Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of books about ordinary women and their extraordinary stories. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London. Readers can visit JuliaKellyWrites.com to learn more about all of her books and sign up for her newsletter so they never miss a new release.
Want to keep up on all things Julia, check out her website: https://www.juliakellywrites.com/, or follow her on Facebook, or Twitter
What’s the strangest thing you searched for on the internet for your novel?
The devil really is in the details when you’re a historical fiction author as bringing an era to life is about the little things. When I was writing The Last Dance of the Debutante, I wanted to move a scene between my debutante Lily and her friend Katherine out of the world of high society and into the “real world” so I decided they should go to a Wimpy Bar. Being an American expat, I didn’t know a thing about Britain’s first chain of burger joints, and I became obsessed with finding out little details like the color of the interiors, how the place smelled, and what the menu was like. The best decision I made was calling Mum, who was born and raised in Britain, to ask her about what she remembered of the restaurants. Sometimes I laugh thinking about all that effort that went into one little scene!
What book (or author) made you fall in love with the romance genre? What is your favourite trope? Why?
I’ve been reading romance for many years and have always had a bit of a scattershot approach reading everything I could get my hands on. However, what inspired me to write historical novels with romantic threads running through them like The Last Dance of the Debutante was the venerated author Rosamunde Pilcher. I read The Shell Seekers right when I moved to London. I loved the way the dual timeline narrative wove back and forth to reveal Penelope Keeling’s love story and her journey from childhood to the end of her life. I wanted to create something as sweeping and intimate as Pilcher’s books.
It’s the morning after, and a lover is making your main character the perfect breakfast in bed. What is it?
Is there really anything better than the quintessentially English breakfast than tea and toast when the tea is perfectly brewed and the toast is covered in melting, salted butter?
What book are you reading currently?
I’m reading—and loving—The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey, which is a dual timeline book out in March that is cleverly tied together by the mystery of a missing Vanderbilt wedding veil. I’m also reading Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written The Postmistress of Paris.
Rapid fire question: Would you rather spend an evening get dressed to the nines for the party of the year, but have to ward off unwanted suitors the whole night, or spend the afternoon having tea with fellow debutantes who your mum doesn’t approve of, knowing full well that you are going to get a scolding from her when you get home?
I would go to the party and enjoy myself immensely because I would recruit my fellow debutantes to help me fend off those suitors. Nothing is more powerful than a group of women united against a common cause!
Read our review of The Last Dance of the Debutante here