Dr. MacLean: Hi! I’m married to Julianne MacLean, and she generally writes historical fiction for St. Martin’s Press (with three Highlander romances out this year) and also recently published a contemporary mainstream book under the pseudonym E.V. Mitchell called The Color of Heaven, and also a time travel romance back to the Wild West called Taken by the Cowboy. It’s been a busy year for her!
Dr. MacLean: Yes to all the above. My day job is as an MD. I work with the Federal government in Canada as a staff physician, and also do some OR assisting evenings and weekends. I’ve always been athletic, and competed in various sports including triathlon, volleyball, mountainbiking and running. These days I still run the occasional half-marathon, bike through the woods in Nova Scotia, and am working on grading for a brown belt in karate next month if all goes well.
My wife’s creativity has rubbed off on me. I’ve also been a freelance writer for the past ten years, and have numerous writing and photography credits in a handful of different magazines/newspapers. I’ve written a documentary for the CBC on Titanic’s so-called “Unknown Child”, and am currently co-writing a feature screenplay for which we have development funding from Telefilm Canada.
I also co-own a production company, and we have finished some short films (including both of Julianne’s book trailers which are viewable on her website), the above documentary and currently working on and busy pitching various feature film projects in development. I hope to adapt one of Julianne’s books for the big screen one of these days.
Dr. MacLean: I met her at Frosh week at our university; I was part of a group of upperclassmen who decided to throw young women into the icy cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We threw Julianne in, I felt bad for her, especially since she looked like she was hyperventilating and about to drown, so I stayed to make sure she was OK. She appreciated that…
We were friendly after that, but didn’t see each other much after university, until we met eight years later at a video store on a Friday night. We hit it off, she recommended a movie to watch (Jacob’s Ladder), and we decided to meet with friends a few days later at a bar, and hit it off even more… and the rest, as they say, is history.
Dr. MacLean: I was home and she called me from the RWA conference in 1999 to tell me that Harlequin was buying her book. She was an unpublished author at the time, so it was amazing for her and created a lot of buzz. The fact she heard for the first time at such a great conference was definitely a bonus. It took her six years to sell that first book (called Prairie Bride), so we were both REALLY happy. She’s done well since then, too.
Dr. MacLean: I want to say (a), but really, since I don’t carry a massive sword, don’t have massive pecs and rippling biceps, nor do I spend my time lopping off people’s heads off, probably more a combination of b and d (hehe).
Dr. MacLean: I tend to be more charming in a family pet sort of way, so I’ll have to say d…
d) A gathering of lords and ladies.
Dr. MacLean: definitely b… though a close second is d, Julianne has written a lot about lavish British balls in her Regency and Victorian period romance novels, and we’ve watched a number of period movies involving the aristocracy, most of which I do enjoy.
Dr. MacLean: Since 1994 or so when Julianne first started writing seriously. As far as general advice, get ready for a number of questions at parties that usually involve an added “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” at the end of it.
Example: “Where does your wife do her research (snicker, snicker)? Is it from you?” Make sure you have some quick-witted answers ready to go, or a simple “of course” usually works for me and gets a few laughs (hehe).
Otherwise, it’s a tough road and not easy to get published or to keep publishing and write stories that are fresh and that people want to read. It takes commitment and discipline to do what she does day after day, week after week. It is a job for her, one that she loves, and beats being an office zombie.
As far as deadline times, I strongly advise to offer as much support as possible: take over meals, replenish the coffee mug, walk the dog, do the dishes, do the cooking, wash the clothes and don’t complain about minor issues.
Dr. MacLean: See my response above… as an aside, I wrote an article that was published several years ago that discussed my wife’s profession and some of the more unusual comments and questions that I have gotten… if I can find it, I can share with you. It was rather funny.
Dr. MacLean: Probably the hero’s wimpy man-servant or the skinny, awkward gardener, or maybe even an aristocrat’s family dog (hehe).
Dr. MacLean: She used to be a DJ at one of Halifax’s trendiest bars during her university days. She was the only woman in a regional DJ competition, where she was beat-mixing with three turntables (yes it was a few years ago). She came in third.
Dr. MacLean: Wow, with five books out this year, that should be a tough one… actually, I think the The Color of Heaven is her best book yet for my tastes. It is more mainstream, it’s very emotional, there are some parts that are inspired by true events in our lives, and it was a very inspiring read. It’s gotten lots of buzz, United Talent Agency (UTA) is a Hollywood agency that is shopping it around for film rights, it has sold at auction for foreign translation rights in Germany and Portugal and Indonesia so far. I’d love to adapt it into a feature film. She’s gotten fan mail for many of her books in the past, but the type of fan mail has been more passionate, with numerous people saying it was the best book they’ve ever read–that it struck them emotionally–and many connected to it on different levels. Some said they had lost loved ones and that the book helped them come to terms with their own loss. It’s a very different tone and writing style from her other books and is written in the first person. Bring a box of Kleenex when reading, but it also has a wonderful, uplifting message at the end.
As for her Highlander trilogy out this year, the first two books released in February and March have done very well (the second Claimed by the Highlander hit the USA today bestsellers list), the third one comes out next month and is a great and exciting conclusion. Definitely more action than some of her other books.
For those wanting to be whisked back the Wild West, her time travel romance is called Taken by the Cowboy. She originally wrote it in the 1990’s, though it came close, it never sold to a publisher. She polished it off, cleaned it up and updated the writing and self-published it a few months ago, and it’s a lighter and fun read.
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Mr. DiPasqua: Thanks again, Dr. MacLean! I wish you and your DW all the very best. It was a lot of fun chatting with you again. And it was great that Julianne was able to jump in! Okay, folks, let’s hear your comments! :)