Friday, August 28, 2015

An interview with author and Duke University professor, Julie Tetel Andresen

It's my pleasure to welcome Julie Tetel Andresen to my blog!

I asked Julie five questions. Before we get to them and to her answers, I wanted to share a bit about this multi-talented author:

Julie has written about language and love for more than 20 years. A professor of linguistics at Duke University, she's also written more than twenty romance novels and novellas. Before moving to publish exclusively on the Amazon Kindle library, she was published by Fawcett Crest, Warner Books and Harlequin. Her novels cross many sub-genres of romance, including mystery, contemporary, BDSM, motorcycle club, and historicals.

Julie loves to travel, and has lived for extended periods in Germany, France, Romania, Vietnam, and Mongolia. As a child, she had a passion for playing the piano, and transferred that passion as an adult into writing romance novels and scholarly books about language. For Julie, writing essays in foreign languages is like playing scales and arpeggios as a warm-up exercise for writing in English.

Now that I've given you a insight into who Julie is, it's interview time.

Your love for the written word and language is apparent in the number of books you've written and also that your day job is a professor of linguistics at Duke University. When did you discover this incredible passion?

My passion for language goes all the way back to when I was five years old. I shared a room with my sister, and at night, when we went to bed, I would tell her all the new words I had made up that day. Then, somewhere along the way, I discovered there were languages with the words already made up, and I thought that was marvelous. I didn't have to invent new words anymore. I could just go learn other languages!

My favorite book as a kid was Dr. Seuss's On Beyond Zebra. I still love different alphabets. The most intriguing is Georgian. Last year when I did an around-the-world trip, I made sure to stop in Tbilisi, Georgia mostly to see the signage in the streets (as well as the Great Caucasus mountains to the east). I wasn't disappointed.

As a multi-genre author, do you find one genre easier to write? Which one is the most difficult?

No genre is easy to write, although I think some authors have good ears for particular ones, such as the Regency, and they stick with that. In my case, I've been eclectic and have made my way through the various subgenres of Romance, tuning my ear to their different melodies.

I liken myself to the Rolling Stones who I've always admired for trying their hand at all the subgenres of rock: anthem, ballad, hard, blues, honky-tonk. They even did disco.

So I've written: Americana, BDSM, contemporary, Motorcycle Club, medieval, MMA, paranormal, Regencies, Scottish Highlands, along with a Western. I've even written a historical murder mystery romance (Suspicious Hearts).

The hardest for me have been paranormals. My three paranormals -- The Blue Hour, The Crimson Hour, and The Emerald Hour -- are intricate, too intricate for some readers. However, those who like them really like them.

Can you describe your writing style? (i.e. Is your writing voice fast-paced and funny, or deep and angsty?)

My writing style varies with the subgenre I'm writing. My contemporary, DeMarco's Caf√©, is fast-paced, because that's what's required. My first medieval, My Lord Roland, is slow (in a good way, I hope), because the pace of life was very slow back then.

I love comedy. And Heaven Too (set in the 17th century England), and Swept Away (set in 17th century Caribbean) are comedies, and I hope readers get laughs from both.

You've traveled the world and have lived in some exciting places. Have any of those incredible locales become settings for your stories? If so, could you share some examples?

In 2012 I lived for six months in Vietnam. I loved every minute of it. A few months after leaving Saigon, I woke up one day and started writing my Forest Breeze trilogy: Tied Up, Captured, and Knocked Out -- all three set in Saigon. I surprised myself only because I was about to start writing something else when these stories seized me, and that was that. Third, Knocked Out, is new this month, available on Amazon.

Bucharest, Romania where I spend summers is a location in The Crimson Hour, as is Hong Kong, which I've visited. I love Rio, and it is a location in The Emerald Hour along with London. I know Paris really well, and it figures in The Blue Hour.

If you were to mentor an aspiring author what tips would you offer?

If I were to mentor an aspiring author, I would say, "Honor your vision." This advice is both wonderful and excruciating.

It's wonderful because it gives the aspiring author exactly what he or she needs: encouragement to write the story they want and need to write.

It's excruciating because an author's vision may not coincide with current trends in the marketplace, and so the work might not find a ready audience which can be discouraging. However, writing to trends is a bad idea, because trends change, and it may well change in the direction of what you wanted to write in the first place, while you've been wasting your time and talent on something you didn't have in your heart. So you have to follow your vision whose emotional center is your heart.

In my case, honoring my vision has been wonderful because I have indulged myself in a vast exploration of the Romance genre.

It has also been excruciating because I've known for 20 years that the way to make it in the commercial publishing industry is to establish yourself in a particular genre and to consistently write in that genre.

I sometimes think: "Lucky is the author whose vision matches market trends and whose imagination produces consistent stories a given audience can easily recognize!"

Then I have to remind myself to honor my vision, which just happens to be - for better or for worse - eclectic.

Thank you for being here today, Julie, and for sharing who you are and what you do. I am in awe of your talent and drive, and I wish you continued success in your writing. Please come back again. We'd love to hear more about the great stories you're writing and planning to write. I may never get to the wonderful places you've been and will visit in the future, so I'd be happy to 'visit them vicariously' by having you tell us about your journeys. Until then, take care and keep the creativity flowing.

To learn more about Julie...

Her Amazon author page --

Twitter -- @JTAbooks

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