Sunday, 25 April 2010

An Interview With Julie Church-Romero--By Kurt Chambers

Today I would like to introduce to you a very good friend of mine, Julie Church-Romero. I met Julie in The Young Adult Novel Workshop some years ago where she was an much loved member of our little family of critics. Now she has bloomed into a published author, and I'm so glad to be able to show her off to the world. Hey, look everyone, it's Julie! *points* haha!!

Me: Hi Julie, we are so humbled to have you visit our blog this week. Please make yourself at home while I fire some random questions at you. I with try to be gentle, I promise. *rubs hands*

I know you come from a family of writers, but who would you say was your biggest inspiration in the writing field?

Julie: I took an online class through Writers Digest and had an instructor, Author Bonnie Hearn Hill who was very complimentary toward my writing. I think she was the first real writer that wasn’t family that made me feel maybe I really could get published!

Me: You've had a stab at writing YA with Judy, and you're published in romance, but which genre would be your first choice if you could choose any genre to be published in?

Julie: I really like historical romance or historical fiction. That’s what I feel most at home with writing. I love my YA novel and I haven’t forgotten about Judy, the teenage super hero. She’s still in the wings waiting for me to fill in her plot holes. Maybe if I stick Judy back in time, I’d finally finish her.

Me: That's great! I often wondered what happened to her.

What do you like to read the most?

Julie: It kind of depends on my mood. Crime novels if I’ve had a bad day, romance if I’ve had a good day… I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels for a good laugh, Philippa Gregory for historic. And I love JA Jance’s Seattle Crime novels.

Me: If I made myself comfortable on your side of the bed, and reached over to your bedside cabinet, what book would I find?

Julie: I’m currently reading my friend Eva’s novel, Entirely Yours, as well as a biography on John Lennon and Janet Evanovich’s Finger Lickin' Fifteen.

Me: All us poor unpublished authors are dying to know what it feels like when you receive that first golden acceptance letter. Describe that moment for us and make us all

Julie: I love talking about this! It came by way of email, actually. I had just come home from Los Angeles from visiting my parents. I’ve dreamt of it for so long, I had to read the letter several times before it dawned on me A Soldier’s Embrace had been accepted for publication and I was being offered a contract. And then my husband and I ran through the house laughing and screaming, much to my neighbors' delight. When I received my welcome letter from Bluewood Publishing a couple of weeks later, I framed it and now have it hanging over my computer. I still get giddy when I read it.

Me: Now that you've made it as an author, what is your biggest fear?

Julie: Spiders. I hate them. Little, big, it doesn’t matter.

Me: You big

Julie: Second to that, I’d have to say I fear that second attempt at publication. You know, the whole “first novel a fluke” worry. I wrote a blog on it this week, actually.

Me: Have you got any advice for any up-and-coming authors?

Julie: Believe in yourself and in your writing, and don’t listen to the critic in your head. Just keep sending out your best work and the reward will follow. I’m also a big believer in critic groups. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned from fellow writers like you who care enough to be honest and point out how flaws and plot problems drag your story down.

I have to say that I really want to stress the fact there comes a point where you have to stop editing your novel. It’s NEVER going to be perfect or possibly even finished in your eyes. I’m still wanting to change things and edit A Soldier’s Embrace and the book is published and in paperback! In one word - “LetItGo” Trust me, your editor will get frustrated with you if you keep taking it back to change things.

Me: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Julie: My dream is to have a large following of readers, to have my books in libraries and to be able to quit my 9-5 job and have my writing support me.

Me: Wouldn't that be nice! I'm totally with you on that one.

If you could invite any author (alive of dead) around to your house for tea, who would you invite and why?

Julie: Oh man, so many to choose from. Well, my brother Mike wasn’t an author. He was a producer for a small television station and a comedy writer for radio personalities. He passed away in 2000 from cancer, but I’d love to have him to tea. And toast. He loved buttered toast. It would be wonderful to have an afternoon to ask for his advice and to talk about our favorite episodes of Seinfeld. The Bubble Boy, The puffy pirate shirt, Shrinkage… Dr. Seuss would also be incredibly interesting. I hope the whole tea would be spoken in rhyme.

