Julie was born and raised in upstate New York. She married her high school sweetheart and accompanied him on his twenty-year career with the United States Air Force. Presently, she resides in the Pikes Peak region, where she’s a stay-at-home mom enjoying a career writing western historical romance.
Throughout her school years, Julie enjoyed reading and writing. A friend introduced her to the romance genre in the late 80’s and she was instantly hooked, crediting Judith McNaught and Johanna Lindsey as her inspirations to pen her own novels. As she puts it, Ms. McNaught’s voice is flawless and Ms. Lindsey’s Malory family is endearing and addictive. Combining her fondness for horses, John Wayne and the television series, Dallas, Julie has settled into writing about cowboys, outlaws and the ‘old west’.
NOW FROM JULIE
Hello C.E. I’m western historical romance author, Julie Lence. It’s a pleasure to join you on your blog today.
I write western historical romance because I’ve always had a love for horses, cowboys and anything to do with the old west. I grew up watching John Wayne with my dad on Sunday afternoon television. The Duke always made the west look fun and exciting, and his female co-stars had me dreaming of wearing long dresses, living in a ranch house and riding on a stagecoach. But it was Wayne’s swagger and grit, and the way he portrayed the heart of the cowboy on the big screen that endeared me to this genre. To this day, I’m a sucker for Stetsons and a soft-spoken drawl.
Funny, but when I embarked on a writing career, I didn’t begin with western historical romance. My first two works, which are buried in a box in the basement, were contemporary romance; raw 1st drafts that, once finished, I knew weren’t right for me. Something inside hinted I was writing the wrong genre of romance. And then I stumbled onto a piece of advice that said to write what I know and what I love. After much thought, I leaned toward two things; horses and family saga. Dallas was a favorite television show of mine, and combining the love/hate relationship of the Ewing brothers with a ranch house, horses, and an old west setting led to the development of the Weston Family Series.
The road to seeing this series published was long, over ten years. I wrote from the heart, and in a format I thought was correct. It wasn’t. The very talented ladies of a writing group I joined taught me POV, how to show vs. tell, and how to make the characters that much stronger, the plot more deeper and involved. A critique partner gave me honest feedback about the character Royce, and from there I was able to use her intake and create an even better hero. And thanks to one of the members in the group, January 2007 I happened upon a newly formed e-book publisher. She took an interest in my work and me and published the first book in the series, Luck of the Draw. Two years later, Lady Luck was published, and then No Luck At All. During that time, Luck of the Draw and Lady Luck also went to print editions. But then, my publisher took ill and closed shop. I was faced with the decision to either self-publish or find another publisher. I chose to self-publish and haven’t regretted this decision. I am now in complete control of everything, from writing to editing to cover design, and I love it.
To date, I have seven novels published. Thinking up plots and characters isn’t always easy for me, especially the names. For the hero and heroine, if I don’t like their names, I can’t write their stories. I do find the female names come easier to me. The male names; sometimes I use football players for that. Without getting into specific players and teams, I will watch games with an attention to player’s names. One I hope to someday use is Colt McCoy, but more importantly, football players have interesting names. I find that taking a player’s first name and combining it with another player’s last name makes for some great character names. Other times, a name will just pop into my head and I’ll run with it. Such was the case for Roth, and again for Ida Mae. I didn’t know her last name until she opened her mouth and introduced herself as Ida Mae Madison.
As for character’s traits and physical appearances, I do like tall, dark and handsome for my men. But that does get a little boring so I try to throw in a blond, or a man with hair of a longer length. But one thing they all have is common is a muscular physique. For my girls, I love a wide variety or hair and eye color. This held true for my Revolving Point series, but for the Westons, I had established early one that black hair, blue eyes and dimples ran in the family, so there I am somewhat limited on description.
Attitudes are also important. As I stated, I like my men with a lot of physical strength. I also like them to be bold and temperamental on the outside, but sweet and kind on the inside. Cowboys live by a strict code of morals and justice I try to incorporate into the stories, and my outlaws… they were a lot of fun, as I could give them a more broader spectrum when it came to what they said and did. For my girls, I like them to be strong in character and mind and generous of heart. And male or female, I like them to have some sort of weakness or insecurity that needs to be explored and overcome by the end of the story. And sometimes, I’ll give them a quirk the reader wouldn’t expect, such as big, bad outlaw Roth preferring tea to coffee.
As with most of my works, I enjoy incorporating a saloon, the stagecoach and potbelly stoves. Landscape is also important, so if I set my story in an area I’m not familiar with, I do research what the town and land were like back then.
Thank you so much for having me as your guest today, C.E. I always enjoy the opportunity to work with other authors and chat with fans who enjoy reading, whatever the genre.