ABOUT THE ARTISANS:
Title: The Artisans
Publication date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Julie Reece
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.
To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.
Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.
But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.
Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.
Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?
Link to Goodreads:
I knew I wanted to do a fairy tale retelling and actually had an idea to modernize the Grimm Brother’s fable The Elves and the Shoemaker. After writing a few chapters, the plotline quickly evolved into something with a stronger Beauty and the Beast vibe. I know it doesn’t make sense, but its freakish how my stories morph and write themselves. However, I should say The Artisans is only loosely based on B&B. It’s a very different story with a twist I hope readers will enjoy.
2. Did you start with the main character, the world or the overarching concept?
I’m a concept girl. : )
3. Panster or Plotter? Or in between?
I’m a panster, but I so wish I was a plotter. I’m completely jealous of writers who meticulously plot their entire stories, rooting out plot holes, planning each perfect twist and turn to keep their readers enthralled. I imagine it would be less stressful at times, because you already know what’s coming and how to get there. I tried plotting a few times. It was an epic fail. My brain just won’t work this way, alas.
[MM] Right there with you!
4. Are you a fan of writing contests?
Good question. The answer is yes, and though I’ve never had any luck, personally, I received valuable feedback and critiques from other writers/hosts. All of it useful, all of it learning. I know several writers who’ve gotten agents by entering contests and eventually gotten their manuscripts published. Every author’s dream right? As a spectator, I love reading the pitches, queries, taglines or first chapters, depending on the type of contest. Of course, as with many aspects of what writers do, there are times the process is painful. Perhaps an author’s tagline is not chosen to proceed to the next level of competition. Or the pitch makes it all the way to the end, surviving every elimination round just to have agents request every other manuscript but that one. Not that this ever happened to me, a-hem. Or that it left me bitter. Nope.
If you’re thinking about a contest, do it. Enter at will! But like another author advised me, put on your big girl panties and enter with humility and a mindset to learn as much as to win the golden ticket. There’s typically sooo much rejection on the road to publication, it’s good to take it a day at a time. Chant with me, people … “Rejection isn’t personal; criticism isn’t personal, if not this time, the next. I will not quit!”
5. How did you find your agent? How many query letters did you send?
On my first book, I sent about forty queries. They were all rejected as they should have been. I wasn’t ready. I’ve since been told that’s a common mistake new writers make, but hey, we don’t always know what we don’t know. We have to learn somehow, and learn I did! Lol. Heck, I still wonder if I’m ‘ready’, you know? I shelved that book and wrote another, and another.
In the end, I was referred by a writer friend who knew her agent was looking for a story like The Artisans which I’d just finished writing. I guess it was meant to be. : )
6. What's the best marketing tool you've found so far?
Gosh, that’s hard to define, and something every writer wants to know. I’m just starting out, but I think most authors would generally agree its word of mouth. No author can control who reads a book, or who will talk to their friends about “the book they loved so hard they couldn’t put down, and oh my gosh, everyone has to read this right now.” Since writers are storytellers at heart, that type of response is what we all dream of. We love to share our words with others and live to have those stories enjoyed. So, we do what we can to get the word out: “Hey, I wrote a novel that you might like …” and then we hope with all our might that you’ll give the book a try. I don’t know a single author that isn’t grateful when, out of all the books to choose from, you choose theirs. Even if you don’t love it, even if you downright hate it, writers are very thankful you were willing to take a chance on them.
7. What do you like best about your mc?
I’m a fan of bravery and self-sacrifice. I admire that quality in any hero or heroine in either books or movies. There are so many facets to the idea of sacrifice. I love watching the specific details of each mc’s journey unfold, and in The Artisans, I worked hard to give my readers someone they would want to root for.
8. What do you like best about your main antagonist?
I fell in love with alpha males at a young age starting with Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre. Gideon Maddox has some definite swagger. I like a bad guy who can be good and a good guy that can be bad. Alphas aren’t for everyone, I know, but I just can’t help myself! Lol
9. Anything else you like to share about your journey or your upcoming launch, including links to giveaways or ways people can help spread the word?
First, I want to thank the totally awesome Marlene for having me here today. She would totally outride me any day! Seriously, girl, 50 miles, 100? *Julie and her out-of-shape horse dies* You’re a riding beast!!
[MM] Well, thank you, but I do a fair amount a hobbling around after some of these rides!
I’d also like to thank everyone who has blogged, tweeted, shared or added The Artisans on Goodreads. I’m so grateful to all who’ve let me know on social media, or in whatever way, that they’re excited to read the book. I cannot express enough thanks for the support I’ve already gotten. You guys are amazing. I’d buy everyone ponies, and bake you loads of cookies if I could! In the meantime, I send you virtual chocolate and gifs of Ian Somerhalder and cute baby animals. XOXOX
You can find out more here:
I hadn’t expected to be able to read my review copy of The Artisans because of a big move and upcoming critique and beta reading commitments. But I found a few minutes and thought I’d start it. Then I couldn’t put it down. I’m not much into romance unless there’s some kind of twist, and boy, is there a twist!
I’m not going to spoil it, but the setup is that Raven has lost nearly everyone in her life and the only person left isn’t doing much to help her. Her step-father is an alcoholic and has gambled away everything possible, including his own life. Raven is determined to save him and confronts his debtor.
Her life is changed dramatically as she’s all but forced to give up a year of her life to design a clothing line in exchange for rehab and debt forgiveness, while living in the expansive manor of the man who holds her future in his hands. Both the setting and the owner have a century-old secret that will either mean Raven’s demise or her salvation.
While some of the book follows the tried-and-true structure of a typical romance, there are refreshing deviations. Plus the characters are awesome and that non-contemporary twist brings everything together in a very readable and enticing story.
No typos or grammar notations from my inner-editor either! I give this 4.5 stars, rounding up to 5.
Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.
I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.
Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.
Then I thought I’d write one down…
Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!