“Would you like tea with sugar or honey?"

“Oh yes of course, I think you’re so funny.”

I think Janet Evanovich would be a hoot as well. She just sounds like a really fun person.

Me: Awwww, what an awesome answer. Green Eggs And Ham was always my favourite.

Talking of favourites, here is my favourite question. I ask this in all my interviews. If you had one wish, what would it be? And you're not allowed to wish for more't ask me why, I don't make up the wishing rules, haha!!

Julie: World Peace is always good.

Me: *rolls eyes* It's not a Miss World

Julie: Man Kurt, I don’t know! To be honest, I think my wish is just to be a self sufficient writer; an incredibly wealthy self sufficient writer.

Me: Now is your chance to shine. Please tell us all about your awesome novel, A Soldier's Embrace, we are all dying to hear about it.

Julie: A Soldier’s Embrace is set in 1878, on the hostile prairie of the American West, centered in the budding city of Denver Colorado and the harsh plains of Wyoming. Gold rustling, stage robberies and an angry Sioux nation, make Cavalry Lieutenant Eric Ryan’s job difficult enough. Add saving a spoiled kidnapped debutante to the mix and it’s nearly impossible.

Kidnapped from a stage coach, Elizabeth Davenport escapes her gold thirsty captors with her virtue intact, only to find her heart stolen by the dashing Cavalry officer who rescues her. The last thing she expected was to fall in love with a soldier. Though separated by class, her heart can't forget him, nor can her body. When Elizabeth’s father, the President of Denver’s National Bank worries his bank and assay office is going to be robbed, he requests the assistance of the young lieutenant who saved his daughter's life. But Elizabeth’s jealous fiancé, Warren, has other plans for Eric.

Me: Thank you SO much, Julie, for coming to visit us today, it was a real pleasure to share a little piece of your world. We all wish you every success in your writing career. You have worked so hard for this, I know from personal experience, and it's an absolute delight to see one of our YA members doing so well.

Please support our authors, everyone, and visit Julie's sites, join her blog, and more importantly, buy her wonderful book! Please feel free to copy this interview and post it in your blog if you are stuck for something to blog about, or at least give it a mention with a link to this article. It would be very much appreciated by Julie and me. And can I urge all you Tweeters out there to give this a mention to. Thank you so much.

You can find Julie here...


Book site:

Blog site:

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Hooks & Cliffhangers--Kurt Chambers

Is there a secret to writing the ultimate page turner? I'm sure there are many aspects to a novel that bring it into the 'page turner' status, but today I'm going to talk about one of these aspects that, in my humble opinion, is one of the most important. Hooks and cliffhangers are wonderful things and one of the keys to a great novel. If you want your novel to be a real 'page turner' then this is one technique you should try to master.


A hook is something that will capture your reader's attention right from the start of the chapter. Every chapter you write should start with a good hook. This is not something you should use for just your first chapter. Many authors use this method, and normally they reserve their best efforts to the opening chapter of their novel. Having a good hook to draw your reader into the story is a very effective method and something you should use from the start of your book all the way through to the end.

Hooks can come in many forms, depending on what type of story you are writing. Instead of me trying to explain the mechanics of them, let me give you an example of how I use a hook to open a chapter. This is from my new novel, Unknown Reality, which I'm still in the process of writing at the moment. It's a middle grade novel with a mix of fantasy and sci-fi. Please bear in mind that this is a first draft and hasn't been through the editing process yet, so please ignore any mistake you may find. I'm just using this as an example.


Chloe held her breath as the scene before her began to clear. She had never seen anything so spectacular in her whole life. A blanket of stars shone in a pitch-black sky, and a creepy, gray light cast long shadows against the rolling mist that hung just above the ground. When hush spread through the crowd, she could sense the expectation hanging in the air. Chloe craned her neck and fixed her gaze between two large boulders, waiting to see who would appear. The moment lasted forever.

A booming clap of thunder broke the silence. The ground beneath them rumbled with the force of the sound.

Chloe gasped along with everyone else. She squeezed her hands between her knees and let out a giggle despite herself. This was far greater than anything she had expected.

