Name: Julie Shepard
Novel: Rosie Girl
Available: July 11, 2017
About the book: After her father passes away, seventeen-year-old Rosie is forced to live with her abusive stepmom Lucy and her deadbeat boyfriend, Judd, who gives Rosie the sort of looks you shouldn’t give your girlfriend’s step-daughter. Desperate for a way out, Rosie would do just about anything to escape the life she’s been handed. Then she finds a letter her dad wrote years ago, a letter confessing that Rosie’s birth mother isn’t dead, as she believed, but alive somewhere—having left them when Rosie was a little girl for reasons he won’t reveal.
Rosie resolves to find her birth mom, and she’ll put everything on the line to make that happen. She hires a PI paid for by her best friend, Mary, who turns tricks for money. Unlike Rosie, Mary’s no delicate flower and when she sees the opportunity to make some cash and help out her closest friend, she takes it. Romance blooms when the PI Rosie hires hands the case off to his handsome nephew Mac, but Rosie struggles to keep her illicit activities with Mary a secret. Things begin to unravel when Rosie starts getting creepy anonymous texts from johns looking for Mary. And then there’s Mary, the one person Rosie can count on, who’s been acting strangely all of a sudden. As Rosie and Mary get closer to finally uncovering the truth about Rosie’s mom, Rosie comes face to face with a secret she never saw coming. A visceral, poignant tale of friendship, sacrifice and identity, Rosie Girl is an unforgettable debut that will leave you guessing till the very last page.
Who’s your favorite author, living or dead?
Ugh, this is a brutal question, and you know it. So I’m going to answer this from a different perspective, since I have so many. Twenty years ago, I read A Season in Purgatory by Dominick Dunne. Honestly, I think it was the first time I started questioning my own writing skills and analyzing how a true master story-teller gets the job done. I was absolutely transfixed by his narrative skills.
What’s your favorite thing about your book?
Another hard question! But it’s a fair one. I guess I’d have to say the friendship Rosie and Mary share. They’re dependent on each other – maybe a little too much – but I kind of like that. They’ve got a complicated history, one that binds them in a unique way. My best relationships are those with the deepest roots.
If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?
She may be a little nuts, but I have never been so entranced by a character than Maria Semple’s main character in Where’d You Go, Bernadette? If we spent a year together on a deserted island, we’d be laughing half the time and yakking the other half. We would not be bored.
Where do you write?
Ooh, I’ll write anywhere! But if you know anything about me, it’s that I love to be outside. So I do a lot of writing on a lounge chair
Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history?
When I was in fourth grade, I played the role of Annie Oakley in “Annie, Get Your Gun.” I can still remember practicing “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun” in the living room while my mother did her best not to cover her ears. Even at ten years old, I thought, “Wow, this Annie lady must’ve been tough.” And she was. I admire any woman who can not only play with the big boys, but beat them at their own game.
Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted?
I was working on a manuscript when I had this text exchange with my son who was at University of Florida. It was too funny not to share.
What is your favorite season?
Spring. There’s something about the energy of the religious holidays of Passover and Easter. Plus, the weather here in South Florida is usually spectacular.
If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go?
Again, as a lover of the outdoors, it would probably be the Nantahala River that runs through North Carolina.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really! But as a fiction writer, I’m happy to make something up 😉
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
In my old age (ha!), it’s being with my family. The four of us (my husband and two sons) were out west recently, and we spent the entire afternoon kayaking on Lake Mead. Splashing each other with frigid water, hanging back half a mile from the tour guide, trying to be the first one to spot wildlife nestled in the surrounding mountains – absolute heaven.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
My husband and I are crazy for all kinds of music, but we’re serious fans of the brilliant Joe Bonamassa and were fortunate enough to see him for a second time a few months ago. Pure genius!
What are you currently working on?
Straight up Who-Dunnit. There was a lot I wanted to explore (creatively) in my next novel, so this manuscript has a lot of “firsts” for me. That’s all you’re getting 😉