Author Spotlight: Julie Klassen

Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Linda Danis is ANGELA CARPENTER! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (

This week please welcome Julie Klassen in the spotlight! To win a copy of her book The Tutor’s Daughter, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I am married with kids. My husband and I have two sons, ages 12 and 15. For years I split my time between writing and working as an editor, but for the last year and a half, I have been writing “full-time” (or as full-time as I can between kids’ sporting events, homework, and all that goes along with being a wife and mom).

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I write novels set in Regency England (early 1800s) or what I like to call the Jane Austen era. I consider myself something of an Anglophile and jokingly say the real reason I am writing is to justify my long-held desire to travel to England. My husband and I have been able to go twice now to research the books. We hope to go back someday soon.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

Yes, I have wanted to be a writer since a young age. In fact, my mom kept a report card from the 2nd grade that said something like “Julie’s stories and poems show great potential.” But it wasn’t until much later, after working for years in advertising, then as an editor for Bethany House Publishers, that I got serious about writing and completed my first novel.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

A few years. My journey to publication was somewhat different than the norm because I worked for Bethany House–my hoped-for publisher. My co-workers didn’t know I wanted to be a writer, but since they would be the ones reviewing my novel, I was in a quandary about how to proceed. I talked to my boss and he wisely suggested I submit the book under a pseudonym so that if it was accepted, it would be done so objectively. Of course, this also allowed me to cower under the protection of anonymity in case it was rejected! Thankfully, they liked it and wanted to publish it.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

The hardest part for me is getting started. I tend to procrastinate at the beginning of a new book and struggle to gain momentum. Research is fun and inspires ideas, but it doesn’t actually write the book. I find setting goals and having accountability partners help get me over the hump. And nothing gets the brain cylinders firing and fingers flying like a rapidly approaching deadline.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Originally, the biggest help to me was my experience working for Bethany House Publishers. I learned so much by working with other editors and with so many talented authors over the years. That experience taught me so much not only about writing, but how to put together a complete novel, which is much more difficult than I ever realized. Nowadays, I do have a well-read friend as my first reader. And I have author-friends also writing in the Regency era that I can go to for historical research questions. And. I have an amazing editor who is a huge help to me as well.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)

I already knew writing was a solitary and usually unglamorous life. But I was surprised by how much more there is to the job–not only writing the books themselves, but all of the other things involved: promotion, networking, speaking, accounting, etc.

What are your biggest distractions?

Facebook and email–I enjoy connecting with readers and old friends, but I have to learn to limit my time socializing online. Especially when deadlines near.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

Some of the best moments have been the pleasure and privilege of dedicating books to loved ones, or honoring special people in my author’s notes. Worst moment was probably being taken to task over a point of historical accuracy in my first novel. I learned pretty quickly that Regency-era history buffs can be tough critics. I do as much research as I can, but I am fallible. I’m still working to develop the “thick skin” writers are advised to have.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

Well, no one likes negative reviews (they’ve been rare—but they still sting. These days, I don’t read reviews. My husband does and forwards constructive ones to me. Thankfully, most are positive). Truthfully, the best part is the fulfillment of knowing I’m (finally!) doing what God wired me to do–and for His glory.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

I have only had an agent for a little over a year. Personally, I wanted an agent to help me navigate the rapidly changing publishing world with its consolidating publishers, the rise of e-books, the decline of traditional booksellers, etc. Since writing is so solitary, I like having my agent in my corner to help me make sound decisions and keep more of my focus on the writing itself.

What advice would you give to new writers?

If you are unsure what to write, I would suggest choosing the genre you most like to read yourself and know the best. I would advise you to keep your derriere in the chair and tough it out until you write a complete first draft. It’s probably the hardest thing about being an author. Until you do, you will never know if you have what it takes—or would even truly want—to be a writer. I would also encourage writers to study the basics (point of view, plotting, characterization, etc.) online, at a writer’s conference, or with a local writer’s group. Once you have written a first draft, have well-read friends or a critique group read the manuscript and revise it based on their feedback before submitting it to an agent or editor. Writing is a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

I’d prefer to let someone else do the talking, so perhaps I’d quote a review like this one from Good Reads, “This is my idea of what Jane Eyre would’ve been like if penned by Jane Austen – The Tutor’s Daughter is a must read for anyone looking for a new classic in a similar vein. So whether you’re a fan of Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte, or both, you will soon become a fan of Julie Klassen once you read this wonderful book.”

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I am working on my next stand-alone Regency novel for Bethany House Publishers
which, Lord willing, will release December 2013.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

Readers can sign-up for my email list via my web site ( or find me at “Author Julie Klassen” on Facebook. I’d love to hear from them. The Tutor’s Daughter is also touring the web with Litfuse Publicity! Be sure to stop by the tour page and see what reviewers are saying as well as sign up for some great prizes (and RSVP for the upcoming Facebook party!!)

