Monday, March 12, 2012

Julianne Donaldson: Interview, Giveaway, and Best "How I Got My Agent" Story EVER.

Hi, Julianne! Welcome! I'm so excited to have you here for my very first interview! Have a seat in the cushy chair. Might I say your hair looks fabulous! And I really like that sweater. Would you like a cookie? I baked your favorite kind.... which are?

I'm a sucker for a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie.

Yes! These are totally chocolate chip cookies! I baked them especially for you.

Mmm...Thank you! 

Your "How I got my agent" story is my FAVORITE OF ALL TIME. Care to share?

Oh, dear. This story doubles as one of the most embarrassing stories of my life. Okay, here goes. I was attending a writer's conference in Park City with some friends a couple years ago. The night before the conference started, we went to dinner with the conference organizers and the agents and editors. I happened to join the carpool that included Laurie McLean, agent extraordinaire. Another writer drove in her nice, leather interior truck, and my friends and I sat in the back and asked Laurie questions. We got to the restaurant, and as we waited for our food I started to feel nauseated. My stomach felt worse and worse, and by halfway through the meal I was doubled over.

My friend Jaime took pity on me and walked me next door to the Whole Foods store, where she bought me some ginger capsules and real ginger ale. I swallowed some capsules and chugged some ginger ale and felt a ginger bomb fermenting in my stomach. By this time everyone else was done eating and wanted to shop at Whole Foods too. So I sat on a bench outside the store, moaning, and called my husband to beg him to come and pick me up because I felt so sick I wanted to die. He knew that I would regret missing out on the conference, so he encouraged me to stay and see how I felt in another hour or so. The other ladies came out, looked at me, and stepped back a few paces.

Laurie said, "You look green. You should sit in the front seat." I took her up on the offer because I thought it might be necessary to exit the truck quickly. I rolled down the window, hoping the fresh air would help, and tried to keep my dinner down. We were almost back at the hotel when I suddenly realized that the ginger bomb in my stomach had exploded. I yelled to the driver, "Pull over. Right now." She pulled over, but she didn't stop fast enough. The puke was coming out, and I was not going to coat the leather interior of her new truck with it. So I threw open the door and jumped out of the still-moving truck while puking. I landed wrong on my ankle and stumbled along the rocky embankment while spewing all over. From inside the truck I could hear ladies yelling, "Oh no! Did you run over her? She jumped out before I stopped! Is she okay?" I hurled like it was going out of style, and finally, when I was done, I took a water bottle and rinsed off my shoes, then climbed shakily back into the truck, where everyone was expressing their extreme concern for me. I wanted to die, I was so embarrassed. But Laurie reached over my shoulder, handed me her business card, and said, "Send me a partial."

I spent the rest of the night with my head in the toilet, and the next day limping around the hotel and lying in bed with ice on my ankle. When I saw Laurie in the hall, she stopped to ask how I was doing. (Barely surviving.) Then she told me that she admired my perseverance in staying there even though I obviously wasn't well. She said it bode well for my career as a writer. I began to love her. The last day of the conference, I won the drawing to send Laurie my first three chapters for a critique. When they announced my name and I stood up, she cheered and gave me a hug and said, "It's karma!" I thought the same thing. It was fate that we should meet. I am sure there are other nice agents in the world, but nobody could have surpassed Laurie's graciousness. I have since learned that she is more than gracious and kind--she is hard-working, brilliant, optimistic, a go-getter, and the world's greatest cheerleader. Everything you want in an agent.

(Oh, my gosh, guys. Isn't that the best story EVER?) Julie, you actually got your book deal before you got your agent, right?

Yes, I did things a little backwards in that regard. I had published a non-fiction book with the same publisher a year before, so I already had contacts there when I began to consider submitting my novel. After having many agents read my full manuscript and respond that they "loved it, but couldn't sell it without sex in it," I had given up on the agent route. In fact, I didn't even send Laurie my full when she requested it, because I was afraid she would say the same thing. (I know. I was a wimp.) So I submitted my manuscript to Shadow Mountain, and after I had an offer from them, I contacted Laurie and asked her if she would like to represent me. She read my full manuscript in one night, loved it, and called me the next day to offer representation.


Then you went from book deal to publication date with lightning fast speed. What are the pros and cons of having a release date so soon?

I received a verbal offer from my publisher at the end of July 2011, and my book will be released the end of March 2012. Since this is my first novel, I don't really have a different experience to compare it to. But I will say that my team at Shadow Mountain has not lost their excitement for my story, and that is a pro in my book. For cons, I think one challenge with this short time-frame is getting everything done in time. My editing deadline was one week from the time my editor sent me my manuscript. Life is pretty hectic right now, but I am a very impatient person, and after working on this manuscript for five years, I feel like it can't come out soon enough.

A week?! I would've died. Edenbrooke must be one incredible book for them to push it with that kind of speed! Tell us about the book.

Edenbrooke is a love story set in the Regency period in England. (Think Jane Austen.) Seventeen-year-old Marianne Daventry is invited to spend the summer at Edenbrooke, a great estate in the countryside, where she imagines she will be able to do the things she loves, like ride horses and paint, while her twin sister tries to snag the handsome heir. But Marianne's plans for the summer are turned upside down and she finds herself caught in the middle of secrets, intrigue, and a headlong fall into the kind of love that changes you forever. It has humor, suspense, a lot of flirting, and a happy ending. It was a lot of fun to write.

Your book takes place in England, and you're going to England in a week to research your next book. Now tell the truth. Do you plan your book locations based on best vacation spot? :)

Absolutely! No, really, I have always loved England. It's in my blood--most of my ancestors came from England or Scotland, and it has been my favorite place to read about and dream about. It made Edenbrooke so real to me to visit England, that I knew I had to go again to do research for my next book.

I just decided. My next book is either happening in Hawaii or at the castles in Scotland.

Sign me up! Actually, I think my third book will be set in Paris. But after that, definitely Scotland.

The first two letters of your first name and the first two letters of your last name combine to make the greatest nickname-- Judo. I love it! Which begs the question: Did your husband's perfect last name figure into the equation when you said yes to his wedding proposal?

Thank you. I love my nickname. And, no, the sad thing is I didn't even realize that my name lent itself to Judo until our mutual friend Erin started calling me that. We were in a writing group together with another girl (and friend) whose name is Julie Dixon. So I couldn't be Julie D, because she was Julie D also. So I became Judo. I like it more than I should. It doesn't sound sophisticated at all, but it appeals to the side of me that jumps in the air and does karate kicks when I'm excited.

(I, obviously, did NOT take my husband's last name into consideration before saying "I do," since the same formula in a nickname gives me the name Peed.)

Your book sounds so fabulous, Julie, and so are you! Why don't you share all the important links so we can find out more about it and you.

www.juliannedonaldson.com 
Buy Edenbrooke on Amazon
Buy Edenbrooke at Barnes & Noble
Buy Edenbrooke at Deseret Book

Thanks so much, Peggy! This was such a fun interview, and I loved your cookies!

Thank you, Julie!

And guess what? Her publisher sent me an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) to give away! In your comment, just let me know if you'd like to be entered for a chance to win. Bonus point if you use the words "nickname," "ginger," "regency," and/or "escape by tuck-n-roll" in your comment. Extra bonus point if you tell someone about the giveaway via facebook, twitter, blog, phone, email, texting, talking, good old fashioned note, smoke signals, and/or sign language. (Make sure you tell me if you get the bonus point.)

Giveaway ends Sunday night (March 18th) at midnight MST. Best of luck!!

53 comments:

Z said...

This interview is fantastic--what an insane story! I love it :) My nickname is Z, which is odd, I know, but I didn't choose it--it chose me!

I had a cook in China who used WAY too much ginger every day and now I can hardly smell it without a) thinking of China, and b) gagging. Just a tad.

I, too, love England. The regency period was so short on the actual timeline, but has had such an impact on the way Americans view England! My favorite place in England was this tiny little village called Tring because they have a street called "Cow Lane" and I'm obsessed with those beasts.

And since I'm just about ready to escape my homework today by doing a tuck-n-roll dive in front of a bicycle (I don't actually want to maim myself, you know...or the driver), I'll plan on telling at least three people about this fantastic interview while I'm ditching class (smoke signals from the parking lot are out, because that would mean my car is on fire and I really can't afford to buy another one) so I definitely qualify for bonus points! :)

Rebecca Belliston said...

What a funny story--now, I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time. Kudos to her agent for taking a bad moment and turning it great. I'd love to be entered in the giveaway. Not only do I love regency romances, but I've been eyeing this book as a must read for me. I LOVE Jane Austen and this sounds great. Thanks for the great post/story/laugh. :)

Steph Sessa said...

This is a fantastic story! I think the moral is get sick at writers conferences, and you'll end up with an agent. Okay, maybe that's not the best idea...

