Fit To Print: Lehi author Julianne Donaldson rewrites the rules of romance

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When Julianne Donaldson had two young children and a husband going to school, she decided she needed an outlet that was creative, intellectually stimulating and free — and writing checked all three boxes. She started writing picture books, magazine articles, essays and poems. These projects gave her the publishing bug and she began writing a novel.

   Over the course of four years, Julianne wrote Edenbrooke.

   “In the beginning, I was just writing for myself and my sanity,” she says, “I had pie-in-the-sky dreams of it becoming a success, but I never thought anything would happen with it.”

   The plot’s book is centered around Marianne Daventry, who leaves her home in Bath, England, to spend time with her sister in Edenbrooke and becomes entangled in an unexpected adventure.

   Julianne wrote during nap time, after her children went to bed and on writer’s retreats. She laughs when she thinks about how she would she would try to write at home. Inevitably, one of her kids would come in and ask for a drink, and she would be sucked out of picturesque England back into reality in seconds.

   “Putting your mind in a different time and location and connecting with imaginary characters is hard to do when you are getting interrupted,” she says.

   After Juilanne finished the book, she pitched it to several book agents. All of them told her the book needed to be more religious to fit into the inspirational book market, or that it needed to be more scandalous to fit into the mainstream romance market. Julianne rejected both ideas.

   “I wanted women to be able to have that escape of reading a romance novel without the guilt,” Julianne says.

   After a year of pitching her book, Julianne reached out to Shadow Mountain Publishing in Salt Lake City on a whim. To her surprise, they were interested.

   The book was a hit and went on to become one of Deseret Book’s top selling products in 2012.

   Today, it has a 4-star rating (based on nearly 35,000 reviews) on Goodreads. Edenbrooke is classified as a “regency romance,” which is a sub genre of romance novels set between 1811-1820. While the book is written for the young adult genre, it has been well received by teenagers and grandmothers alike.

   Today, Julianne lives in Lehi and is raising five children. She is excited to get back to writing and give Edenbrooke fans something new to rave about.

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Kate Lehnhof Nash first joined Bennett Communications as a summer intern in 2009. Now, as an associate editor, she writes for magazines including Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley Bride and Prosper. Kate lives in Springville with her husband Steve and enjoys running, reading, sushi and her french bulldog, Chief.

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