Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Julie Carobini writes seaside novels filled with faith, flip flops and waves of grace. This summer she celebrates the release of her fourth novel, A SHORE THING (B&H Publishing Group). Julie blogs, owns an online store——and runs on the beach (when her bum knee cooperates). She lives with her husband Dan and three children on California’s central coast.

When did you decide to be a writer?

As an avid pre-teen Nancy Drew reader, I don’t really remember ever not wanting to be a writer. I began writing articles for publication when my first child was born about 19 years ago, and also wrote a couple of romance novels that didn’t sell. But as they say, third time’s a charm, and my debut novel, Chocolate Beach, released in 2007. By that time, I had a renewed faith in God as well as a redefined focus on the kinds of stories He was leading me to write.

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

I thought a lot about my answer to this because trusting oneself as a writer is a process that takes time and practice. My first published novel came about as a result of a mentoring group at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s conference. The first 20 pages of the manuscript were critiqued there and I learned the art of accepting face to face criticism. Yowza. Tough to do, but oh so worth it. That group, led by Randy Ingermanson, helped me fix parts of the manuscript, but also proved the subjectivity of critiquing. I learned to be teachable, but also to disagree with some suggestions and go with my instinct.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

When I’m on deadline, I’m very disciplined. With three kids on different schedules, I have to write each day to get that word count in, and often, that means shutting down email/Facebook/Twitter! When I’m not on deadline, it’s amazing how much time I can waste…

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

You know, this is so important for writers. I have to force myself to take those breaks, but when I do—wow!—I’m almost always mentally recharged and ready to hit the writing again. I live near the beach, so my favorite respites take place on the sand. Often with my dog, a dose of prayer…and a hot latte.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

I love The Secret Garden because both the characters and landscare are so rich. It’s as if I can see the characters expressions, hear the creak of the garden gate, and smell the mix of new growth and withering vines beyond the crumbling wall…

I LOVE that book, too! So tell me, how do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

When I’m stuck, I often take one of my favorite books outside and get lost in it for awhile. Stirs up the creativity! Reading all kinds of writing can also provide a terrific education. I’ve read a couple of writing books that I can recommend, but usually I learn best by reading and analyzing the work of great storytellers.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

A Shore Thing is the story of Callie Duflay and her fight to stop a huge development from taking over her beloved beach front town of Otter Bay – even as romantic sparks fly with Gage, the architect on the job. Full of small town politics, quirky characters, craggy tidepools—and romance!

Where did you get your inspiration for A SHORE THING?

I’ve been fascinated by my brother, Daniel Navarro’s, career as a certified green architect, and I started to think about how his work honors God. I became equally fascinated thinking about how a person in his position could be in direct conflict with someone of the same mind, but who approaches their beliefs in a different way. Enter Callie, an eco-conscious gal who loves God, children, and the open land of Otter Bay. I kept wondering how these two could find ‘common ground’ and that was the seed for the story.

Which character is most like you?

Hmm. I’d say Callie because she’s passionate—but doesn’t always think before she speaks!

Who is your favorite character and why?

I love them all, but just thinking about Moondoggy, Callie’s adopted stray pet, makes me smile.

Did you know how A SHORE THING would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

Not initially. As the plot moved along and the characters became more and more boxed in, I kept doing research on various ideas that sprung up. I’m pleased with the way it turned out!

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

First, I hope readers are entertained. I hope they get lost in the setting…that they draw in the scent of pine mixed with the ocean breeze, and sense the brisk wind licking their cheeks. But I also hope that readers perceive the bigger picture that God has in store for those who love and follow him. For our hero and heroine, Gage and Callie, giving up is hard to do. I hope A Shore Thing demonstrates that no matter what our particular will in a situation is, the only way to be truly wise is to build our lives on the rock (see Matthew 7:24).

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

The sales & marketing team at B&H Publishing group is da bomb. They have worked with me to get my novels into all kinds of stores, especially in my local area or areas where I’ve traveled. I’ve followed up by visiting many of those stores, bringing ‘thank you’ chocolates for the staff and bookmarks for the readers. It’s been a win-win-win, I think. Of course, I also connect with readers via social networking sites, my occasional e-newsletter, and my blog. I love receiving letters from readers!

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’ve completed the third book in the Otter Bay series of stand alone novels, and I’ve already seen the beautiful cover! Fade to Blue is the story of Suz, a character who appears in A Shore Thing, and her journey to independence.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Just that God took all the lows and highs in my life and created something new with them. Believe me when I tell you that I had no plans of my own to write beach-themed novels one day. I just kept praying and writing and seeking until an idea popped into my head. I followed that idea, and now find myself editing my fifth novel filled with ‘waves of grace’. Hope that encourages someone!
Thank you, Julie for stopping by The Borrowed Book!
Now, want more? Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from A Shore Thing by Julie Carobini.


  1. This is a great interview! It was so nice to get to "meet" you, Julie. :) Your faith and words of encouragement are inspiring, and your books sound great!

    God bless!


  2. Thanks for having me here today, Elizabeth. And thank you Amber for such kind comments!
    --Julie C

  3. I loved this interview! Although it really makes me want to take a trip to the beach! I can just hear the seagulls. :)
    Thanks for all the great advice!

  4. I miss the beach. Great interview.



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