Combining my first and last name is how I got my nickname, also! (Stessa). Everyone seems to really like all the Ss.

I would love to be entered to win the ARC. It sounds like a great book!

jaylen watkins said...

Quite interesting one has been updated. Thanks for this.

Interview Questions

Liz Fichera said...

Best.Agent.Story.Ever! That is both heart-warming and hilarious at the same time. Thanks for sharing! And definitely throw my name into the ARC ring. The book sounds fabulous :)

Talli Roland said...

Ahhh! That's quite the story - wow! Don't worry about putting me in the draw for the ARC just 'coz I'm overseas and it costs a fortune! It looks fab, though.

S.P. Bowers said...

Fun story. I'd love to be entered for the arc. And if there are extra points for begging I'd be happy to oblige.

Faith E. Hough said...

I'm not sure what I love more: your agent story or your book synopsis! I love regency stories, so if I don't win here, I'm definitely going to buy this one. :)
It was great to meet you, Judo! ;)

inluvwithwords said...

Wow, that's quite a story. Wishing you all the best with the book!

David P. King said...

I saw that cover before and was taken by it straight away. Glad to meet the author who wrote it through your interview, Peggy. And that is an agent story for the ages! :)

Amanda Olivieri said...

LOL! Oh my gosh, that is the most amazing story ever (although terrible to be so sick!). I would love to be entered to win a copy of Edenbrooke!

nicolekrell said...

Well, that definitely trumps my How I Got My Agent story, although I have to admit, mine was a lot cleaner and no ginger was involved.

My mother and husband are the only ones who've ever given me a nickname, but I can't repeat them in public.

I would LOVE to win an ARC! This sounds like my kind of story.

tammy said...

Oh man. I didn't think it would be possible to think more of Judo than I already did, (you know, for writing such a kick-butt novel), but that story put her over the top! So funny.....
This book is one of my favorites now. I really loved the 'flirt factor'. Such great repartee! It's a must read for certain! I'm happy to hear there will be more from Julianne!
Peggy, I'm really going to try very hard to not use your new nickname in all our correspondence from now on.

Krista V. said...

Thank you, Julianne and Peggy, for this awesome interview. You're right, Peggy--that's the best how-I-got-my-agent story I've ever heard:) (Julianne, I'm sorry the ginger didn't work!)

I'd love a chance to win EDENBROOKE! That cover is stunning, and I'm always looking for a good romance without any sex.

Tweeted here: https://twitter.com/#!/KristaVanDolzer/status/179237646768414720

Emily R. King said...

Best agent story EVER! I'm so glad I read it. : )

Nice meeting you, Julianne.

Thanks for having her, Peggy.

Lisa Marie said...

I LOVE regency novels. I would love to read this one.

I Tweeted about it as well here: https://twitter.com/#!/LisaLueddecke/status/179246028485165059 .

So, bonus points! :).

Julie Daines said...

Hi Peggy, thanks for the fun interview. I loved it. And I love regency/Austenesque type books, so I'd love a chance to win. Thanks!

And seeing as I have a similar first name (Julienne) I'll say that my nickname is simply Ju. Although I also answer to Jules. :)

Cherie Reich said...

I think you might have the best "how I got my agent" story ever. And I love the Judo nickname. It's cute.

And your regency book sounds fabulous, so I would like to be entered for a chance to win.

And I'm glad you survived the ginger explosion and the escape by tuck-n-roll. :)

Carrie Butler said...

1) Best. Agent. Story. EVER!
2) Judo is such a great nickname!
3) As for Peed... well, we'll stick with Pegasus. *grins*

Jenny S. Morris said...

That is the best agent story I've ever heard. And this books sounds lovely. I'm setting my next book in England, I should plan a trip right away. ;0)

Jessie Humphries said...

Oh Judo, how oft do I love thy "escape by tuck and roll." That's the night I met you for the first time! It was a very romantic evening: vomit, swollen ankles, snoring...I'll never forget it :)

Janeal said...

That is hysterical! And good that something GREAT came from it!
Even though I had to google what an "ARC" is (I'm just not as into the writing world as you are yet), I still really want one! I can't remember where I read about this book (goodreads, maybe?) but I was super interested when I did!

Taffy said...

Loved the interview!
So the moral to getting an agent is to throw up nearby. Hmmm...I think I'll try bribing with chocolate chip cookies first. :)
This book sounds good. Looking forward to reading it.

Emma Pass said...

OMG, that really is the best agent story ever! Thanks for such a great interview, Julia and Peggy!

