Let’s start at the beginning. I read my first romance novel when I was 21, after I had completed a degree in English Literature and was burnt out from reading heavy classics for three years. It was my own fault of course. Novel study had always been my favorite part of my degree (as opposed to poetry or plays), so in my final year, I foolishly signed up for too many novel courses and found myself in the impossible situation of having to read a “big” classic almost every week. Needless to say, I needed a break, and my cousin (and future critique partner) Michelle handed me a very appetizing-looking book and said, “Here, try this.” It was “Dawnfire” by Lynn Erickson, which I devoured in two days. I’ve been hooked on romance ever since.
Looking back on it now, I realize that my heart was always destined for a love affair with the romance genre, though at the time I didn’t know it. And my decision to major in English was largely due to a dark and brooding hero named Rochester, which makes Charlotte Bronte my most effective guidance counselor ever.
After two years of trying to find myself after graduation - or rather, trying to find a career that would make me happy - I decided I should have a real job so I went back to university to study something practical: Accounting. I completed a degree in Business Administration and went to work for the Office of the Auditor General with the Canadian government, while I continued to work towards a Chartered Accountancy designation.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t cut out to be an auditor. I just didn’t care enough about those numbers matching up. That’s when I decided to try to write a romance, because hey, it had to be easier than Corporate Income Tax, right? (I was wrong, but that’s another story....)
So I sat down a month before my wedding and wrote the first paragraph of a book that never sold, which took me a year to write because I was lugging my laptop home from work and doing it only on the weekends (while avoiding studying for my Corporate Income Tax course).
Romance Writers of America came into the equation shortly after I finished that first book. I saw best-selling author Jo Beverley on a local television show in Ottawa where I was living at the time, and she was president of a romance writers’ group. I called the number on the screen right away, and that’s when my education really began, and my goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant began to fade. Quitting that career path -- after so many years invested -- was a tough thing to do, but my husband, bless his heart, was supportive and wanted me to be happy.
I quit my job, took a whole year off to do nothing but write and learn, then we moved and bought a house and a baby was on the way, so I took another year off and finished yet another manuscript (two weeks before going into labor) and that manuscript, I’m happy to say, did sell. Prairie Bride was my first published novel. I’ve been a happy, fulfilled stay-at-home Mom and a devoted romance writer ever since.
Julianne graduates from Windsor Regional High School.
(I still had braces on my teeth at the prom.)
Julianne graduates from University of King's College With a degree in English literature.
(I had no idea where to go from there.)
Julianne experiments with different career paths. (I was a bank teller, a cosmetics sales rep, a disc jockey, a harbor boat tour guide, office manager of said harbor boat, a jewelry store clerk...searching, searching for my calling.)
Julianne graduates from Acadia University with a degree in Business Administration majoring in Accounting. (Was it my calling? Um, no.) Julianne goes to work for the federal Office of the Auditor General and works toward becoming a Chartered Accountant.
Julianne gets married.
(I started writing my first romance novel a month before my wedding.)
Julianne tells boss she's quitting to write a romance novel. Boss shakes head.
Julianne sells her first novel to Harlequin.
(It was Prairie Bride, set in a sod house in Kansas.)
Julianne moves to Avon with her first British-set Historical.
(It was To Marry the Duke—the start of my American Heiress series.)
Julianne is nominated for two Rita Awards at Romance Writers of America Conference.
(To Marry the Duke and Adam's Promise. My daughter sat on my lap while they were announcing the winners.)
Julianne hits the USA Today Bestseller list for two weeks with AN AFFAIR MOST WICKED, the second book in the American Heiress series, and peaks at #103.
In My Wildest Fantasies (the first book in the Pembroke Palace series) is released.
Julianne is nominated for a third Rita Award.
(The book was Surrender to a Scoundrel, and my agent and her husband took me out to dinner before the ceremonies.)
Julianne accepts offer from St. Martins Press to write a Scottish Highlander trilogy.
Julianne delivers the third book to fulfill the three-book contract, and awaits the release of all three books in 2011.
Julianne writes short story "The Rebel" for the anthology: MAMMOTH BOOK OF SCOTTISH ROMANCE.
Julianne launches new website and turns in proposal for a new trilogy.