Iam delighted every time I get to share another Coffee Talk with you. I love all my Coffee Talks, but this one is very special to me.
I had the wonderful Jules Wake as my guest. Jules is a successful book author. I am a very big fan of her books. Interviewing Jules felt to me like getting to interview a pop star or movie star.
Now take your time, get your coffee, tea or hot chocolate and dive into the world of books with me and Jules. Learn what it takes to write a novel and what it takes to publish a book.
DW: Dear Jules, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. I’m a big fan of your books and I’m happy not only to learn more about your work, but also to share this with readers.
How did you personally find writing? Did you always know you wanted to write?
Jules: I started writing many years ago, I think it was around 2010, at which time I was working in London for a small PR company. Unfortunately they had to let me go as they were going through hard times. I was still paid for 6 months, but I didn’t work for them anymore. I then decided for myself that I wanted to start my own PR – freelance business.
Since I was paid for 6 months and didn’t have to work, I had so much free time to write a book. So I actually started writing my first book. Some days I wrote and some days I left it. Depending on how I was in the flow at the time. After about a month I had the first 3 chapters together and of course I was very proud of it. I actually thought these chapters were brilliant. I showed the chapters to my father who is a TV director and script writer and knows a little bit about writing. His feedback completely threw me off. He literally said to me it was CRAP.
It turned out that this feedback was the best thing that could have happened to me. I realised I knew nothing at all about writing a book.
So I attended a writing course in my area which was advertised at the time. It was a 6 week course on writing. The teacher on the course was the most brilliant teacher you could have imagined. We are still in touch and I learnt so much from him for which I am still very grateful for today.
I then enrolled in the organization «the Romantic Novelist Association». This organization runs a scheme called the New Writers Scheme which accepts a limited number of writers each year and those who sign up have to commit to delivering a manuscript by a certain date. So I was forced to write a book. The manuscript then went directly to the professional writers of the organization and they gave me feedback on it. That feedback was the most valuable thing for me. I learned so much from that feedback. Since I had taken the writing course before, the feedback was very positive and the organization also told me to get an agent and publish the book. So I sent the manuscript to many agents and this was sort of the starting point of my writing career, although it was a long time before I was actually published, which of course I didn’t know at the time.
DW: Exciting how life plays out sometimes. I’m looking forward to hearing how it went. You mention that it was some time before you actually published your first book. How did you finally end up getting published?
Jules: As I mentioned, I contacted many agents and sent them my manuscript. What came back were only rejection letters. The agents told me that my book was good, but it wasn’t enough to get it published. I had only one choice: write another book. Which I did. That’s exactly how it went with books number 2, 3 and 4. For my 5th book, I actually found an agent who wanted to publish it. I am very grateful today that it took so long then to actually get published because I learned so much about writing itself during that time. Looking at it from the eyes of today, I have to confess that my first book was not good.
DW: It’s incredible how positively you speak. I can imagine that it wasn’t easy to get so many rejections. How did you always motivate yourself to keep going at that time?
Jules: Actually, it wasn’t that easy. I wrote each of my books with passion and from the heart and I believed in each of the books. Every time I got a rejection, at the same time I thought to myself that I don’t want the agents to be right and that I will show them. Besides, I have a wonderful friend who also writes books. She and I were trying to get published at the same time. Every time we got a rejection, we built each other up again.
DW: You walked the same path together. I think that’s so wonderful, and today you are successfully writing and publishing your own books.
I saw that you write under two different names, one Jules Wake and one Julie Caplin. Is there a special reason for that?
Jules: Julie Caplin is my maiden name. Julie Caplin’s books are more about travel and community and of course, there is always a love story. The Jules Wake books are more family-based and of course, there is always a love story. You can find that in any of the books.
DW: One of the many reasons why I love these books so much. Family, community and love. I love that your books are about these themes. How do you go about writing a book? Do you do a lot of research about the place and the people you’re writing about?
Jules: Absolutely. My books are about stories from Paris, France or even New York and Brooklyn, America to name a few places. I always travel to these places myself in order to portray the actions in the book authentically. Of course, I always invent a part of it, but to find out more about what it’s like to play in an orchestra or to work in an opera house, I will interview experts so that I know more about their work. I always travel to the places I write about so that I can get an accurate picture. That way I can tell the story better and more vividly. As I mentioned, I imagine a lot, but the part where the characters live in the book, the work they do, I always do more research so that I can render it interesting for the reader.
DW: I think you do a great job of combining everything in your books. The way you describe the plots, the places they take place in, the way you write about the characters in the books and always make it exciting for the readers so that they want to read on.
Would you like to tell us a little about the process involved in getting the book published? Having written my own book and having it out soon, I know how much work goes into it. So after you’ve written your book, what’s the next step?
Jules: After I write the book, I send it to my editor. She looks at the book and the first step after that is the so-called structural edits. These are the big edits. It may well be in this step that she thinks the ending is not good, or even whole chapters are not right and need to be changed. This stage usually takes about a month to rewrite.. After this step is complete, we move on to the second round of edits. These are usually the small edits. The third round of edits is about spelling and commas, or sentence order in general, which we call copy edits.This is also about making sure that the timeline is good, for example, or that the characters don’t suddenly have brown eyes instead of blue eyes.
DW: As a layman, you can’t imagine how much work is behind a book.
Would you like to tell us a little more about your daily routine? What does your everyday life as a writer look like?
Jules: Since I no longer work and only write, I basically write all day. I start around 9.00 in the morning until 18.00 in the evening.
DW: How do you find the balance for yourself besides writing? I can imagine that you certainly have moments when you have writer’s blockages or just need a break in general.
Jules: I like to go jogging and swimming for balance. I always go jogging with a friend on Saturdays and I try to find time for jogging during the week as well. I also do cross-country running, where I jog through the fields and up hills. Where we live it is very hilly and when I stand on top of one of the hills and look over the whole valley, it is always one of those moments where I think: I AM GLAD I AM ALIVE. Since it’s quite strenuous to get up all those hills, it’s just breathtaking to stand at the top and look out over the valley. I also go swimming three times a week. This helps me enormously to be in my center and to empty my head. It also helps me with writer’s blockages. I have a new and clear head afterward and sometimes I rewrite things straight away that I wrote the day before, for example. I also go for walks in nature twice a week with a friend. I love these walks. We exchange ideas because she also writes, and that is often very helpful.
DW: Thank you very much for your time and for answering my questions. Where can you buy your books? I know that you now publish your books in different languages. Which languages are they?
Jules: My books are available in English, German, Italian, Dutch and Russian. My books are also available in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and one book is also available in Latvia. One of my books, Little Coffee in Copenhagen, is available in Denmark and soon books will be available to buy and read in Brazil.
DW: Incredible! It doesn’t surprise me in the least, though. As I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of your books, and every time I read I just want to keep reading and can’t stop because it’s so beautiful, entertaining, inspiring, and wonderfully written.
It was so lovely to talk to you, I am very grateful that you took the time and I hope to all the readers out there that they feel your energy, be it in this Coffee Talk or when they read one of your books.
If you’d like to find out more about Jules Wake, you can find Jules on Instagram @juleswakeauthor or @juliecaplinauthor. Her books can be found almost everywhere be it Julie Chaplin or Jules Wake. You can find her at Weltbild, Amazon, Orellfüessli, or Exlibris.