Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interview with author Julie Eberhart Painter

Today my guest is Julie Eberhart Painter talking about her romance, Tangled Web.

Tell me a little about your book.
In Tangled Web, Catherine, an innocent though ambitious woman is seduced by what we would now call a player, but in 1935, when the scene is set, Jack would have been thought of as a user, a selfish rogue or a philanderer—a Rhett Butler type. Jack takes no responsibility for their child, and Catherine must give up the baby whom she will always mourn.  (In those days, to keep your baby was an invitation to spend your life in your parent’s attic in disgrace.) She and her younger sister leave the influence of their small industrial town, Wilkes-Barre, with its two silk thread mills and coal mines and move to Philadelphia to start over.  

This is a “Cinderella” and “Little Match Girl” story with all the family values to be reassessed. As the Great Depression ends and the Second World War begins, the women find success. But love and trust do not come easily to Catherine.

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
The secret baby has long been an emotional hook in every genre of romance writing.  I was a secret baby, and unfortunately, I’m still someone’s secret.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’d say full time, because I have no other gainful employment. I used to run a sanctioned American Contract Bridge League duplicate franchise, but with all the writing, that had to be set aside.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I always wrote poems and stories in my room when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I was eight before I understood the term “writer.”

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Memorable, believable characters they can’t forget.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
The mystery romance novel sprinkled with humor is my favorite long project. I also write “gotcha” flash fiction, blogs and issue essays

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
First, of course, is finding the right publisher and getting published. Once that has been accomplished, it’s a matter of continuing to produce publishable work every time. The pressure on promoting and making money takes the fun out of the creative side.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
The book is shaped by my own adoption story and my hopes for my birth mother. Growing up in the fifties with its heavy emphasis on strict morals, I could feel her pain at having me out of wedlock—way out of wedlock, because she was at least seduced if not raped. When I was writing her seduction scene near the beginning of the book, I felt like I was there, eavesdropping on her embarrassment and self-consciousness.

How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
She is very different from me. She had a natural talent for drawing and art; my art was studied at Moore Institute in Philadelphia to be applied in the family business. I went back to writing when I married.

What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Aside from my life experience, I’ve read many books about both sides of adoption issues. I did an adoption search, which is where the non-identifying information came from that is used in the book and as a guide for Tangled Web. Those documents were the kinds of incomplete, hit or miss records that were taken in 1937.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Horror is not my forte, but action scenes: chasing, kidnappings etc., are right up my rain-soaked alley.  Highly sexual scenes take the romance out of romances. I like a sweet romance, not a road map to the “big moment (s).”

What about your book makes it special?
It’s an emotional journey though the back rooms of adoption. It should stand as an inspiration that one can pick up the pieces, and be guided by trusted mentors along the way.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Check out my Web site: and also look at my many Google pages under my full name, Julie Eberhart Painter. My flash fiction appears on  The Web sites listed below contain my short blogs, interviews, flash fiction and controversial essays from the Orlando Sentinel.  Also, my publisher’s Web site,, has more information.  In October of 2011, they will release the Kill Fee, a less emotional more murderous book, staring an Indian Hill Mynah Bird named Bilgewater who was raised in a bar on the docks and has the vocabulary to go with it.

Read more about Julie and see her short pieces on the following:

Mortal Coil, in paperback
Tangled Web, New in paperback
Kill Fee, October 2011

Book Blurb:
Tangled Web, By Julie Eberhart Painter

Wilkes-Barre’s cohesive Welsh community was a haven of Protestant values and mutual support.  It was also a hornet’s nest of gossip. Neither a canary’s death nor a girl’s fall from grace escaped the locals’ chatter

Good girls avoided the attention of the grandmothers’ grapevine by behaving—in public—as ladies were expected to behave with good manners and self-control.  In private, emotions roiled, passions were explored, appetites satiated, and the end results “talked about.” 

Or hidden.


  1. Tangled Web sounds like a page turner!

  2. Oh, Julie, what a powerful and personal story this must have been to write for you.

    My sister, who got pregnant she was 14, had her baby in 1977. So thank goodness I've always known my neice and she didn't have to become a secret. Still, my mom continues to complain to this day about how rude all the nurses were to her when she was in the delivery room.

    I can't even imagine how scary life must've been for her. I was 30 with my husband at my side and kind nurses and I still freaked on my delivery day!!

    Thank you for your wonderful interview. Loved it.

  3. Victoria and Linda, thank you for stopping by. I also want to thank Julie for sharing her very personal story.