Hello fishy friends! I hope everyone is well and having a great week. Recently, I attended my first San Diego RWA chapter meeting and it was wonderful. As luck would have it, I got to meet our honorary merman there too. I was very humbled and excited when he said yes to coming to the pond for a chat about the male perspective as it pertains to writing romance heroes. You may recognize Julian from some of your favorite romance covers as that’s his “for fun” job. Whether you’ve seen him as a Rogue, Cowboy, Fallen Angel, Navy Seal, Highlander or Pirate, the word I’d use to describe him best is Gentleman. Please enjoy our chat and be sure to leave a comment. I’ll be drawing one lucky person’s name for a special giveaway at the end. Without further ado, I give you a really great guy, Julian…
Carlene: Hi Julian! Thank you so much for agreeing to dip your toes into the Waterworld Mermaid lagoon. Lots of happy writers and readers out there, for sure. So one thing that jumped out right away from listening to you talk was your love for the ocean. I pulled over to watch the sunset at Cardiff recently and it made me wonder, where is your favorite sunset? What’s the last completely spontaneous thing you did?
Julian: Sunset is my favorite part of the day actually. Nothing beats the sunsets here in California with the sun setting over the ocean. Last spontaneous thing? Hmmm I try to live my whole life spontaneously.
C: Very nice. Now I’m thinking about spontaneity and that one perfect moment in romance novels when the hero feels a physical spark as he comes in contact with Mrs. Right for the first time. Can you tell us if you have ever felt this and if so, how would you describe the feeling? Or do you think this electric sizzle is merely a romance novel myth?
J: It’s definitely not a myth. There is a definite physical spark that ignites. However getting to know someone for their inner beauty turns that spark into a flame.
C: Hold on, do you hear that? I think it’s either hearts melting or one giant collective sigh spilling out and making waves in our little pond. While our readers catch their breath, can you please tell us what is your favorite song and why?
J: Not sure if I have a favorite. I love all music that inspires, up lifts and makes me feel.
C: Cool. My favorite for those reasons is “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. The lyrics are very honest. That makes me wonder, does your language change when you’re around your guy friends as compared to when you’re with ladies? I believe one of the ways we distinguish “voice” between heroes and heroines in romance novels is by showing the hero talking a lot more loosely amongst his buddies and I wondered if this is really the case.
J: Well I’m not much of a swearer or vulgar language user so I couldn’t tell you about others. Just not who I am.
C: I think we can definitely all respect that. Let’s think of other ways we can show a hero’s grit. What is your pain tolerance? When is the last time you did something that really hurt?
C: Ouch! I got slammed by a two-footer the other day so major props to you, my friend! Which brings me to my next question. In romance, we’re often looking for great places to send our couples where the hero can both shine yet remain vulnerable. As an ocean lover, would you say nighttime swimming is a good date option? Or is that a really bad idea and why?
J: Nothing in the ocean is a bad idea. I love the ocean at night. It’s a total surreal experience.
C: Speaking as a mermaid, that is perhaps my favorite answer of any interview ever. God bless the ocean and the nighttime. Okay, I know some of our readers floated off to romance novel heaven just now. Alas, we can’t all be at the beach, all the time. What do you miss about your other hometown, New York?
C: Well said. So you’ve helped us out with a hero’s voice, his propensity for doing things on the fly and taking his heroine out for a great first date. Now, speaking on intimacy, how do you know when it’s okay to ask for more and would you do that with words or physical cues?
J: That’s a tough question. I would say you just feel it when it’s the right time.
C: That was a tough question and I thank you for being such a good sport and giving an honest answer. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. When is the last time you missed the chance to say something to someone and what kept you from saying it?
J: I probably missed a lot of opportunities to tell the people in my life how much I appreciate them. Happens every day.
C: So true and you’re not alone, Julian. Let’s lighten things up a little now and talk about one of the favorite senses in romance writing … smell! We often describe our heroes as smelling “spicy”. I’m not sure I know what this means so please help a girl out. What do you smell like, in your own words? On the flip side, what word would you use to describe a nice smelling woman?
