Today I'm excited to interview Jules Barnard, author of the New Adult novel, DEEP BLUE, out March 11th. Plus check out her awesome giveaway at the bottom of the post.
Why did you start writing NA?
I completed a New Adult in 2009 before anyone knew what New Adult was, including me. I loved YA, but I couldn’t figure out why the characters never aged beyond sixteen or seventeen. I learned after I completed and edited my first manuscript that the publishing industry didn’t think New Adult stories would sell. You would think I had learned my lesson, right?
I went back to the drawing board, performed digit stretches, a few ass lunges so my butt wouldn’t go numb during the long haul, and prepared to write the next best YA—and ended up with another New Adult.
I liken my attempt at aging my characters up or down to completing a course of Advanced Calculus freshman year of college. In short, I hated Calculus so much it drove me a smidge insane (so sayeth my roommate at the time), and so I dropped it—which I thought would completely screw me, and I would end up scooping ice-cream with my future degree-that-didn’t-require-calculus.
My second New Adult book received attention in contests, but no love from agents and editors, because—you know—they weren’t considering New Adult. Are you noticing a stubborn streak?
I went against the best advice of my writer friends and secretly wrote yet another New Adult, but by that time, something in the air had shifted. Books like Fifty Shades of Gray, Beautiful Disaster, and Easy had come out, sparking a new trend. Suddenly, agents and editors weren’t so opposed to college-aged heroes and heroines and actively sought New Adult manuscripts.
The funny thing about not completing that calculus course is that I went on to obtain a Master’s in public health and became an epidemiologist specializing in biostatistics—math, people! Can you believe it? Well, I continued to write my third New Adult story from the comfort of my closet. A week after I finished, I had multiple offers of representation from agents.
I thought I was doomed to fail if I stuck with New Adult, but my heart kept leading me that way, so I followed it. And here I am, debuting as a self-published New Adult contemporary romance writer with the book that got me an agent in under a week. Which leads me to believe in this business, you need to do what feels right.
What is your favorite thing about writing NA?
Young adults in the eighteen to twenty-three age range have all this freedom and power to control the direction of their future, which leaves soooo many opportunities to get into trouble. Or make wonderful, madly exciting discoveries about themselves. It is even more fun to write about them, especially in fiction where we make up characters and have them do all the scary things we weren’t willing to try at the time.
What advice would you give writers interested in self-publishing? What lessons have you learned from your own experience?
Oy. I’m not sure I’m at the stage where I can give advice, but looking back at my writing career, the best thing I did was wait until I had learned my craft before attempting to self-publish. On that same note, I also recommend waiting to submit to agents and editors until you have your craft down. Join professional writers groups like RWA (thank you, Virna DePaul, for that bit of advice), find critique partners you can grow with, take classes on writing, and read. I don’t think you have to read in your genre all the time, but you should know it, and you should read gobs from different genres and categories to be able to say what’s working in a story and what isn’t.
What are some of your favorite things about self-publishing?
Control, mwhahahaaa. I’m like an evil scientist over here spinning my tales and making decisions in writing that aren’t necessarily proven yet in traditional publishing. Plus, I like the idea of ixnaying an ugly cover. No one wants a crappy cover on their baby.
What are some of the challenges?
Footing the bill for professional, outstanding people needed to get your book in top shape and out into the world. Also, stress. So many decisions! But I think I feel less of this because I have an agent. She helps steer me in the right direction.
What inspired you to write Deep Blue?
I spent a summer during college working in one of the casinos in Lake Tahoe. It was total culture shock to work as a cocktail waitress and to be on my own, paying for everything, making good money, meeting crazy people. I LOVED it. It was a great experience, and I wanted to plop my characters into a similar environment and see how they did. They partook in many more shenanigans than me, but because of my experience at the casino, I had a unique world with which to draw.
Tell us a bit about your hero/heroine.
Cali is outspoken and over confident almost to a fault, but she is ultimately this sweet person who deeply loves her friends and family. Her problem is that she thinks she knows what’s best for them, which gets her into trouble.
Jaeger is an ex Olympic-track athlete who had to make a complete turnaround after he lost his athletic career. He had a crush on Cali back in high school, during his career heyday, when he was too immature to do anything about it. Now he knows what he wants. Only, Cali is already in a relationship she thinks is great.
Jaeger returns into Cali’s life, and her confidence falters. She’s not so sure about her choices, which cracks her self-esteem, as it was built on knowing it all.
What do you have coming up next?
The next book in the Blue Series, Blue Crush, releases at the end of May and features two characters from Deep Blue, Genevieve and Lewis. Gen is Cali’s best friend, and the unfortunate soul who Cali decides to set up while they’re in Lake Tahoe. Lewis is a business owner and Tahoe native in a complicated relationship. Gen should stay away from Lewis, because he represents everything she’s trying to escape, but she ends up training with him for Tahoe’s gritty Alpine Mudder, an endurance race filled with extreme obstacles. Spending time alone with Lewis tests her self-control and has her fighting her body’s attraction, while her mind and heart aren’t far behind.
About Author Jules Barnard
Jules is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended UC Davis, whose college landscape often finds its way into her New Adult novels. She has a Master’s degree and spent many an hour running statistical analysis, until she realized her favorite part of the job was writing reports. She decided to cut out the math and add in some hot guys, and so began her career as a novelist.
Jules is a Northern California native living on the coast with her husband and two children. She has no impulse control around cupcakes and credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.
Web address: www.julesbarnard.com
Blurb: Deep Blue (Blue Series, Book #1)
When Cali Morgan kicks off her perfect post-college summer in Lake Tahoe, she has everything she ever wanted: acceptance into a top law program, a gorgeous boyfriend, and an incredible summer planned with her best friend.
Confident about her place in the world, Cali makes it her mission to be her friend’s wingwoman and help her meet guys. What Cali doesn’t count on is running into Jaeger Lang, one of her older brother’s high school friends, or the sparks that fly when she’s around him.
Jaeger has changed, and it’s not just the added height and muscle. There’s something about him that’s deep and a little scarred. In spite of the changes, Jaeger becomes a top pick for her friend—if Cali can keep her hands off him.
But when Cali’s boyfriend dumps her and her carefully laid plans begin to unravel, she finds herself questioning what it is she truly desires. In the midst of doubts about her future, one thing is very clear: she wants Jaeger for her own. The question is, has her friend already fallen for him?
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AND check out this awesome giveaway from Jules: