Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m so happy to bring you Julie Coulter Bellon. Julie writes action-packed military suspense! One of the reviews on her Amazon page for her latest release is titled “Really Intense”. I love fiction like that! AND — Julie is giving away a copy of her latest release, THE CAPTURE. Read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: A little about me? Hmm…I’m Julie Coulter Bellon, wife, mother of eight, and author of more than a dozen books. I’m Canadian, married to an American, and definitely have the best of both worlds. (Can you say two Thanksgivings every year? Win for everyone I think.) I have six boys and two girls, and my life is never boring. I love to travel and my favorite places I’ve visited so far would probably be Crete, Paris, London, and Ottawa. I would really love to see Hawaii someday. And Scotland. And Australia. Well, you get the idea. My claim to fame is that I got to meet Princess Diana when I was twelve years old. When I’m not writing, you can find me reading, playing with my kids, eating Canadian chocolate, or watching Hawaii Five-O, not necessarily in that order.
Tell us about your current release: My current release is The Capture. It’s about the head of an elite task force named Julian, whose girlfriend is snatched by an international terrorist at the same time Julian is buying an engagement ring. He uses every resource he has to find her and get her back, but when he does, they have a long journey ahead of them to put the pieces of their love story back together. There are emotional conversations and dealing with some darkness, but the thing I like best about this story is there’s always hope, always light, and the possibility for healing is within reach, but they have to grab for it. And that’s what keeps us all going in the end, isn’t it?
Have you always wanted to write? I always wanted to write and won second place in a writing contest when I was in second grade. That cemented my dream of being a writer. I graduated with a secondary education English teaching degree, I taught journalism, and wrote my first novel. It was rejected by all the publishers I submitted it to, and I was so sad! I put it under my bed and tried to tell myself that my dream wasn’t going to happen. It was over. But a year later, I dusted off that manuscript, made some changes and tried again, and received an offer within ten days. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time wallowing in self-pity and just tried again!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors? My advice to aspiring writers is this: The only difference between an unpublished writer and a published one is that one didn’t give up. I really believe that! Never give up. Find a genre you feel strongly about, finish a manuscript, find a writers group that will give you an honest critique, and figure out the best publishing path for you and your book. It can be a long hard road, but very worth it.
What medium do you use to write? I usually combine writing on my computer, but I change it up with writing in a notebook. It’s a thing from my journalist days, I think, that I can gather thoughts and dialogue a little easier with a pen and paper. And if my notebook isn’t handy, I’ve also been known to write on programs, napkins, boxes, whatever a pen can write on. I’ve learned to keep notepads close by wherever I go.
What were some of your favorite childhood books? My favorite books series when I was a girl was Nancy Drew! I read every single book there was, and my favorites were read over and over. I also enjoyed the Bobbsey Twins and Hardy Boys, but Nancy was my go to.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? The things I’ve treasured most about being a writer is the people that I’ve met and who have been good enough to send me letters telling me what my stories meant to them. One woman wrote a letter about how her daughter had been touched my domestic violence and my story Love’s Broken Road gave her hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and happiness can still be part of your life when you’ve lived through something like that.
One of my most tender experiences, though, was when I had a Marine and his platoon answering my author questions so my military aspect for Iraq and Afghanistan could be realistic. They would come back to camp after defusing roadside IEDs and were good enough to go through all my research questions. During this time, they mentioned that they missed candy from home, like Skittles, and that they sometimes felt forgotten by people at home. I resolved then that at all my book signings, I would collect food and hygiene items for our soldiers, but especially Skittles, and I named it Skittles for Soldiers. I collected over 900 lbs of food and other needed items for our men and woman overseas because I never wanted them to feel unappreciated or forgotten. An older gentleman came to a book signing and watched me for a minute before he approached. He had a hat on that told me he’d served in the military at one point in his life. His eyes filled with tears and all he said to me was thank you, but as I shook his hand, I cried, too, and thanked him for his sacrifices and service.
So, a very long answer to your question is yes, I would write a book even if it only helped one person, but really, that one person is probably me. I have changed and my heart has grown so much with my experience being an author. And it’s so worth it.
Find Julie online:
Julie is giving away a copy of THE CAPTURE! See how you can win below.
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nice advice to share
How do you get people (men) to take you seriously when asking research questions for a romance? Especially if you are not published but hope to be?
Love that you do Skittles for Soldiers! That is so cool!
Thank you bn100!
Janice Laird, most professionals are happy to help an author, especially if you present yourself in a professional way. A lot of times you don’t even have to mention what genre you write, just that you are doing research for a book. Hope that helps!
Thank you so much, Vicky. It’s an honor to show our military men and women that they are valued and remembered.
Skittles for Soldiers is a great idea. How do you know where to send the items?
Thanks, Sherri! At the time, I partnered with the Red Cross to get my Skittles for Soldiers items shipped overseas. I’m told there are several programs for military care packages that you can donate to in most states now.
Julie, I love your heart for our military! May we always cover them with prayer and never take their sacrifice for granted.
i haven’t read any of your books yet, but i plan on it soon!
Thank you, Caryl, I completely agree!
Tammy, let me know what you think!
A great interview thank you.
Mary, I really enjoyed it! Thanks for your comment.