Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author who has sold more than 1.3 million books in North America alone. Her novels have also been translated into Spanish, German, Portuguese, French, Japanese, Turkish, Russian, and Dutch. She has written twenty historical romance novels, including the bestselling Highlander Trilogy with MacMillan/St. Martin's Press and her popular Pembroke Palace Series with Avon/Harper Collins. The first novel in her contemporary fiction series, THE COLOR OF HEAVEN, was a USA Today bestseller in 2013. Julianne is a three-time RITA finalist with Romance Writers of America and has won numerous awards, including the Booksellers' Best Award, the Book Buyers Best Award, and a Reviewers' Choice Award from Romantic Times for Best Regency Historical of 2005. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of King’s College in Halifax, and a degree in Business Administration from Acadia University in Wolfville. She lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and daughter, and is a dedicated member of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. She is represented by Creative Media Agency in New York.
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One of my summer jobs during college: I was a tour guide on the Haligonian II - a historic boat cruise around Halifax Harbour. "Over on your left, we have the site of the Halifax Explosion, which occurred on December 6, 1917..." Summer jobs don't get much better than that.
I was the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Queen in 1986. This picture was taken at Grand Pre, Nova Scotia. I'm holding an Acadian flag and greatly enjoying my two handsome escorts.
I was a DJ in a dance club during my university days. I worked every Saturday night playing 80's dance tunes like Push It and Bizarre Love Triangle. I even won third place in a beat mixing competition. I was the only girl spinning records in the Halifax clubs at the time.
How many books do you anticipate having in the Color of Heaven series? Also, do you anticipate Color of Love and the rest to also release on audio?
Right now (August 2014), I am listening to auditions for narrators for The Color of Love, and hope to get that in the studio by the end of the month. I would predict an October release date for the audio edition. And yes, I plan to do audio editions for all the books in the series. They will likely be released about 45-60 days after the original ebook release, because it takes time to get everything recorded and uploaded for sale.
As far as continuing the series, I can guarantee at least 8 books because I already have the next 2 in the pipeline, available for pre-order, but I suspect there will be more after that, and I don’t want to put a limit on it. It might be 12, it might be 16, it might even be 20, depending on how readers respond to more books. What’s nice about this series for me as a writer is that every book is different. I’m not constrained to one family or one town. I can move around and write about new characters all the time - as the series thread is more about the theme (of real life magic), rather than a specific set of characters or a particular location or overall plot device that needs to be resolved.
Do you plot in advance or write by the seat of your pants?
A little of both. Mostly, I have the main plot points outlined, but everything in between depends on how the characters are feeling and reacting on a scene-by-scene basis. Each day is usually a surprise. When I sit down I have a general idea of what's supposed to happen, but the details and the all-important dialogue are mysteries until I start writing.
How long did it take you to sell your first book? Do you recommend self-publishing?
It took me six years to sell my first book to Harlequin (I sold in 1999). Before that, I wrote four manuscripts that never sold, but spent that time learning the craft and the business of writing. I joined Romance Writers of America, I attended romance writing conferences, belonged to critique groups, entered contests and submitted my work everywhere. I received many rejections but never gave up. Persistence was key.
Today an author has the choice of self-publishing instead of waiting for a publisher to offer a contract. My concern with this is that some authors may not have developed their voice and craft to a high enough level before they leap into self-publishing. It's important to take time to make sure your book is GOOD before you publish. I advise authors to get feedback when they're first starting out and don't rush it.
When it comes to the business side of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, I think self-publishing makes more sense in terms of royalties, speed of publishing, and a gazillion other reasons, but I also understand how some authors can't let go of the dream of selling to a NY publisher. A lot of authors these days are making it big in self-publishing first and then selling to NY. I think that may be a wiser approach, because at least you are in control of your destiny, not just waiting for someone else to drop pixie dust on you when it's convenient for them. As my friend Kelly Boyce says, "I prefer to be the driver of my own bus, not a passenger."