JULIE JOHNSON

boys are better in books

Feeling a little sentimental...

** FAIR WARNING: This is a long one. **

So, just about two years ago, I was standing in the driveway with my parents, loading up my mom's SUV with a sincerely ridiculous number of boxes and preparing to make the long drive back down to Delaware for my final year of college, when I decided it was time to tell them. I gathered my courage and, in the most casual tone I could muster, said something along the lines of, "Hey, humans-who-created-me, so I wrote this book and I'm publishing it on Amazon tomorrow."

I remember my parents looking at me with surprise. Sure, I'd mentioned the book in passing a few times over the summer. They treated my "novel" with the same patient sincerity they'd used during my six-month obsession with horseback riding, and during the brief, disappointing stint in fifth grade when I convinced myself a few private singing lessons would land me on the path to stardom. (LOL. *dies of embarrassment*) ...Which is to say they were supportive, but not entirely sure it would ever amount to anything.

Fair enough.

This time, though, I was serious (not to mention scared out my ever-loving mind) and once they got over their initial shock, they asked me lots of questions. Firstly -- "What the hell is self-publishing, Julie, and why would you ever want to do it?" -- and secondly -- "Can we at least read it before you send it out into the world?"

So, with shaky fingers and my heart in my throat, I sent it to their Kindles. And then I spent the next two days physically restraining myself from spying on their reading progress and biting my tongue to keep from repeatedly asking, "What part are you at?" and "Is it awful?" and "Please, for the love of god, tell me you skipped the sex scenes, Dad?"

The long-winded point to this post is: my parents are the best beta readers I've ever had. Even after four books, they're still the first ones to read my manuscripts before publication because I trust them more than anyone else on the planet to be truthful with me. To tell me which characters suck, or what scenes need work, or to question whether three Harry Potter references in one book is too many. (Um... obviously it's not. GOD, Mom.)

When I hit the "publish" button to launch LIKE GRAVITY a few days later in my tiny UD apartment, my parents were right by my side. My dad popped a bottle of champagne and we drank it out of plastic cups; my mom took a ridiculous number of unflattering pictures of me to document the moment. They made me laugh until I wasn't scared anymore and told me it was a great book, even though they were totally biased.

It was the best book launch I've ever had.

For some reason, I can't quite wrap my mind around the fact that it's been TWO YEARS since this crazy, amazing, life-changing adventure started. And... before the LIKE GRAVITY anniversary passes by and this moment slips away... I just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU. To Christine & Dave, my parents, for being there since that terrifying day two summers ago, and to every single reader and blogger who's been there for all the days since. I'd never be able to chase my dreams without your love and support. I hope you know just how much it means to me.

Much love & big hugs. xx

Julie