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Reading the tea leaves with romance novelist Julie Evelyn Joyce

By Kobo in Conversation • February 21, 2020Kobo in Conversation Podcast

"I always feel like people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, and there's a purpose to it. There's always something you can pull from that experience."

Winner of the 2019 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in Romance

When Julie Evelyn Joyce first saw an episode of The Gilmore Girls, the crackling dialogue sparked a desire to write that has been burning ever since. She started with fan fiction, writing for the pleasure of fellow devotees of the show, but gradually started seeing story possibilities beyond the universe of established TV characters.

Having admired Lucy Maud Montgomery's stories of Anne of Green Gables, Julie sought to create a community like the one that surrounded Anne; characters that were forever in each other's business while also wanting the best for the story's protagonist. So she started to write about Addie, a character who despite some good fortune in the form of a large inheritance, is still "struggling to find a place in the world."

While she dreamed of finding fame through a publishing deal, it slowly dawned on Julie that there were other options available to a budding romance writer. She decided to self-publish, scrappily pulling together a plan for editing and design, and ultimately leading to a big prize win last year in Toronto.

Steeped in Love: Make Me a Match #1 by Julie Evelyn Joyce

Addie Mitchell is a pie-on-the-fly entrepreneur who’s finally ready to settle down in the big, empty house her late great-aunt Edna left to her. Frustrated with her lack of success in romance, Addie turns to another gift her great-aunt passed on to her—the art of reading tea leaves—to aid her in her search for the ideal mate.

Novelist Ethan Holtz is having a hard time sinking his teeth into his next project, but he finds Addie fascinating. Mainly for her ability to make her dates disappear in fifteen minutes or less. He can’t help but eavesdrop on her dates in the local coffee shop, his writing haven, and soon finds himself taking pointers on what not to do from her failed suitors.

Though her methods seem nothing short of mad, he falls fast and hard for the pixie-haired pie-pusher. She thinks they’re all wrong for each other, but Ethan teams up with the tea leaves to prove they’re so right.

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