I think Julia Donner writes the best male characters ever! I like ALL of her lead characters, but when I read her Regency, THE HEIRESS AND THE SPY–if I wasn’t happily married–I’d have wanted me a clone of Peregrine Asterly. But doggone it if she didn’t just keep writing more and more wonderful men. I didn’t see how she could ever outdo herself until I read her historical Western, AVENUE TO HEAVEN, with Jake Williams. Drool worthy. Her newest Regency–the 11th in the Friendship Series–is available for pre-sale now and comes out May 1st. It has all of her usual–wonderful characters, a luscious hero, and wry humor. So I invited her to be a guest on my blog today for a Q&A session. I hope you enjoy it and welcome her.
Q & A for Julia Donner, A Laird’s Promise:
- I never thought about being a writer until I had my two daughters and, as a surprise, my husband signed me up for a class once a week, WRITING FOR FUN AND PROFIT. He wanted me to have some fun, and he picked the perfect thing. I fell in love with writing. You’ve always loved to write, though, haven’t you? When did you get started? And what were some of the first things you wrote?
Julia: I can’t remember when I wasn’t writing. Did the typical angst poetry thing during the teens then got serious about the craft when I had to give up theater. The first thing published was an article, not my forte, but it was romantic and dramatic, about the Monterey Cypress.
- You grew up in Galena, IL, didn’t you? Did you develop your love of history there? What are some of your favorite periods of history? If you could have dinner with one historical character, who would it be?
Julia: Aunt Marie, curator of her own museum, fostered it, made history come alive. I love all history and particularly drawn to 1800’s, ancient Roman & Egyptian and especially applying those two eras to Biblical understanding. Then there’s the whole archeology aspect. I’d love a chat with Jane Austen.
- Your eleven Regency books are part of the Friendship series. Some writers use a setting to connect their books. Lord and Lady Asterly help to connect yours. I was taken by Lord Asterly before I’d finished the first chapters in THE HEIRESS AND THE SPY, and happily, he and his Elizabeth play different parts in most of your novels. Can you explain how that works? How does friendship hold this series together? How are the men in your novels unusual for their time period?
Julia: Asterly has a mysterious air, and Elizabeth is crafty, a bit sly. They have insights and talents as insiders in the political/social climate and offer aid to friends. In every book of the series, an aspect of friendship is realized, sometimes discovered and then strengthened. The series came into being to honor my friends. They’ve always been there when I needed them. It’s one of life’s most precious gifts.
- A LAIRD’S PROMISE takes place in Scotland, for the most part. Why did you choose that for your setting?
Julia: The fascination with Scotland became visceral when I first visited. There is something about the country and people that is very like US Americans. But it’s more than that. Something almost spiritual. The setting was chosen because it fit the characters and the plot. Not a very interesting answer, but that’s why.
5.The book before this was a departure from the Regencies. AVENUE TO HEAVEN was the first book in your new Westward Bound series. It’s historical, too, but tells of the American west. Did you have to do a lot of research to write about a new setting and time period? And what prompted you to write it?
Julia: Working in my aunt’s museum was like living in that time period. A great deal of research was needed about Native American cultures, which tribe would work with the story, its warfare history and cultural aspects. So many inaccuracies about Native Americans thrive to this day that it was important to get it right. I was fortunate to be able to speak with a Lakota tribal historian and find John Stands in Timber’s book.
I was prompted to write this story for reasons too personal to list. It’s the first book I’d attempted and put away for many years after endless revisions. Readers of the rough drafts encouraged it back to life.
- In your blog, you’ve said that you need new challenges to keep your writing fresh, and that’s why you write other genres under M. L. Rigdon. Do you have more Regencies and historical fiction to share with us? Please, say yes.
Julia: The next book in the regency series is To Jilt a Corinthian, released this summer.
Every book has its own atmosphere and some are a bit darker or with aspects of mystery. For a change-up, I like to make the following one brighter with more humor. Here is a partial blurb for Corinthian:
Beatrice Allardyce is too busy for something as inconsequential as marriage. And love? A waste of time when there are so many books to read and a father who needs her care. Getting caught in a compromising situation with the haughty Sir Joceyln Warfield is definitely not a part of her agenda.
😊7. Would you like to share an excerpt from A LAIRD’S PROMISE?
How about the blurb: Secrets from the past stand between Caroline’s determination to protect her mother and the struggle to hold fast to a love society deems above her station. In childhood, she and Alisdair were inseparable, but social rules and obligation to the title he will one day inherit tear them apart. When the truth is revealed, it isn’t Caroline whose station is lesser, but Alisdair, who must regain her trust and connive to bring the only woman he will ever love back home to Scotland.
And thanks Judy/Judi for this blog interview and your unequaled support and friendship!
Thanks for visiting my blog today!
Follow M. L. Rigdon/Julia Donner on Twitter @RigdonML