Then from out of the mist, he drifted into view. Dressed all in black, he almost blended into the background. He swept back his greasy hair in an over-exaggerated gesture of defiance.

The crowd reacted immediately and exploded in a barrage of boos and hisses. Chloe joined them, screaming at the top of her voice and shaking her fist.

He ignored their assault with a simple wave of his hand. The crowd fell silent when he spoke, and Chloe swore he held a magical spell over them.

She relaxed and unclenched her fists. This would be the final battle, but she already knew what the outcome would be. The baddie never wins, that’s just the way it is. She glanced at her mum seated next to her. “Bringing me to the theatre was the best birthday present I’ve ever had.”



Now let's talk about cliffhangers. When you end a chapter, there is only one way to do it. Leave the reader wanting more. Leave them on the edge of their seat so they have absolutely no choice but to read the next chapter immediately! Again, you should apply this method to every chapter if you can. Trust me, the reader will never get bored with it. It will drive them on through your novel and leave them never wanting to put it down.

Again, I will use an example from the same chapter of Unknown Reality to show how I use cliffhangers to end a chapter. Please ignore anything that is politically incorrect; first draft, remember!


Memories of his words came flooding back. Chloe shuddered. “I’m going to bed, Mum,” she said, and kissed her on the cheek. “I can barely keep my eyes open.” She forced herself to her feet.

Mum smiled. “Goodnight, darling. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself tonight.”

Chloe wandered to her room and got ready for bed. She lay her head on the pillow and stared at the pink, fluffy dream catcher suspended just above the pine headboard. “What a weird day,” she mumbled to herself as she recalled what the man had said to her. You have the power to control the universe? She huffed. Whatever. She leaned over to get the glass of water from her bedside cabinet, but realised she’d left it on the windowsill. Oh, I can’t be bothered to get up again. With an outstretched hand, she wished she had the power to will the drink next to her.

The glass slid two inches closer along the sill.

She let out a scream.


So, that is the end of my lesson. I hope some of you will find this useful, and more importantly, I hope it inspires you to use hooks and cliffhangers to turn your novels into the ultimate 'page turners'.

If you think this is the kind of story you would like to read, here is where you can pick up a copy...

Unknown Reality Links

To Reviewers:

If you are interested in reviewing this story and posting your review on Amazon for me I will offer a free eBook in a format of your choice. Please contact me via authortruthteller (at) googlemail (dot) com and put 'UR Review' in the subject line.

And don't forget! 

I still have two other popular fantasy novels for your pleasure and book one in the series is free in all good book stores. If you like my stories, could I please ask you to leave a review on Amazon for me. Reviews for us indie authors are very important in attracting other readers.


Thursday, 8 April 2010

On A Mission--Kurt Chambers

I want to be published! No, I REALLY want it! I suspect I'm not alone on this mission, and that is a very appropriate word 'mission'. It almost seems like an impossible mission at times, and the way things stand with the recline in the publishing industry, it still could be for a few years yet. The bottom line is, none of the major publishers are prepared to invest huge amounts of cash on new authors. Okay, it's a fair comment. They are just a business like any other business, and they do still have to stay afloat with dwindling sales, so they are playing it safe. But that doesn't help me!

So, what should I do? I have this wonderful novel that needs to be shared with the world. Well, I could go down several roads on my mission. I could continue submitting to publishers/agents and hope that one of them will see the potential in my work. The downfall with this is each time I receive a rejection letter, that's one more publisher or agent I have to strike off my list.I could wait until the market picks up and start again, but that may take years. I could give up on traditional publishers and get my book e-published, or it's even possible for me to give it away, that is always an option. That will at least get my name in the frame.

Decisions, decisions!

I'm still undecided, but in the meantime there is still plenty I can do. Writing more novels is the obvious answer, and improving the novels I already have. They can always be better, right? There is also the marketing side of things. Networking and promoting myself as an author is something I can always do. You don't have to be a published author to promote yourself to a world of readers out there.

It's not easy being a writer. I could honestly say it's one of the hardest things I have ever done. What would life be though without a challenge?