Saturday, November 24, 2012

Edenbrooke...Best Romantic Novel of the Year?

I know this blog appears to have been on Hiatus.  I am sad to admit I've let it slide these past few months, but happy to share that I've not been idle with my writing.  I spent a good part of my free time in the summer working on short story fiction that I entered into a couple of contests.  I've since been working on editing my first first draft (that's still so exciting to say!) and plotting, outlining and then plodding through NaNoWriMo 2012.  I'm at 40,000 words with less than a week to go.  Wish me luck!

As for the hiatus - part of it was busy life circumstances, and part was a need for a break to think about the value/vision/purpose of this blog.  Or rather re-think it.  I think I have an idea of how I want to shape this space as my author platform, but I'll go into more detail in the new year, so stay tuned...

In the meantime, I found another book I can adore, and have shelved with the best books of 2012.  Coincidentally, it is currently a semi-finalist with the 2012 Romantic Novel of the Year Awards on Goodreads.  If you read it, and loved it, go vote!

What is this books I speak of?

I was picking up my daughter from school a few weeks ago when a friend of mine approached. She handed me a copy of a book called "Edenbrooke" and said, "You have to read this. I just read it twice in two days. I've never done that before." I've always trusted the literary tastes of my friend, and so I dove right in.



Edenbrooke was written by the delightful new author Julianne Donaldson, and published by Shadow Mountain. The blurb for the story (as taken from the back of the book):

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

I recently contacted Julianne and asked her to answer a few questions about her own unique writing and publication journey. I am so grateful that she agreed to answer, and here is what she had to say:

1. When and why did you start writing?

I started writing when I was young because I love to tell stories. As an adult, I would write stories here and there but never seriously thought about being published until I started having children. As a stay-at-home mom, I found within myself a yearning to create something outside of my home and family--something that belonged just to me--something that wouldn't come undone overnight (like the dishes, the laundry, the cooking, the diapering, etc.). I started small, with poems and ideas for picture books. Then I started dreaming bigger and bigger until I had written Edenbrooke.

2. How did you get the idea for Edenbrooke?
Edenbrooke didn't come to me as an "idea." I don't think it's an "idea" type of book. If I try to describe it, I usually end up saying inane things like "It's about a girl who lives in England in the 1800's who grows up and falls in love at a grand estate." No big ideas there. So writing Edenbrooke was not really writing around an idea, but taking a journey of emotional exploration. I escaped into a finer world than my own, where no children existed and money was not an issue. And in my escape, I tried to recreate what it felt like to grow up and fall in love.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your novel?
The hardest part about writing my novel was finishing it. I spent hundreds of pages writing threads of plot that I didn't know how to tie together. Huge gaps existed in the middle of my story that I didn't know how to fill. And the perfectionist side of me rebelled every time I attempted to call the story "done." The best thing I did for myself as a writer was attend a writer's conference, where I learned how to overcome those trouble spots. And sheer determination did the rest.

4. What future plans do you have for your writing?
I loved writing Edenbrooke, but after I finished it I vowed I would never write another historical fiction. It is so limiting to write in that genre, and I think it takes a lot of patience and attention to detail to do it well. Yet...here I am, writing another historical fiction. My fans convinced me to give it another go, and I am currently working on Blackmoore, which is set in England in the same time period as Edenbrooke, but features a whole new cast of characters and problems. As I have been writing Blackmoore, I have sworn up and down that I will never write another historical--yet, I am obviously a person who can be persuaded to change her mind. So I guess I will take things one book at a time. I do know that there are a lot of stories I want to tell. And I have a real science fiction streak in me that will probably make itself heard sooner rather than later.
I invite you to go check out her blog. If you haven't heard of Edenbrooke, I urge you to go get a copy. I loved it so much, I bought my own, and you can bet I'll be reading it again.

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