Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Conversation With Julie Valerie . . .

If you read and write women’s fiction (like me), one of the best places to find book recommendations is book blogs. Book bloggers have a huge influence with their reviews, and because they’re on the internet, their outreach could be global.

Julie Valerie’s Book Blog is one of my favorites, and it caused me to wonder about the woman behind the blog. So, I was thrilled when she agreed to do this interview.

Amanda: Julie, what inspired you to start a women’s fiction book blog?

Julie: I've always wanted to start a blog and knew from the beginning that I should pick a topic I was passionate about or risk losing interest, fall behind in posting, and eventually abandon my blog and its readers. Because I absolutely love reading and writing, I don't think I'll tire of it any time soon. (Like, never?) Each new book I read or write gives new material to explore on my blog. Because stories and storytelling are the lifeblood of what it means to be human, the possibilities for blog content are endless. There can never be too many book blogs.

Amanda: What’s the first women’s fiction novel you remember reading?

Julie: I remember getting permission to read a novel off my grandmother's bookshelf during a family vacation. I believe it was a Danielle Steele novel and from what I can remember the storyline featured a main character who falls in love with a patient who was disfigured in an accident. She later learns this patient is her husband, believed to have been killed in an automobile accident. It was a "clean" romance - one that was written without the slightest shade of gray (if you know what I mean) and I believe I was around 13. I couldn't put the book down and fell for the story hook, line, and sinker. It never occurred to me the patient might also be her husband until she unwrapped the bandages and their eyes met. Oh, my gosh. I cried!

Amanda: What’s your favorite book and why?

Julie: Favorite book: the Bible. Second favorite? Winnie-the-Pooh because something happened to me after reading it for the first time as an adult. I was in college, read it from cover to cover, and was so amazed by the writing and the author's ability to make stuffed animals come life, that while I was reading it and certainly after I put it down, I decided to get serious about my own writing. 

Amanda: What women’s fiction novel do you want to see on the big screen and who would play the protagonist?

Julie: Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern because I loved P.S. I Love You and I know it would be mawkish. In a good way. I love mawk. Protagonist? Hhmm ... Natalie Portman because the novel takes place over a long period of time and she can probably look youthful and mature all in the same film.

Amanda: You’re a writer too. What are you working on now?

Julie: I'm finishing a final draft on a (hopefully) funny book about the culture of overachieving moms behind the gates at Pimm's Academy, a fictional elementary school. I'm a mother of four and often marvel at the impossible tasks we take on as mothers in our work life, at home, and in the school life of our children. My book uses humor to expose truth, and flirts with satire much like the Desperate Housewives of Wisteria Lane (ABC TV Series, 2004-2012). I believe the title is going to be Pimm's Academy: It's Not About You. It's About Her. I imagine this to be book one in the Downward Spiral Notebook Series I've been developing.

Amanda: Is there a women’s fiction trend you wish would die?

Julie: No, not at all. All books and all trends in fiction have a place on the shelf so long as there are readers to read them. I'm so grateful for the recent rise in indie and small press publishing because I think readers are now able to get their hands on books that don't have to follow any "declared" publishing trends or have to first be vetted by a select group of people in New York. 

Amanda: If you could commission any author, who would it be and what would you ask them to write about?

Julie: Jane Austen. I'd love to see what she'd write about and how she'd write it if she were alive today.

Amanda: What is the best thing about being a book blogger?

Julie: Hands down, the people you meet through blogging. Blogging is like a conversation held over a cup of tea (or coffee or glass of wine). You can sip and write, talking to yourself, and if all that's accomplished is your own fulfillment of having contributed in some small way to the word count in the universe, then that's enough. That's wonderful, really, truly. It has to be a personal journey, first and foremost. But then, you never know, someone might pass by, be interested in what you're sipping and saying, and decide to sit with you for awhile. And if that happens, well then, that's mighty fine, indeed!

Amanda: Thank you so much Julie Valerie for engaging in this fun conversation with me! I hope we can chat again soon. 

Check me out on Julie's Blog-

Please check out Julie Valerie, Book Blogger & Writer

Blog: “Julie Valerie’s Book Blog”


  1. I'd love to read Jane Austen's thoughts on today's society, too.
    And Julie, you've made me want to take a fresh look at Winnie and friends.

  2. Hi Amanda!

    Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I really enjoyed "trading spaces" with you and can't wait for the New Year. 2014 is going to be a big year for you, my friend! A big year, indeed.


  3. Hey Pauline!

    Thanks for traveling across the blogosphere to say hello to Amanda and me. Amanda's planning a busy 2014 - she's one to keep an eye on!


  4. Great post, ladies! Winnie - he's one of my faves as well! Love the story about the first WF book you read!

  5. Thanks for the visit, Jackie. I laugh now, remembering how utterly surprised I was at age 13 to find out the bandaged patient was really her husband. Now I can sniff that sort of thing from a mile away.

    P.S. I said 'sniff' because I know you're a fellow dog lover. It's a dog thing. Others wouldn't understand... :)