What is your newest release? What inspired it?
My newest release is Sweet Dreams, My Love, which came out February 16th from Dreamspinner Press. It was actually inspired by the cover. Dreamspinner has a fairy tale series and periodically they tantalize the authors with a cover for a particular fairy tale—the first author to claim it gets to write the story, but it can’t be a retelling of the original story, but something new. And there is no promise of acceptance of the manuscript. I was lucky to get Sleeping Beauty, and this beautiful cover. Thinking of love made me think of Paris, and as I have a thing for the Moulin Rouge, and for the Impressionists, I began to weave those together to make a tale.
Do you have a muse? If so, has your muse ever just up and left in the middle of the story?
That’s a good question. I guess I do, but I’ve never questioned who or what it might be, it simply exists inside of me and talks to me. Consistently. I imagine everyone has muses that dump them, and stories that sit either until the muse returns or forever. I’m also a huge multi-tasker, so sometimes it’s a matter of waiting for my focus to return to that story. For example, my sequel to my novel To the Max reached a certain point and sat for months, maybe a year or more. So did Revelations. But once I focused on each one again, they went smoothly, and they’re both done. At the same time, there are some stories I know I’ll never get back to cause whatever muse sparked it originally has done left the building.
What do you think is sexier, an implied love scene or the actual scene from the first kiss to the grand finale?
I think it depends on the characters and the story, and what is appropriate for them. I have both in my stories, although I think I tend to write more explicitly now than when I first wrote Dark Love. In fact, the publisher had me add a little more sex to it, as I really had nothing explicit at all. But I don’t write gratuitous sex either; it has to be part of the plot. And I’m learning that UST (unresolved sexual tension) can sometimes be sexier than having your couple make love.
How do you keep the sex fresh? How do you keep it from feeling repetitive from story to story?
I know, it’s the same basic act, right? Except it’s not. I try to make each time different by varying what my couples do and how they do it and where they do it, as well as experience or lack of in each person involved. Setting the lovemaking into the scene helps keep it fresh, I think. And working off of each character’s individuality helps too. Adding extras – like toys, or food, or an unexpected venue (in my sequel to To the Max, one scene takes place on a motorcycle) – also helps to keep it fresh. If you’re interested in your characters’ lovemaking, I think you’ll engage your readers more easily than if you view it as just another sex scene.
When you complete your novels, do you breathe a sigh of relief, or do you feel sad the experience has ended?
Not relief, I don’t think, more like excitement because the next part starts – finding the perfect publisher and sending it off. That part can get nerve wracking, unless of course you’ve written it for someone in particular, or maybe it’s part of a series. I feel sad with characters I don’t expect to write again, but I like to write sequels, so I anticipate seeing them again in those. For those for whom there will be no sequel, I can either write a prequel, or just visit them a lot.
How difficult is it to separate the author from the person?
I think they’re one and the same. Everything I do outside my writing merges into the world where I draw my writing from, whether it’s an experience or a person, or just something that I see that catches my fancy. My writing is who I am, I am my writing—I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What other goals have you set for yourself?
My goals would be: become self-supporting in my writing, buy or rent a new home (not sure where, just not here), travel a lot, see at least one of my stories made into a movie or cable series, and to work some day with Gary Oldman.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I read and I watch movies or TV series. I find that when my mind is empty, it fills it up. The reading also helps because I write reviews. I’m netflixing series I didn’t watch when they were popular, such as Queer as Folk and Rome right now. When I’m too tired to write, I find that watching something recharges my batteries not only mentally but physically as well.
How often were you accused of daydreaming when you were a kid?
When I was a kid, I was always reading. Even in school, I had a book open under my desk. The teachers knew and didn’t care, as long as I did well on my work, which I did. If people accused me of daydreaming, I probably didn’t hear them because I was off in my own world. Not to mention I spent a lot of time alone, reading and daydreaming.
What is your most precious memory?
I would have to say I have five of those – the births of my children. That is something more precious than anything else I can imagine, nothing comes close to giving birth and seeing your child for the first time, knowing that this is the little person that you carried for nine months. That memory transcends all others.
Are any characters actually inspired by people you know?
Definitely! Some characters more than others. In To the Max, Maggie is actually my daughter Sarah (Sarah also appears in Sweet Dreams and in Revelations). I don’t necessarily use the whole person, but facets of their personality. My friend Erin became a character in For Love of Max, at her own request. Max himself actually possesses a lot of my own personality, I think, and definitely some of my phobias. Although you do start with someone you know as a basis, though, characters do tend to take on a life of their own, which process I find fascinating. And many of my characters weren’t inspired by anyone in particular.
What makes a great book to you?
A great book is one which draws you in so deeply you forget you’re reading a book and you feel like you’re watching a part of someone’s life. I’ve been involved so deeply that when I laid down the book I expected the story to keep playing out before my eyes, and I had to shake myself and say wait, you were reading lol A great book has characters you can empathize with, but also some you love to hate. A plot that you can’t figure out every twist and turn, or if you do, you feel like you were clever, cause it wasn’t obvious. And a plot which by the end has you frantically turning the pages to see what happens next—I’ve read a few of those. Literally.
And when you’re done with that great book and close it at last, the images and the people linger inside of you, and you find yourself thinking about them days later. That is a great book.
Is it difficult when you have to hurt your characters or make them do something they don’t want to do?
It’s very difficult, and I admit to not being good at it, but I’m getting better, if better is the right word. Ask Max. I certainly tortured him in the second book in the series. But sometimes it’s necessary, for any number of reasons, not least of which is conflict and drama. Some books get by without those, but those are the exception, and only certain writers can pull that off.
What do you remember about your first love?
My first human love was a boy who lived down the street, his name was Bill and he came to live there when his dad married my neighbor. Bill was from Arkansas, he had a thick accent, he was cute, and we would ride our bikes together. (We were 12 at the time). We would ride to the next street, where a house sat empty, for sale, and he would talk about how we would buy the house and get married. He respected me; he never kissed me or tried anything, or even held my hand. We were together off and on til we were about 16, then broke up and I never saw him again. But I have fond memories.
My first inhuman love was probably Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows. That was probably around the time I read Dracula for the first time, and fell in love with the Count. Vampires have remained a love of mine to this day.
If your soul took an animal form, what would it be?
That’s an interesting question, Tina. I think if my soul took on an animal form, it would probably be a cat. I think that they are observers of the human condition, and so am I. They interact when and where they choose, and are fairly self-sufficient. Maybe that is why I’m drawn to them so much.
How can we find you on the web?
My blog is at: http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com
My website (which is under construction) is at: www.julielynnhayes.com
My Facebook is: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527332074
My Goodreads is:
My Twitter is: http://twitter.com/ShelleyRunyon
What publishing houses are you with?
I am published with Silver Publishing, Wicked Nights and Dreamspinner Press.
Wicked Nights: http://wickednights.info/?page_id=361
Thank you so much for talking to me, Tina, it’s been fun!
Thank you Julie for stopping by, readers please leave a question for Julie she will be here to answer.
I can tell you from reading her stuff myself she is an amazing author you just have to get to know. Look over at my side bar and see her newest release from Dreamspinner Press.