Lexi: Our guest today is an author that switched genres, very successfully. We’ve fallen in love with her historical romances, and now we’ve fallen in love with her contemporary romances, too. Please join me in welcoming Julie Anne Long!
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today!
Lexi: It’s amazing to say, but you are here to talk about book FOUR of your Hellcat Canyon series! Secrets are a theme in this series and all we can say is we’re glad you write romances so we know there’ll be a HEA once we get through the nail-biting. In The First Time at Firelight Falls, your heroine, Eden, has a big secret she’s managed to keep for years. Are you like Eden, a good secret keeper?
You now, I actually think Eden's ability to keep a secret is more about her pure stubborn ability to stick to her guns when she 1) knows she's right about something, and 2) believes it's the best thing for Annelise. Annelise is her world, and she rightly assumes that revealing her father's name to anyone, really, would introduce a note chaos into their happy, safe lives. So she keeps his name to herself for as long as she can...even as it starts to become clear that her motive for doing that isn't entirely unselfish, and that Annelise's need to know who her dad so keeping his name to herself while
And I guess I definitely do have that in common with Eden–a stubborn ability to stick to my guns when I know I'm right about something. :) And if I thought keeping a secret was the right thing to do, frankly I think I'd be awesome at it.
Lexi: Our vote is that you are. It doesn’t matter what genre you write, its your amazing talent that shines through and brings whatever story you are telling, or secretly thinking about, to life. Had you been plotting the Hellcat Canyon series for a long time before you wrote book one?
Such a lovely thing to say—thank you! You're very kind. You know, I'd wanted to write a contemporary series for quite a while, and I found inspiration in the small towns and extraordinary rugged beauty of California's Sierra Nevada Foothills. California is covered with thousands of miles of forest, and lots of history and mystery (and some say, Bigfoot) lives in those hills. :) And with small towns, you find people who are happy there and would never dream of leaving (Eden in THE FIRST TIME AT FIRELIGHT FALLS), people who've retreated there for escape, and maybe have a few secrets (Britt in HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON), people who can't wait to get out but can't seem to make it happen (Glory in WILD AT WHISKEY CREEK), people who get away and then realize home is where their heart is (Avaon in DIRTY DANCING AT DEVIL'S LEAP). I seldom really plot in detail before I launch into a book, but I let character and setting sort of influence the direction and shape of a story. If you zoom in with your writerly lens over a place, you can kind of see all the stories in progress in the town, and you can just run with it from there.
Lexi: It’s easy to fall in love with Hellcat Canyon, and the families that live there. They are protective of their own and love fiercely. Your hero in The First Time at Firelight Falls, Gabe, embodies that and not only because he is an ex-Navy SEAL. Care to share one of your favorite things about Gabe, or a favorite line of his?
I loved writing Gabe and Eden in part because they're already pretty happy with their lives when the story begins, but for each of them there's a growing awareness that something is missing. Sometimes it's hard to write a genuinely good guy who seem interesting, but that's what I personally find sexy these days: a grounded guy, a mature (mostly) adult with a great sense of humor, an enormous sense of professional commitment, who has a great group of diverse friends and knows exactly who he is and what he wants and doesn't play games...but who can still be laid low by a woman. (and it helps that he's SO hot). Gabe has known some loss and challenge in his life, but it's only made him value life that much more and he can sort what matters out from what doesn't pretty quickly. He doesn't waste time. I love his honesty and his cut-to-the-chase approach to wooing Eden—how he's made it possible for them to fit an entire honest, frank courtship into the little chinks and fissures in their schedules. And I love his self-awareness—he knows when he's acting like a jerk in certain situation (no spoilers here!) but he can't help himself because has no precedent in his life for how he feels about Eden.
He might be my favorite hero of mine yet. :)
Lexi: I’m already in love with Gabe and can’t wait to read The First Time at Firelight Falls! Thank you for stopping by the blog and congrats again on the release, Julie! We hope to see you again soon for the next one!