here, I’m hoping that 1k a day will be enough to get me to my next deadline in plenty of time! But it’s a balancing act to be sure. Sometimes you just won’t have all the time that you need, and you’ll have to stay up late, or get up very early. Still, it’s a huge blessing to be able to do what I love, and to set my own hours as well.
About finding an agent: You sold your first novel without one, what’s your recommendation for new writers?
Julie Carobini: For me, it wasn’t necessary that first time out, because I’d already made a connection with the editor beforehand (this can be done through writer’s conferences). Did I tell you that she’d rejected a previous story? In her rejection, though, she said that if I ever had anything else for them, she’d like to take a look. So I took her up on that with my next proposal, and eventually had a sale.
That said, I’m hearing that it’s harder and harder to make a deal without an agent. I’d encourage writers to get to know as many agents and editors as they can through conferences, because hopefully you’ll meet the perfect team to work with that way.
What benefits do you find having an agent offers?
Julie Carobini: I did contract with agent Steve Laube after receiving word that Chocolate Beach had found a home. I wanted help with the business aspect, and with future deals. Anyway, I chose Steve because we’d met at a writer’s conference, and he had showed great interest in the story I was working on. He seemed to ‘get’ me and all my quirkiness (insert happy face here) We’ve since put together four more deals, and have a terrific working relationship.
Once you received the contract, what does your publishing house require of you in terms of marketing your books?
Julie Carobini: They expect me to be accessible and available, and I’ve tried hard to pull myself out of my shell and be those things J I participated in about 16 signings last year, and already 10 this year. Plus, store visits, interviews like these, mailings, and radio, oh my! There really is more to it than writing, you know?
Thanks for taking the time to share your road-to-publication journey with us, Julie. I pray you have much success with your writing and that we’ll be seeing books by Julie Carobini being published for years and years to come.
Julie Carobini: Thanks so much for having me here today, Eileen! And thanks too, readers, for stopping by. I’d love for you to visit my cyber-beach pad and say hello: www.juliecarobini.com or www.juliecarobini.blogspot.com
Julie has one of the most beautiful, uplifting websites and blog that I've ever seen. You must check them out!
Okay, now let’s take a look at what books Julie Carobini has out for us to enjoy. With Beach and Sea in their title, I’m thinking they'll be perfect summer reads!
Truffles by the Sea,
Gaby Flores has a penchant for drama and an unfortunate knack for dating Mr. So Wrong. After breaking off yet another relationship, watching her apartment building burn to the ground, and discovering that her dippy delivery guy has run off with most of her business, Gaby decides it’s time to turn things around.
So she moves to a tiny waterfront loft and takes on a new motto: “Be gullible no more!” With help from her friends, she works to rebuild her flower shop—and her life. But when legal troubles and quirky neighbors and two surprising romances enter her beachy world, Gaby’s motto and fledgling faith are put to the test.
Can a young woman prone to disaster in both work and love finally find happily ever after?
Meet Bri Stone, a laid-back “beach chick” from Ventura, California. Bri has it all: the man of her dreams and their surf-ridin' teenage son, a chocolate-loving best pal, an adorable beach bungalow, and a kicky job as a Southern California tour bus host.
She also has a few things she didn't ask for: a know-it-all friend, a snobby mother-in-law, and a Fabio-meets-Dilbert boss. Ack! All three of them seem eager to share their strong opinions and suspicions about Bri's relationship with her husband, Douglas.
When Bri's rose-colored sunglasses crack after she finds evidence that Douglas has grown tired of her carefree ways, she resolves to win him back.
Can she reinvent herself—and recapture her husband’s heart?
Remember to leave a comment in this posting with an augmented e-mail address to be entered into the drawing to win a signed copy of Julie Carobini's Truffles by the Sea. The draw will take place Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 9:00 pm Eastern time.
July 3, 2008 Update: Congratulations goes to Kamewh for winning Julie Carobini's Truffles by the Sea. Finally a Family, written by Carolyne Aarsen, is the next book giveaway offered through my Canada Day post. I hope you'll check it out and enter to win.
Blessings and Good luck to everyone!