Interview with Julianne MacLean

4 min read

Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author who has sold more than 1.3 million books in North America alone. She has written twenty historical romance novels, including the bestselling Highlander Trilogy. Julianne is a four-time RITA finalist wit1``h Romance Writers of America and has won numerous awards, including the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Book Buyers Best Award, and a Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times for Best Regency Historical of 2005. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of King’s College and a degree in Business Administration from Acadia University. She lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and daughter, and is a dedicated member of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada.

Visit her at or on Twitter @JulianneMacLean.

How did you get into writing and what inspired you to write your first book?

I started keeping a diary at the age of twelve, and I wrote in it faithfully every night until I got married. I remember, in junior high school, feeling a burst of excitement when something exciting would happen during the day because I’d look forward to writing about it that night. So, I suppose I always had the writing bug; I just didn’t recognize it as a possible career path. Then I majored in English in university, simply because it was my favorite subject—but still, it never dawned on me that I could become a professional writer. Eventually, I got a “real job” as an accountant, and that’s when I began to write fiction on the weekends. Interestingly, that’s exactly when I stopped writing in my diary—the day I began writing my first novel. I wrote the first paragraph of that book (which was never published) a month before my wedding. I was 27 years old and I’ve been writing novels ever since.


What makes a book great, in your opinion? What elements does a great story possess?

This is totally subjective, because we all respond differently to different types of stories, but for me, it’s something in the author’s voice that pulls me in and connects me to the main character and the events of the story. I want to feel like I’m inside the character’s skin, experiencing what they are experiencing. Unfortunately, there’s no explanation for that kind of magic. Sometimes it’s there. Sometimes it isn’t.  And sometimes, I might read a book by an author that keeps me entranced, but then I’ll read a different book by the same author, but it doesn’t grab me in the same way. It’s hard to figure out why that’s the case when it’s the same author and the same talent behind the work.  But generally, I do like it when “stuff happens” in terms of the plot.  That probably sounds simplistic, but I can get bored if there are endless pages of introspection where the character is just reflecting upon things that have already occurred and the story isn’t moving forward. I also love to be surprised by plot twists or characters who don’t do what I expect them to do. I love it when an author steers away from the obvious.  A predictable storyline doesn’t usually end up on my keeper shelf.


What are you doing if you’re not writing?

I’m a homebody, and on a regular day, I love to putter around my kitchen, planning and cooking dinner for my family. I also love to read, so I’m never bored. That all sounds rather quiet and dull, but my life feels anything but. It’s busy all the time. I often struggle to find time to fit exercise into my day because if I’m not writing, I’m answering emails or connecting with readers and friends on social media. And our daughter is a dancer and a university student, so her exciting life keeps us on our toes. And we love to travel. We are cruise junkies!


Name your favourite bookshop in the world.

Shakespeare and Company in Paris. It’s the inspiration for the setting of my next book (which I am currently plotting and outlining).


Physical book, e-book, or audiobook? – and why.

Print books—because I like to keep them in my home, on my bookshelf, so that I can remember that I’ve read them. (Although I’m running out of space these days.)  I also love my pile of “to be read” books that sits on my windowsill. I’m looking at it right now, and it makes me happy to anticipate all those hours of future reading pleasure. I can’t wait to find out what’s between those covers!


What was your favourite book as a child?

Young childhood: Go Dog Go by PD Eastman

Pre-teen: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Early Teen: Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume


We’re always on the hunt for our next great read. Recommend us a book to add to our TBR pile!

I was just asked for an author endorsement on a fabulously brilliant novel, not yet released. I’m never sure what to expect when I’m asked for a quote, but this one blew me away. It’s called In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn. It doesn’t come out until January 2020, but it’s totally worth waiting for. Definitely put that one in your schedule!


What is one movie, TV series, or podcast that you’re loving right now?

Game of Thrones! We are also enjoying the dark comedy Barry on HBO.

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