Meet Julie Carobini!
Damselfly: Congratulations on your book Chocolate Beach! Care to tell how you came up with the idea for this story?
Julie Carobini: Here goes. We hear all the time that people are attracted to their opposites. What's up with that? I wanted to write about what happens years later to a couple like that. She's a laid-back beach chick; he's a distinguished, suit-wearing gentleman. Are they still smitten with each other's differences? Or not so much? And when things get tough, what do they do?
D: You seem to expertly, flawlessly wend different aspects of your heroine, Brianna Stone's, life so that she seems like a real person and not just a two-dimensional character. How do you do that as a writer?
JC: Thank you, thank you! (I'm blushing :)
This is one reason I love first-person fiction. You can really get into a person's head that way. I shut my eyes often while writing her, and tried to put myself in the scene, and think as she would. She's more laid-back then I am (just ask my kids!), so it did take some "getting into character" to write her. Does that answer your question a little? I'm glad she came across as a real person to you!
D: Another aspect of your novel is your character's Christian faith. You write about Brianna's faith as an important part of her life, but the novel doesn't seem to revolve around it. How do you, as a writer, find just the right balance of faith in fiction so readers get the idea that her faith is important, but you don't hit readers over the head with preachiness, so to speak? Because I think you did a great job with that.
JC: Bri just is who she is. Meaning, she's a gal of faith and makes decisions (or tries to) accordingly. Readers don't have to agree with her faith, but they do need to know her motivation for doing what she does. Does that make sense? Also, Bri struggles with her own interpretation of her life, and even her theology a bit. That's real stuff, no matter what your philosophy on life, and because people can relate to those kinds of struggles, they don't feel like they're being preached at just because Bri's found a particular path.
D: Brianna has a teenage son, and you have children, too. One of Brianna's internal struggles seems to be how much to step into her son's life and help him, and how much to step back and let him figure things out for himself. Have you had this same struggle? If so, how do you deal with it? Are there other parenting revelations you've learned?
JC: I bet all moms can relate to the struggle of giving kids their independence bit by bit, even if it's hard to do at times. I'm mom to three kids, ages 15, 12 and 8, and I'm especially learning to pick my battles (or else I could be battling all the live-long day...). I think that's what Bri tried to do a lot with Nathan. That and heap tons of love on him--also important!
D: Brianna's parents left her in the care of her aunt so they could travel the world. Then when Brianna grew up, her aunt became a missionary and traveled too. But Brianna stayed put. Are you a traveler too? Or, like Brianna, do you like to stay in your corner of the world?
JC: My first plane ride came at age 22, while I was working for a hotel chain. Kinda embarrassing to tell my new boss that I had no idea what air travel would be like, LOL. Since then I've been to London (for pleasure), to Pennsylvania (to visit my husband's relatives), and pretty much across the US for the hotel biz, although I don't travel all that much anymore. If I could, I'd plant myself most days on a sunny deck at the beach. (You do know that I don't actually get to do that, right? :-)
D: Finally, do you have a great brownie recipe like the one that Brianna and her best friend, Gaby, make all the time? My homemade brownies either come out too gooey or too dry!
JC: Yes, I do have a great, basic recipe. Scratch brownies are the best! And the trick is to slightly undercook them so that they don't dry out (and let me just ask, can a brownie really be too gooey? LOL).
D: Well, I guess that recipe must be a family secret or something!
JC: Thanks so much for letting me hang out with you and your readers today, Damselfly!