Author on the Couch: Julie Mulhern

This week on Author on the couch, I conduct a session with…

Julie MulhernJulieMulhern

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Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.


Julie: I read or heard somewhere that as humans we’re more likely to remember things that shock us out of our daily rhythm. Something about adrenaline and memory. Which is why it’s odd that one of my most vivid childhood memories is nothing but lovely. It was in early summer and I’d spent the day at the pool. I was pleasantly tired and my shoulders were unpleasantly pink. My mother promised me nothing felt better on sunburn than cool sheets. So, with the light not yet faded, I climbed into bed with the latest Nancy Drew. The bedroom windows were open and the sound of an ice cream truck wafted inside. That calliope song was accompanied by the shouts of neighborhood friends with dollar bills clutched in their fists and the scent of late lilacs. I’d always like reading. That night I fell in love with it.


Me: Julie–as I was reading that I was right there with you. I could feel it, hear it, see it, smell it! You should be a writer! lol.

What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?



Julie: Is coffee a trait? I roll out of bed almost everyday at a time when sane people are sleeping. I push the button
on the coffee maker, let the dog out, and sit down at the kitchen table with my laptop.

Every single day. Weekends too.

I guess the trait that helps me most is dogged determination.


Me: I think some people would say coffee is a personality trait!

What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?


Julie: What hinders me…wait, there’s a bug. What did you ask? Oh, what hinders me? Focus. It’s too easy to be distracted by new ideas, the internet, the dog, etc… It’s why I get up so early. There are fewer distractions at four in the morning.


Me: What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high? What happened?


FullSizeRender-4Julie: Happiest? I can think of two instances. The first was getting the call from my agent letting me know that Henery Press wanted three books in the Country Club Murders. It was my birthday. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. The second happened on a Wednesday night—a boring Wednesday night when there was nothing good in the house for dinner. We decided to go out for Mexican. Close Mexican (as opposed to good Mexican). We pulled into a parking spot in front of the restaurant and one of my writer friends messaged to let me know I’d made the USA TODAY bestseller list. I didn’t believe her. My husband and daughter ordered while I struggled to make my suddenly not-smart phone pull up the site. Finally, I succeeded. I sat in front of an average basket of chips and a bowl of not-great salsa and cried. Well, until my daughter pointed out that I was embarrassing her by crying in a restaurant.


Me: I love that story! You might be a USA Today bestselling author, but you’re still Mom.

What was your low point as a writer?


Julie: There are mornings when the words won’t come. Or, if they do come, they are so dull, so mundane, as to make me question why I’m trying. That is a sign that my bucket is empty.

FullSizeRenderI refill said bucket with a walk, an early night, and on occasion, a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.


Me: Which of your characters are you most like? Why?


Julie: I am a lot like Ellison, my heroine. We have the same (some might say snarky) voice in our heads.


Me: How many books have you written? How long does it typically take you to write a book? What’s the most painful part of the writing process for you?


Julie: I had three books release last year and will have three release this year. That makes six. My next Country Club Murder is due this fall. It took me forever and a day to write my first romance and six months to write my first mystery. I have shrunk that time to about four months.
The most painful part of the whole process for me is developmental edits.


[Tweet theme=”basic-border”]Rejection & bad reviews are as much a part of the business as awards & good reviews-@JulieKMulhern @Abbie_Roads[/Tweet]


Me: How do you deal with rejection or bad reviews? What advice can you give others about how to handle rejection and bad reviews?


Julie: Rejection and bad reviews are as much a part of the process and the business as awards and good reviews. As for handling them…I do not like sushi. You could take me to the best sushi restaurant in the world and I still won’t like it. I could write the best books in the world (NOT making that claim) but what I write is not for everyone. Not everyone will like them. I move on and hope readers who will enjoy them find them.


FullSizeRender-1Me: What is a story your family always tells about you?


Julie: My parents take great joy in sharing my history of bad boyfriends with my daughters and husband. Great joy. Uncomfortable joy. And for the record, they weren’t bad boyfriends, my parents were picky.


Me: Tell me about your mystery CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE.



When Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors’ party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she’s shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again?


Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee.


Me: Share a few of your favorite paragraphs with us.


Julie: I adore putting Ellison through Hell. In this excerpt, hell is a bit watery…


The car was going to cross the walking path. An older gentleman and his basset hound stared at me, matching looks of horror on their faces as the car raced toward them.


I yanked the wheel, narrowly missing them and an oak tree.
The pond on the other side of the path I didn’t miss.
Henry’s car hovered above the water for a split second—long enough for me to pray. Oh. Dear. Lord.


The car dove into the duck pond like a seven-year-old leaping off the high board. The Cadillac made an enormous splash then sank like the tank it was.


Water already covered my ankles…my calves…my knees.
I tried the door. It refused to budge. I cranked the window. My hands, damp with sweat or the water already filling the car, slipped from the handle.




I refused to drown. Especially in Henry’s Caddy.


I grabbed the handle again. Held tight. Circled once. Circled twice…


Lower. Lower. Lower.


Ice-cold water poured in on me. My heart beat triple time.


I squeezed out of the opening, my dress catching on something.


I yanked, felt the fabric give, and kicked through the murky water toward the surface.



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You can find Julie here:


Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always her hero and heroine a happy Cover-RacetheDarknessending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. Her debut novel RACE THE DARKNESS is available for pre-order now.



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Formatted by Emmanuel Goodman

About the author: abbieroads