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Author Interview: Julia Colquitt Allen

Writing has long been a passion of mine. I began writing poems and short stories at the age of 7. I live in picturesque East Texas with my husband of 27 years and four of my children. My grown son and his wife live nearby and visit often with my two grandbabies, whom I adore. If the kids and grandkids didn’t make my home wild enough, we have a household full of cats (7 at last count). My blog Julia’s Ramblings talks about my writing career as well as my crazy home life.

I work at a nearby university as a learning technologist, where I provide assistance and professional development to faculty on online course development and instructional technology. I am pursuing a Ph.D. in learning technologies. In my other blogs, IDT Talk and Tech Learning Bridge, I discuss topics of interest to instructional designers and educators who work with technology.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading inspirational romance and mystery stories, sewing, and cooking.

  • : I’ve always loved writing. I read voraciously as a teenager and I appreciated the way a good author could turn a phrase or paint with words. I worked hard to learn to use words like that. I took a lot of writing classes in college and since. Now when I go back and read things I’ve written, I sometimes surprise myself with what I’ve accomplished.
  • : I don’t think this was the first, but I remember having a really vivid dream one night and turning it into a short story. It was all action; a girl walking across a crowded room and soundly slapping a guy on the face, and the reaction of the people in the room telling the story. I should go dig that up and use it somewhere. There was the potential for a lot of backstory behind that slap.
  • : Dolores and I have a lot in common. I am also on my second marriage. As a Christian, I hung on to my first marriage much longer than I should have, and once it was over I beat myself up over it. I was ready to cloister myself at a very young age so I could be a “good Christian”, whatever that means. Then I met Ron, and I knew I was falling for him, and when I realized the feeling was mutual, I really didn’t know what to do. We ended up leaving our church when we got married and going somewhere no one knew us so that we wouldn’t cause problems for others in the church, but our pastor came after us and told us he would have been proud to marry us and that he believed God was the God of second chances. I think the church needs more shepherds like that. I still believe that in God’s perfect will, marriage is meant to be forever. Ron and I will be together forever. But we live in a fallen world and sometimes things don’t work the way God intended them to work. God isn’t broken, but the world is and people are, and in a broken world with broken people, you have broken and bad relationships. Fortunately, we have a loving; merciful God Who wants us to know Him and wants us to find His perfect way for our lives. He’s not out to punish us. He’s waiting to forgive us and give us a fresh start. I wanted to share that message with others, so I told it through Dolores and Chris and their love story.
  • : I was 7 when I started writing. I remember sitting on my front porch enjoying the sunshine, and I scribbled down this stupid little poem about the sun. My parents didn’t believe I’d written it. They thought it was too good. So to prove my authorship, I sat in front of them and wrote another one.
  • : In all honesty, the next long published work with my name on it had better be my dissertation. I can’t afford to spare any time right now for fiction writing. But I do have two other romances outlined and one started. Then next one to watch for has a working title of “Building Love”. Contractor Andrew Gunderson hasn’t been the same since an accident claimed the life of his wife and tarnished his career. Feeling his work is unwanted in the states, Andrew has moved to Nuevo Leon, Mexico, where he is overseeing construction of a new school addition, medical clinic, church repairs, and several homes for people in the town. Here he meets the fiery Chandra Fenimore, who has come to teach in the school. Chandra has little use for Andrew, who speaks almost no Spanish and doesn’t seem to have any respect for the townspeople or the workers in his employ. Chandra stirs up painful memories for Andrew due to her strong resemblance to his dead wife. When an argument sends Andrew storming out into the desert and he fails to return, Chandra hears the whole story and is drawn to the hurting man. Will Andrew make it back before the monsoons start or will he die alone in the desert? I just hope my readers can be patient a few years!
  • : I still love to read fiction, although in a doctorate program I don’t get to do that as much as I’d like. I have boxes of fabric and patterns, and when I’m on break from classes, I spend a lot of time making clothes. I made my own wedding gown and many of my dresses years ago, and since having daughters I’ve made them dozens of matching outfits over the years, not to mention dolls clothes, quilts, pajamas and robes. I like to cook and bake and spend a lot of my holidays whipping up cookies, fudge, and family recipes. Our family also enjoys watching TV and movies together. Christmas is our favorite time, as we’ve got a collection of holiday movies so large we have to start watching them in October to get through them all before New Year’s Eve.
  • : The top four are probably Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. Daddy Long Legs is a beautiful romantic story written in letter format with a lovely surprise ending, and I’ve read it probably 50 times. Hinds Feet is a Christian allegory about a little shepherd girl named Much Afraid whom the Great Shepherd promises to take to the High Places and the chronicle of her trip there and her transformation along the way. It is another book I’ve read many, many times, and each time it speaks to me in new ways and helps me make it through rough places in my own faith walk. I’m sure readers are familiar with Jane Eyre, but if not, it is the story of an orphan-girl’s struggle over adversity and her eventual employment in the home of the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, he hides a dark secret that keeps them apart. A Girl of the Limberlost is the story of Elnora, a young woman hungry for knowledge growing up with a mother that cannot seem to understand her. Against her mother’s wishes and in spite of the challenges against her she starts school in the village, selling the moths she collects to pay for the sundry things she needs to fit in at the school rather than burden her mother, whose need to save her land she is trying to understand. But when her mother inadvertently kills the rare moth she’s been seeking for months, Elnora believes the wall between them may never be mended.
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