C: Aww. Fishy friends, who else loved that answer? The next time I see an Aveda salon, I’m popping in to pick up a bottle for one quick little sniff. Sorry Julian, back to our chat. Food. Every hero needs to eat, so what do we feed them? Did I hear you correctly when you said sushi is your go-to sweet treat? What’s your favorite?
J: No not sweet but cheat treat. I love Rainbow rolls.
C: Oh! That makes much more sense! Funny. Speaking of funny, when is the last time you laughed really hard and what caused it?
J: It’s been a while. I am due for another good laugh. Tell me a joke it’s been too long.
C: Well, there’s the one about the octopus but you’ve probably heard it already. 😉 Fishy friends, be dolls and make this man laugh, will ya? While you’re thinking up some good ones, I’ll ask a serious question. Julian, as a pediatric occupational therapist by trade, I believe you get to help kids with basic life skills like eating, writing, dressing and playing. What is something you’ve learned from a child?
J: Well children come with no biases and are very open minded. We all need to be like children in that regards.
C: Couldn’t agree more. Sometimes as adults we also make things more complicated than need be. I was once told a man would never describe the color of something using shades. So instead of saying “peach”, you’d just go with the basic orange. What say you? Is it realistic to have a hero noting the pretty turquoise blouse a woman is wearing or is it a simple blue to you?
J: I like to describe colors in regards to things in nature. Ocean blue, banana yellow, midnight black.
C: Oh, very cool. Those small details are hugely significant to our writing friends out there. Thank you for that little nugget, Julian. Now onto one of the bigger romance novel topics, the relationship between the hero and heroine. I know you like to read, but not sure how much romance you’ve digested. In our novels, the hero is often shown demonstrating restraint for his heroine yet we also tend to write that he’s got sexy times on the brain about 99.9% of the time. Can you be frank and set us straight? If we are debunking this myth, can you tell us some of the things that are on your mind when you’re out with someone special?
J: Well sex is always a thought but there is more. There is being intrigued with someone, their life, their thoughts, their passion. To me that is sexy, a woman who is compassionate, passionate about things outside of her life and who is intelligent.
C: You’re right, there is so much more and I can’t thank you enough for sharing that with us. So, it’s almost the end of our chat and I think I can say with certainty that you’ve won some new admirers out there. You must get to meet lots of new people in conjunction with your work. Can you tell when someone is nervous around you? Is it flattering or stressful? What makes you nervous?
J: No one should ever be nervous around me, I’m not one to let my emotions control me.
C: Fishy friends, Julian is absolutely right. He is very nice and down-to-earth and the reason I wanted to bring him here to the pond. 😉 And now for a “Fall Fun” quick-fire round. Ready Julian? Go!
C: Apple, pumpkin or cherry?
C: Chargers, Jets or Giants?
C: Last thing you dressed up as?
J: A pirate, for a shoot.
C: Scariest movie you’ve ever seen?
J: The Cove
J: I believe mermaids evolved into dolphins at some point or perhaps the other way around.
C: It’s official, romance heroes really do exist. Thanks from the bottom of our fins for taking the time with us today, Julian. You rock, my friend. Swim on by anytime, you’re always welcome.
Fishy friends, to celebrate today’s special visitor, I have some “Julian Themed” goodies to give away, including your choice of an e-book with Julian on the cover. To win the surprise, please leave a comment. (I think a certain honorary merman said he needed a good laugh so jokes are highly encouraged.) I’ll pick a winner on Sunday, October 5th. Good luck and happy reading, writing and swimming!
A Bit About Julian: I’m a typical SoCal guy who loves to surf, hike and mountain bike. I love the ocean and the beach and all the activities that my city (San Diego) has to offer. I also love to travel and experience different cultures.
I grew up in New York City and lived in San Diego as a child for a little bit. I earned my Master’s degree from NYU in occupational therapy and currently work as a pediatric occupational therapist with developmentally challenged children.
I started modeling when I lived in NY and modeled for Saks Fifth Ave, Men’s Health, Claiborne and many other companies. I always enjoyed each experience and opportunity to travel. I was even featured on the Men of the Hawaiian Islands calendar 2 years in a row. Eventually I started doing romance novel covers and to this date have done over 100 covers. It’s a wonderful experience being a part of such a wonderful industry since I myself am an avid reader. I read mostly biographies and history books along with some fiction.