When I first wrote Kindling Flames, I never intended to publish it. It was supposed to be a cute little story to entertain my sister while she was deployed. I wrote one chapter a day and emailed it to her so she would have something to do in her down time. I was really surprised when she started sending my ramblings off to her friends and they started emailing me asking where they could get the rest of the book. It was only after the book was finished and people were asking for the second story that I decided to try publishing it. Heck, it couldn’t be that hard… oh how wrong I was.
I had absolutely no clue how to go about publishing a book, so I hopped online and started researching.
I polished up my work, drew up a smashing query letter, and sent my baby off to the biggest name in paranormal fiction sure they would love it. Everyone else that had picked it up did.
While I waited for my acceptance, I got online and read up on publishing and novels. I found a mind boggling amount of information out there, but there was one fact that dashed my hopes of being published—a debut novel was usually fifty thousand words long. Kindling Flames clocked in at a hefty one hundred and eighty thousand words.
After months of fretting and praying, I got my answer back. A badly copied form rejection, but by that time, it was what I expected. After crying my eyes out, I went to work on my book. I whittled our words left and right, taking out over thirty thousand words, but the final draft was still over a hundred and fifty thousand words long. Any more and I was cutting into plot line and character development.
Finally deciding to go with that, I sent the book off again, just to get another rejection. Again and again I sent it out for more rejections. I tried to find an agent to promote my book, but none would touch it. After two years, I came across, Rising by Holly Kelly. It was in a similar theme as Kindling Flames, so I packed my hefty manuscript up and sent a sample in to Clean Teen/Crimson Tree Publishing with little hope.
I was flabbergasted when they actually emailed me back requesting a full manuscript. Sure that they would take one look at the length and turn me away, I sent the book off to them. Thankfully, Melanie Newton got her hands on it and blew through the story. She loved it and brought it to the ladies at CTP and told them that Kindling Flames was the vampire story they had been looking for.
After much debate, it was decided that we would cut the manuscript in half and publish it as two parts. I wasn’t really happy about having to put a cliffhanger in the first book, but that scene was the only place where the story could be split. Otherwise, the book would have been insanely massive.
After that things became a whirlwind of activity. Cover art, editing, promotions, and a plethora of other things that I had no idea went into publishing. I was never big into social media, but I learned to use Twitter and Facebook to connect to fans and other authors. We’ve had a few bumps and scrapes along the way, but the girls of CTP were right there to handhold me through the trials of a new author. I’m glad I found them, and I look forwards to putting out many new books with these wonderful ladies.
I have to say, my favorite part about being an author is seeing where the characters in my world will take me. Most of the time I know what’s going to happen, or where the story should end. But there’s the bit in the middle when one sideline character decides that they are going to give themselves a bigger role and runs off with the story for a while. Or a scene woven in whimsy turns into a major plot development. And the best part is getting to share that ride with other people. It always makes me happy to hear that someone got lost in my stories. To bring a little joy to people’s lives or give someone an escape, even for a few hours, that’s the real pleasure in writing.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Lunch with a literary character, and only one… that’s hard. I guess I would have to pick Sherlock Holmes. I love a man with a sharp mind. We would probably have tea and scones and talk about all manner of things that would make my head spin.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
I’m really bad at this. I like movies, but actors and faces don’t really stick in my head. I had talked with a friend of mine about this, but, for the life of me, I can’t remember who we decided on. Going back over it again, I think Nathan Fillion would do a good job as Darien. And I think Maggie Grace could pull off a convincing Victoria.
Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?
I definitely prefer my vampires as sexy leads, but you must remember, deep down inside they still thirst for blood.
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
Another excellent and hard question. I would love to go back and see England in the age of castles, between 1300 and 1500. I loved going and seeing the old ruins of the castles in England. It would be wonderful to explore life in them during their hayday, and then right back home to a nice bath and my internet.
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
Take the time to treasure those people around you. Too many times I passed up chances to spend time with those I loved. Even if they make you mad, love your family. You will miss them when they are gone.
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
Dragon. I want to fly. And breathing fire on things that make me mad would be an added bonus.
Where do you write best?
Most of my work was done in a nice comfy rocking chair in my living room. I got a little wooden folding table I can pull right up into my lap and escape into the worlds I create.
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
Hawaiian Mythology by Martha Beckwith. It reads like a textbook, probably because it was put out by the University of Hawaii Press, but there is some really great information about the way the Hawaiian people see the world. It’s research for a project I’m working on. There’s a possibility that some of our main characters might go visit the islands.
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
I don’t know how to answer this question. I chose to write about vampires because that’s what my sister asked for. I’ve also done fanfiction, a contemporary dragon book, historical fantasy, a touch of horror, contemporary romance, and even a bit of what my mother calls smut. My sister usually gives me the themes for my stories. She’s out defending our country, so when she asks for something, it’s the least I can do to write it for her. My next project is going to be a record of family stories for my grandmother. After I’ve finished that, my sister wants me to delve into mermaids. Only time will tell if any of my other endeavors will be worthy of publishing.
Where can fans find you online?
If you had told me three years ago that I would have fans, I would have laughed. Now, I’m kind of overwhelmed by the prospects. Anyone who wants to reach me can find me at www.JulieWetzel.com, on Facebook at Julie Wetzel Author, or on Twitter @JulieKWetzel.