New Adult author J.H. Cardwell discusses her writing inspiration and process – and her dream car.
Tell me a little about your book and what inspired you to write it?
I’ve written many short stories over the years, but I contemplated for a while over a story for my first novel. It turns out, the story hit me as the one from a local newspaper article about a college date rape where the victim didn’t realize she knew the attacker until a year later when he started talking about the incident. I am a sucker for a good love story, and a triumph over a dark past. This series encompasses it all along with a great love triangle. Choices … choices.
When you start writing, do you have the story outlined or do your characters dictate what will happen?
A little of both I suppose. I do have a focused outline of the story and characters with bios. I also, however, let the characters unfold on the paper; therefore, the story changes gears occasionally, veering off the original planned course.
Have you ever had arguments with your characters and who usually wins?
Yes! Of course, I usually win, after all a few strokes of the delete key and I could erase them and they know it! Lol. Sometimes, they have yielded a good argument if in fact their character has dictated how the story ended up changing. When you read Attainment, take a look at John’s character and you will know what I mean. I had the hardest decision on how to end it. John’s character was determined to be remembered and be back for book two! In that case, he definitely won out!
What is one thing about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I would say the fact that I have four kids. However, if you read any write-up about me you would have figured that out right away. So, a surprise I haven’t mentioned might would be my love of animals. While we currently only have a cat for a pet (since we recently moved to the city), I have had at least twenty dogs in my lifetime (and ten cats, birds, geese, a rescued squirrel, fish, crab, hamsters … I could add more, but I see how crazy I sound already).
If you could write with any other author, who would it be?
I LOVE fiction, and romance at that. But one day in the future, I hope to write a book about parenting and how it’s okay to fail and prevail. Both are acceptable qualities, thankfully. I would probably use a therapist/pastor of sorts who is also a parent. I haven’t made it that far in my non-fiction adventures, but I certainly have that as a lofty goal, and I would choose someone with more credentials than I to be a guidance to other parents.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My ambitions were forever changing. One dream that lasted several years was to become an actress like Aileen Quinn in the original Annie. I would run around singing her ‘Maybe’ song and ‘Tomorrow’ all the while pretending to act out different scenes in the mirror.
When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I was part of the Newspaper and Yearbook staff in high school, as well as college. I loved grabbing the attention of the reader then, but I would have to say I started writing poetry at an early, early age. When my first grandparent passed away, I wrote a poem on his behalf. It was both therapeutic for me, and comforting to others. Over the years, that has blossomed into short stories and now novels.
What music inspires your writing?
It truly depends on my mood and the story-line as for what type of music I listen to. There isn’t a genre that I can’t be happy finding a song in. However, many times I just want silence to feed my thoughts.
What is your favourite breakfast?
When I actually take time to eat breakfast, I would say I love eggs and coffee. Otherwise, I grab a double dark chocolate Zone bar as I’m flying out the door.
What is your favourite movie?
I have SO many favorites. I love a good chick flick and I love comedies. My all-time favorite is probably Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze or Steele Magnolia’s with Julia Roberts and Sally Field. I have probably watched them both an excess of thirty times!
What is your dream car?
Oh my! Well, if you read Attainment, you’ll recognize my dream car as Reese’s vintage white jeep with tan leather interior. I may reward myself with one, one of these days. My luxury dream car is a white, convertible, antique Mercedes!
What do we know about Chloe? Well, besides the fact that she is beautiful, blunt,and blithe, she has a secretive past. There’s a reason Chloe doesn’t want to let love into her life. Her childhood friends are all marrying, or happily involved; but, Chloe … she doesn’t let any guy, even Brett, break through her barrier. Will it take the one person she never thought she could forgive to finally tear down her walls and cause her to fall head over heels in love?
Julie Cardwell has spent years in the medical field. The first few as a cardiac specialty nurse, and over the last decade as a pharmaceutical and medical sales representative. She has gathered mounds of experience both personally and professionally to pour into her long-time passion – writing. After years of power points in the corporate world, she is finally pursuing literary fiction/New Adult/Contemporary romance with her first novel, Attainment, and the now released sequel Atonement. The third book in the series, Chloe, will be released in 2014. Julie resides in a small town in NC with her husband and four children.