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

You’re welcome–thanks for having me here!

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Katie Johnson says:

    I have been looking forward to reading The Tutor’s Daughter. I hope I win! Thanks for the chance.

  2. Bonnie Jean says:

    Enjoyed the interview. I love Julie’s writing.

  3. amyc says:

    I’m looking forward to reading Julie’s books. I have several but have not read any. This one sounds like a great one to start with.

  4. Susan P says:

    This looks like a great book – thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Rita Clements says:

    The genre that Julie writes is one of my favorite! I have never visited England, but must go! My father and I are doing our family tree and have found an ancestor that was one of the knights of the round table!!

    I enjoyed the interview! I am thankful you are giving away a copy of your book. I hope I win!!

  6. Donna Taylor says:

    Would love to win! Thanks for the chance.

  7. Kathy Milburn says:

    Nice review…I’d love a chance to win this book!

  8. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  9. Hannah Peasha says:

    I love to win! I have been wanting to read The Tutor’s Daughter. 🙂

  10. Connie R. says:

    I like the comment “keep your derriere in the chair”!! And I love to win books and meet new authors!

  11. Leslie Kaltt says:

    Jane Austin Era……my favorite. Love the cover of the book and makes me want to open it up and curl up in my favorite reading chair and start reading! 🙂

  12. Tabitha Rex says:

    I would love to win and be able to read this book. =)

  13. Jean Smith says:

    I can’t wait to read The Tutor’s Daughter. Please enter me in the contest.

  14. Cubie Kegarise says:

    I would love to read this book, If I win

  15. Joannah Cotta says:

    The cover is just lovely. It makes you want to be the one standing there looking out. I would be grateful to win this book.

  16. Carol Edwards says:

    nice interview, would love to win the book

  17. Christi Long says:

    Looks like a very good read!! Would love to win!!

  18. Denise says:

    This looks like a very good book ~ I would love to win!

  19. Wendy M says:

    I found the first Julie Klassen book that I read, by simply browsing the library shelves looking for something to catch my eye. The Silent Governess did not disappoint. Since then, I’ve read all of her books. I cannot wait to read this one.

  20. Laura Pol says:

    I think that would be an awesome promo sentence to tell someone interested in buying your book! I know if I was told that I would definitely get it, but I plan to get it anyway even if no one tells me that! 🙂

  21. Karen Clinton says:

    What a wonderful way to start a writing career! Hope I win your book!

  22. jenni anderson says:

    love finding new authors to become addicted too I will now be looking for all your books

  23. Donna Harmon says:

    This book is on my “Wish List”.of books to get. Would love to win a copy!

  24. Tammy Traxler says:

    Sounds like a book I would love.

  25. Cheryl Yates says:

    Great interview, I would so love to win this book.

  26. Shaun Renee Paulsen says:

    This book would be a new author in my library. Would love to win her book.

  27. Carmen Rose says:

    I would love to win!!

  28. KayM says:

    I have been looking forward to reading The Tutor’s Daughter. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to win.

  29. A person never has enough books. this one looks like a great read.
    the cover is great. I would love to win it. Thanks

  30. Suzy Palen says:

    I just finished reading The Tutor’s Daughter! It’s fantastic, like all of Julie’s other novels. I encourage all of you to read it, whether you win the freebie or not. Not only are Julie’s books great to read, they also provide an interesting way to learn some history! Keep writing for us Julie!!

  31. Karen Gervais says:

    Nice interview. Would love a chance to win and read the book. Thank you.

  32. Karen Murphy says:

    I am looking forward to reading the book, I love this time period for fiction, also.

  33. Sharon says:

    I want this!!!! Love these books!!

  34. Suzanne and Julie, I really enjoyed this interview. Julie, I love the cover of your book. It is beautiful. And, it sounds really good. I’m hoping I can get lucky and win it. Please enter my name. Thanks to the both of you.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  35. Wonderful interview, Julie and Suzanne! I have heard the most wonderful things about this book and am eager to read it!

  36. pat cowans says:

    would love to win. thanks for doing this..

  37. Amanda says:

    I love Julie’s books. I would love to win a copy of this book. Not sure if it’s too late to enter.

  38. Kandi Tobin says:

    Can’t wait to read this book…I have LOVED all the other ones I have read!! Very good writer!!!

  39. Regina says:

    I love Julie’s books. Cannot wait to read this one!

  40. Kristie D. says:

    Julie seems like a sweet lady. It’s neat she was an editor. So many books that I read really could have used a better one. Sigh. I usually don’t read Regency but I’m willing to give it a whirl. I’m jealous that you got to go to England to research. However, take note that I’m not jealous enough to write my own book for a trip. Ha ha! I also think that having an agent would be great. So many details about writing. Yikes! I’m distracted by Facebook too. I don’t play the games though. Take care! Kristie from (currently snowy) Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.