Day Seven: Juli Caldwell
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m a mom first, everything else second, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write whatever jumps into my head. Because I’m pretty sure the voices in there all have multiple personalities, this means I write in a few different genres. I love travelling, and I love love love to laugh. This means I’m usually the biggest dork in the room, because if no one there is making me laugh, I’ll do it myself.
2. What do you do when you are not writing? I chauffeur my kids around, I bake stuff and then eat it. I do an awful lot of laundry and dishes. Dishes, laundry, and cockroaches will be the only things to survive a nuclear holocaust, I think.
3. What is your favorite smell? Tropical fruits. Nutmeg and cinnamon. Brownies ready to come out of the oven. Salt in the air near the ocean.
4. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book? I started writing when I was super young. I probably finished my first book when I was 13 or so. It will never be published and never see the light of day, ever.
5. If you had 24 hours to live, excluding spending time with your family, what would you do? Lie on the beach and soak up the sun, listening to gulls screech overhead and smelling the salty sea breeze.
6. Do you ever experience writer’s block? All the time. Since I write in more than one genre, I just switch stories. They require different voices and a different way of thinking, so it gets things flowing in my brain again.
7. Do you work with an outline, or just write? Sometimes I outline to keep me focused, but mostly I fly by the seat of my pants. The endings usually surprise me, too!
8. What is your favorite kind of cheese? Whatever you put on top of my nachos.
9. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you growing up or as an adult? Sooo many! I read all the Little House books as a kid. I had a thing for the classics in my teens so I read the Bronte sisters, Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare. All the dead people. These days I’m drawn to people like Stephen King (Less Carrie, more The Green Mile) or Mary Higgins Clark—people who can craft a beautifully written tale with the perfect amount of suspense. I like a book that messes with my head but doesn’t gross me out. I also really love Jodi Piccoult and Jennifer Weiner.
10. Would I find anything growing in your refrigerator right now? It would probably require cleaning it to find out, so....maybe?
11. How would you describe yourself in three words? Really quite awkward.
12. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? A lot of my personal experiences end up in my novels. In my romance novella Arms Wide Open, the two craziest dates are based on actual dates I went on or conversations I had with guys trying to hit on me. One reviewer said that those two dates were so unbelievable, and that things like that don’t happen in real life. They do if you’re me! Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. I have a great love of the absurd, so when something random happens to me, it’s going to end up in a book.
13. Who is your favorite author? Since most of you will probably say me ;) please tell me then, who is your second favorite author? Not me. I still have a lot of room to grow as a writer. Without a doubt, it’s Jane Austen. I can read her over and over again and never get bored. I always find something new.
14. What was your favorite part of writing and why? It’s release. It’s therapy. I have dialogue streaming through my head all the time, and it demands an outlet. Seeing that turn from random thoughts into a book that others can hold in their hands is such a rush.
15. Chocolate or Brussels sprouts? Chocolate-covered Brussels sprouts.
16. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? I think the reviews that come that are just mean for the sake of being mean. When I get low reviews, I read them carefully. Honest reviewers see things that I missed, and every honest review helps me write the next one better. I’d rather have an honest 3 star that gives me something to work on than a dozen 5 stars from my mommy. Sometimes people just trash something because they can, and I struggle with that.
17. What has been the best compliment given to you as an author? I love it when readers find me on twitter or hunt down my email and send me a message to let me know they liked my book. Anyone who takes the time to leave a personal note really cared. Knowing that my words somehow left an impression makes me happy dance. I appeared at Salt Lake Comic Con last fall, and FanX is happening as of this writing. It’s amazing to be when people find me at my booth, tell me they loved Psyched, and ask when the sequel is coming out.
18. What is your least favorite smell? I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, so I’m gonna say Sherry Gammon. (Just kidding! I’ve met her and she smells delightful!)
19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? People will give you advice all the time on how to write, what to write, how to market, how to format, how to edit, how to (fill in the blank). Everyone has an opinion, and most people will share it with you. Despite all that, do what works for you and your story. Understand why you’re writing and who you’re writing for, and put your whole soul into it. The sales may not come right away, but if you’re writing for yourself that may not matter. Be true to your story, and write it passionately.
20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers? THANK YOU!
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