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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Julie Navickas talks about her new romance novel, I Loved You Yesterday, and her creative writing process.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed contemporary romance author Julie Navickas about her life and career, what inspired her to start writing, and the work that went into her new book release, I Loved You Yesterday.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Julie Navickas and I’m a debut author of contemporary romance. My first novel, I Loved You Yesterday, releases on August 23, 2022. This is book one in the Trading Heartbeats trilogy and has truly been a passion project of mine since the onset of the pandemic.
When I’m not writing, I’m typically in the classroom teaching writing-focused coursework in the School of Communication at Illinois State University. I also serve as the impact manager for Burning Soul Collective and teach a variety of coursework as a continuing education instructor at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois.
I’ve been married for eleven years to my husband, Tommy and we have three beautiful children together: Lillian (5), Colton (4), and Brady (3). We also have two fluffy pups, Snoopy and Dexter!
When did you first WANT to write a book?
In the fourth grade, I wrote a story about vegetables plotting an escape from the refrigerator. This silly tale earned me a Young Author’s award for creative writing and set the foundation for my career in storytelling.
Prior to penning a romance novel, I held multiple roles practicing my skill sets in public relations and journalistic writing. It’s all storytelling in some shape or form, but the desire to truly write a book didn’t set in until summer 2020.
When did you take a step to start writing?
In June 2020, I happened to see a free writing workshop appear on my Facebook feed, hosted by a friend I’d lost touch with over the years. At the time, she was in the throes of starting her own publishing company (Burning Soul Collective), and I signed up to explore her work further. The workshop she hosted was called From Blank Pages to Writing Machine – and holy cow, I’ve never seen a more realistic title. As I sit here today, I’ve written three novels since participating!
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I first started writing I Loved You Yesterday in June 2020. By December of that same year, I had a solid draft in place and began querying the manuscript. On May 1, 2021, I signed a contract with Inkspell Publishing and was assigned a publication date of August 23, 2022. So… just over two years!
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
I wrote book two in the Trading Heartbeats trilogy in about six months. Likewise, I penned book three in the series in about seven months. I Love You Today will be released on November 8, 2022 and I’ll Love You Tomorrow will be released in April 2023.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write I Loved You Yesterday?
In 2008, I completed an advanced writing for mass media course in graduate school. The final project for this class was to write a film script. This assignment inspired the Trading Heartbeats trilogy. For over ten years the characters I wrote in that film script stayed with me – and when the idea came to write a novel, I had no better place to start than with their story!
What were your biggest challenges with writing I Loved You Yesterday?
I had to learn a new way to write. My entire career has been based in public relations and journalism. And while I consider myself a strong writer in those areas, I had virtually no idea how to tell a story through a creative lens with a character driven plot. Each word in I Loved You Yesterday was a painstaking learning process, but one I am SO grateful for! I now feel more confident as a writer and storyteller.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
When I first started trying to write a novel, several authors I interacted with shared with me a piece of advice: write the book you want to read. So I did. Mavis Benson is a flawed young woman who had a rough start in life. Everything she does comes with a deafening consequence that leads to struggle and confusion. She’s relatable – and a woman anyone can root for. She jumped from the page right away and much of myself is reflected in her character.
Likewise, Josh Templeton (because I Loved You Yesterday is told from a dual perspective) is the sweet, successful, romantic book boyfriend any reader can drool over! He’s hopelessly naive and just wants a second chance at love. What woman doesn’t want that?!
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
I Loved You Yesterday is a steamy love triangle, and Austin Templeton gets to assume the role of antagonist. Like his twin brother Josh, he’s also a hopeless romantic who just falls for the wrong woman. As I mentioned above, when I sat down to write the book I wanted to read, he jumped from the page – and inspired the entirety of book two in the series.
What is the inciting incident of I Loved You Yesterday?
The story opens on the moment Josh Templeton signs his divorce paperwork. After surviving a four-year marriage to Tess Browning, he’s reeling from the failure and loss. On the night she leaves, Josh happens across a box in his closet filled with old mementos from his youth. Buried inside, he rediscovers the goodbye letter his highschool sweetheart, Mavis Benson had once given him. He reads her words and feels the pain all over again from the day she disappeared. Taking it as a sign that this letter reappeared on the day he divorced, Josh vows to find her and uncover her secret for leaving.
What is the main conflict of I Loved You Yesterday?
Josh and Mavis were highschool sweethearts, destined to be together forever. But when Mavis learns she’s pregnant with his child at the age of seventeen, she skips town, opting to leave Josh in favor of his career aspirations of becoming a doctor. Ten years pass before chance brings Austin Templeton (Josh’s twin brother) to her front door. An attraction erupts and a relationship blossoms between the two. That is, until the moment Josh vows to win her back. I Loved You Yesterday is a swoon-worthy love triangle of loyalty and lust.
Did you plot I Loved You Yesterday in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
Because I Loved You Yesterday originated from a film script, I had an outline in mind before I typed one word. Much of the original story changed from that initial script, but the characters stayed the same (and some new ones were added). As I learned more about the storytelling and creative process of novel writing though, I started becoming far more comfortable with plotting (and plotted my next two books!)
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did I Loved You Yesterday need?
Yes! I have been blessed beyond measure to have partnered with Emma O’Connell of Emma’s Edit! I connected with Emma through The Writing Champions Project and she has served as my developmental editor for all three books in the trilogy. In addition, Inkspell Publishing also assigned me to Audrey Bobak for a final manuscript polish.I am forever indebted to both of them!
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
My advice is simply… just try. Had it not been for the solitude of the pandemic, I do not think I ever would have embarked on this journey. Whatever motivation you need—or whatever life throws your way, take it, and don’t look back. Writing is difficult, but I’ve found it to be one of the most fulfilling avenues to express my creativity and emotions.
Build up to it. Write a story that’s just for you. And when you’re ready to remove the training wheels, write a story for your ideal reader (which should still be you!). Find the power and tap into it. But no matter what, do not stop trying. Every story has a place in the world.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
When I concluded the Trading Heartbeats trilogy, there was one character (Tess Browning) who didn’t quite get the happy ending she deserved. Her character evolved beyond any other in the entire series and I think she needs her own story! Therefore, my next novel will likely feature her – and her travels abroad to the city of love… Paris!
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
There is likely nothing cooler that I will ever do. Not only have I fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming an author, I’m setting an example for my children that you can do anything you want in life if you set your mind to it!
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
I Loved You Yesterday can be purchased here:
And you can find me here:
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