Here is an interview with Julie Gianelloni Connor:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in the country, very much a ranch girl, but ended up having an international career with the U.S. Department of State, serving as a diplomat for 33 years. I retired in 2014, and in 2019 I launched my writing and publishing the second career.
How many hours a day do you write?
I spend many hours each day on my computer, but much of that time is devoted to running my micro-press rather than writing a book or essay.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I am working on two books, and have several others in mind.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I am a quick writer, once I focus on doing the writing. I usually take my time, though, interspersing writing the book with many other tasks. So, I’d say it takes me about six months to finish a manuscript.
Where did you get the idea for your most recent book “The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise”?
Many years ago, I wrote a small book for my adopted son about his adoption because I couldn’t find anything suitable on the market. During the pandemic, when I couldn’t travel to research my next book, I checked Amazon to see if there was any suitable book available in 2020. There still wasn’t, so I decided to write one.
How did you develop your plots? How do you select the names of your characters?
I mainly write nonfiction, so I don’t have plots so much as organizational challenges: how to order the chapters to be most appealing. My second book is fictional, but based on a nonfiction process (adoption), so the order was established. As for names, I pull them out of the air.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
For 33 years I was a U.S. diplomat. I had to write every day on that job, but it was writing for the job—memoranda, briefing notes, speeches for the ambassador, reports to Washington, and so forth. So, my work, both then and now, has been written as a major element of what I do.
How did you get inspired to write “The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise”?
When I found out that there still, after some 30 years, was no book that adoptive parents could read to their children to explain what adoption was about, I decided to write one. My goal was to help adoptive families.
What is your favorite childhood book?
All of the Nancy Drew mysteries.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
I love reading fiction, but I mainly write nonfiction. I think a lot of “literary fiction” is overrated.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a second book about the Camino de Santiago, this time about doing a horseback pilgrimage.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes, I read them all. The good ones give me a boost and encourage me to keep writing. As for the bad ones, I try to think about whether the criticism has merit or not. Sometimes the criticism is not actually a criticism at all, or is so off the mark I wonder if the reviewer actually read the book. For example, one recent reviewer on Amazon gave my book one star and said she was “very disappointed” because I didn’t exclusively walk the Camino. Duh, correct! The subtitle, “It’s the Pilgrimage, Not the Walk,” tells readers that information before they even read one page. One of the messages of my book is that pilgrims should not feel obliged to walk every step. So, the review might actually serve a positive purpose in telling readers who are focused on the mechanics (walking) and not the experience (the pilgrimage) that this is not the book for them.
I know and am friends with a lot of authors here in Texas, including a critique group of writers. My critique group is extremely helpful in giving me feedback on drafts.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Just do it. We all talk ourselves out of writing by thinking of many reasons why we should write—no one will like the book, no one will buy the book, it’s a niche book, etc. An author has to self-encourage.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Any money I spend on buying books is money well spent.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Getting my ideas and thoughts out to the world.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I hope to have my third book out this year.
I have two websites, one an author website and one a publisher website, plus seven social media accounts. The best and most direct way to get in touch with me is just to email me at my publishing house: Julie@BayouCityPress.com
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The “Meet the Author” section on your website presents to your audience many authors they otherwise probably would not come across. Bravo for giving authors a chance to connect with a different audience!