Q: So, Julie, what is this new novel of yours, The Cupid Business, about?
Julie: It’s about 400 pages, and 100,000 words!
But, seriously, it’s actually about many things. It’s a romantic, comedy novel, written as a sort of a comic monologue with poetry, puns, advice on dating, and at its heart, what I hope is a darn good love story!
Q: Tell us a little more about your main female character, Kate Parkinson.
Julie: Oh, yes, Kate Parkinson. She’s in a bit of a rough place at the beginning of the novel. As the blurb on the back cover of the book says: “Trapped by her demanding, live-in partner, Paul Edmonds on the one hand, and a difficult job as a PA in an insurance company on the other, 37-year old Kate Parkinson has, seemingly, no way to turn.”
I guess a lot of people can feel stuck these days, particularly on the romantic front. However, when it comes to finding love, there is far more choice on the dating scene than ever before. In my day, all we could do is sit and wait by the phone to see if there was going to be another date.
These days, there are so many more opportunities to find love: speed dating, internet dating, matchmaking agencies. And there are so many ways to get in touch: Facebook, texting, instant messaging etc. No wonder, Kate, who suddenly finds herself coming out of a long-term relationship, finds herself overwhelmed at all the options.
Q: So, would it be fair to say that, as well as being a novel, The Cupid Business is actually a bit of a dating manual?
Julie: Well, I guess you could say that. Although I hadn’t intended it to be as such, it was only after I’d read it through for the umpteenth time, that I realised that there is actually a lot of good advice in there for single people looking for love.
Q: Kate’s long-term partner, Paul Edmonds, is a bit of a horror, isn’t he? Is he based on anyone you know?
Julie (laughing): No, thankfully, not at all. All my characters are purely fictional, thank goodness! Can you imagine?
Q: And what about Mark, the romantic lead?
Julie: Alas, he’s pure fiction too. Although I’m sure there are some handsome, single thoracic surgeons out there somewhere!
Q: So where did you get your inspiration to write something like The Cupid Business?
Julie: Well, to paraphrase the famous quote, I guess it was 1 per cent inspiration, and 99 per cent perspiration.
So, in that case, you could say that writing The Cupid Business has been a mixture of love, sweat and tears!
Q: That’s an interesting point. Let’s go through that. Love?
Julie: I wanted to write a novel for the love of writing. I’ve always been a bit of a scribbler but so far it’s been restricted to my blog: short stories, poetry, life writing, articles etc.
My last publication was in 2002 when I edited a book called Vegan Stories for the Vegan Society.
I’ve tried to write a novel many times in the past but usually I’ve got stuck at chapter three, page three. This time, thankfully, I was able to keep going!
I don’t have a plan when I write. I just get some crazy thought in my head first thing in the morning and try and capture it before it disappears.
For The Cupid Business, it was just a question of turning up at my computer every day and waiting to see if the characters turned up and if they had anything to say. Thankfully, they did.
For some reason, I thought a love story would be the easiest kind of novel to write. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Q: Why is that? Is it because of some of the novel’s more racy moments?
Julie: Yes, that was really tough. Personally, I favour the “less is more” approach. When it comes to writing racy scenes, I have to confess I’m less 50 Shades of Grey, more 50 shades of Pink!
One of my proof-readers advised me that the novel was too saucy, another said it wasn’t saucy enough! Hopefully, I’ve redressed that balance now.
Personally, I’d say it was more cheeky than saucy, with a lot of humour thrown in, and allowance for the liberal use of the reader’s imagination.
Q: And, carrying on from your earlier comment, you said the novel involved a lot of sweat?
Julie: Well, yes, it did take 8 years in all to write. Not continuously, of course. I did manage to squeeze in study for an Open University arts degree and a part-time job in that time too.
I imagine most people think the life of a romantic novelist is sitting in a flimsy pink dressing gown, eating chocolates, drinking champagne and dictating words of wisdom to a trusty secretary.
It’s all true apart from the chocolates, champagne and the secretary. A lot of it though was written at my computer while in my dressing gown, so I may, one day, call my autobiography, “Productive in Pyjamas!”
Actually, the hardest part was not so much the writing and the editing, but getting to grips with how to self-publish on Amazon and Kindle. That has been a major learning curve!
Q: Yes, why did you decide to go down the self-publishing route? Didn’t you try sending it out to a publisher first?
Julie: Oh yes, that’s where the tears come in (laughs). I kept on sending it off to publishers and agents and it just kept coming right back at me with a “Thanks, but no thanks” printed rejection slip.
Sometimes, I swear it was on a rubber band, and used to come back to me before I’d even sent it out.
Q: That must have been hard.
Julie: Yes, it was a bit off-putting, especially in the early days. I guess that’s why I kept putting it back on the shelf.
But, thank goodness, for encouragement from friends, and for Amazon and Kindle, which have made self-publishing an affordable reality! Nothing beats the thrill of seeing your own work in print!
Q: So, Julie, after The Cupid Business, what’s next?
Julie: I already have some ideas in the pipeline: a book of short stories, a second novel, and perhaps a book of puns. Hopefully, the next book won’t take 8 years to write!
Q: Thanks for talking to us today and good luck with The Cupid Business.
Julie: Thank you!
The Cupid Business, a romantic comedy novel by Julie H. Rosenfield.
Published on Amazon and Kindle on Valentine’s Day: 14.02.2014.
ISBN-13: 978-1493589661 ISBN-10: 149358966