M Pax said...

That was quite the how-I-found-my-agent story. Wow.

Sophia Chang said...

I cannot believe this is real! You know, now there'll be a rash of people ingesting spoiled food before conferences...

WHat I want to know is - who did Judo's author portrait? It's amAHzing.

Susan Kane said...

That is possibly the most unique story on 'how I got my agent' ever.
I will look up Edenbrooke.
Ginger is good for stomach stuff, but is foul tasting.

The Golden Eagle said...

That was an awesome story!

Great interview. :)

i'm erin. said...

Ha I love the agent story, and I love that I was there for part of it! Julie is really awesome and this is a great read.

Alleged Author said...

If I was an agent, I would have taken you on after you jumped out of that vehicle. Great story!

Diane said...

Loved the interview. Thank you. Julie and I used to push our babies in strollers up huge hills and there were several times when I just wanted to drop and roll back down. She is a helpful and loyal friend and I am so happy for her success. Can't wait to read her book.

As for a nickname, my maiden name is Beck. My high shook principal is one of the best men I have ever known; a truly great mentor and leader. He nicknamed me the Beckster, even sneaking it in during his graduation speech. Love him. Love the nickname and still use it for my words with friends name. Now that I am married, I have adopted huntster as my nickname.. :)

Kelley said...

Oh my gosh. I was laughing during that whole agent question but it must have been horrible to go through. What a trooper!

Great interview ladies!

Tracy Bermeo said...

What a fun interview! There is nothing more embarrassing than puking in front of strangers. I tried ginger and peppermint once with food poisoning- didn't work. The only thing to do it get rid of it. I'd love to be entered in the ARC giveaway- I'll be tweeting this post!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Oh, my heck! What a story. And what an awesome agent with a great attitude--to say nothing of Julianne!

I checked and they don't show a Nook version at B&N, so I clicked a request!

tysqui said...

Awesome snag of the agent judo. Now for a peek at this book of yours...

Laura Pauling said...

What a terrific story! Love it.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

That is an amazing story and I am in awe at her perseverance. Great determination gets great reward :) Can't wait to read this.

Imogen said...

That is such a great story; it almost ranks with fiction! I honestly didn't know that Ginger was good for the stomach.

Nobody is allowed to make a nickname out of my last name. Who would with a name like Elvis?

I'd love to be entered to win this book. The Regency period is one of my favourite periods. However, I am international. Am I still eligible? I did check, but you haven't said anything about restrictions.

Krista McLaughlin said...

That is an amazing agent story! Very unique I have to say and I'm almost not surprised that an agent would say "no sex, not gonna sell". That's totally our societies mentality. A romance novel has to have sex. I'm excited to read her book with no sex! I also have ancestors from England and I love the Regency period. Very exciting! :)

tfwalsh said...

Wow that is a pretty amazing agent story... poor thing, sounds like you were so sick. And good on hubby for making you sticking it out... Well done on your achievement:)

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great interview, but really, wow! what a story at the beginning!! :)

Clarissa Draper said...

I had to laugh even though I know you were having a horrible time. Happy ending though. It's the type of situation I would put my characters through. Love the cover!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Love the interview Peggy! And what a tale!

Maggie said...

What an incredible agent story. I bet no one else in the world has had that same experience :)

Nancy Thompson said...

Greatest. Agent. Story. Ever! Simply amazing! And a great interview, too!

Brianna said...

Awesome loved the interview and nicknames ;). Please enter me into the contest. I can't wait to read her book.

Michelle said...

Oh wow, such a cool story.
I guess we won't be call Peggy Peed then? Lol
The book sounds wonderful, I'm in Australia so if you don't want to enter me thats fine. Xx

Gwen said...

That is the best author story ever! And also a really cool nickname. I don't really have one. Though my sister calls me glitch :/

Romance Reader said...

Great interview ladies. And I love the cover. Congrats on the release.

Riya

Sarah Pearson said...

Yes. This truly is the best 'how I got my agent' story, ever :-)

Nick Wilford said...

That is a sensational story. Kudos to her for sticking out the conference! Looks like it paid off!

I've given you the Sunshine Award! Check it out at my blog. :)

Julianne Donaldson said...

Thanks, everyone! It was so fun to share my embarrassing experience with you all. :)

TerryLynnJohnson said...

okay, I laughed so hard reading this my hubby came in to see what was going on. I had tears rolling down my cheeks. Something about other people's embarrassing stories I guess. :)
The best part is the happy ending. Great post and sounds like a fabulous book.