There are enough contemporary romantic fiction books out there. And, it’s difficult for authors to write a story that stands out among so many options. Author Julie Navickas has done exactly that with her book ‘I Loved You Yesterday’, a unique romantic story showcasing modern relationships that clearly stands out among the rest.
With the release of I Love You Yesterday, we had an opportunity to speak to author Julie Navickas about her book, her writing career, her personal life, and her upcoming books.
But, before we get into that, let us give you a brief introduction to the author.
About the Author: Julie Navickas
Julie Navickas is an award-winning contemporary romance author. Her stories involve humor, humility, and lots of heroism. She became a top-selling author of heart-wrenching love stories. Her debut book ‘I Loved you Yesterday’ was published in 2022. Previously, she has been a part of two different anthologies from Inkspell Publishing.
She is also an award-winning university instructor and serves as the executive director of The Writing Champions Project. Julie earned master’s degrees in both organizational communication and English studies with an emphasis in book history, as well as a bachelor’s degree in public relations, graduating cum laude from Illinois State University.
Further, Julie Navickas shared about her childhood, writing journey, inspirations, and more interesting things about herself. Here are all of her interesting answers.
Tell us about your parents, kids, and family.
I married my high school sweetheart, Thomas, eleven years ago. We have three children: Lillian (age 6), Colton (age 5), and Brady (age 3). Lillian enjoys her hip-hop and tumbling classes at the local dance studio and Colton and Brady take martial arts classes.
When and where were you born and bought up?
I’m from Johnsburg, a sleepy farm town in Illinois that’s a stone’s throw from Wisconsin. I’m really just your average Midwestern girl from the Chicago suburbs. I grew up playing softball in diamonds carved out of cornfields, hanging out with friends in front of raging bonfires, and cultivating a deep (and sometimes embarrassing) love for stories of all kinds.
What were you like at school? Any childhood memory you would like to share?
“Why are you so quiet?” sums up my childhood existence. From an early age, I preferred to be in my own head rather than conversing with anyone else. I loved reading and got an early start on writing. In the fourth grade, I earned a Young Author’s Award for a story I wrote about vegetables escaping from the refrigerator!
What are your educational/professional qualifications?
In 2006, I moved to Bloomington-Normal, Illinois to start my college career and never truly left the classroom. I completed an undergraduate degree in public relations and two master’s degrees in organizational communication and English studies with an emphasis on book history. Illinois State University has been my home away from home for over fifteen years as both a student and a working professional.
What is your biggest achievement till today?
As cliché as this answer sounds, publishing my first book is indeed my greatest achievement! I’m also quite proud of completing a second master’s degree in English studies. I earned this degree while working full-time with a one-year-old and two-year- old at home.
Which writers inspire you?
Even though I write contemporary romance, my heart has always been drawn to fantasy. J.R.R. Tolkien has earned the title of father of modern fantasy for a reason. There truly is not a day that passes where I’m not in some way absorbed in the lore of Middle Earth.
Since I was a child, I’ve immersed myself in the fandom — everything from college-level coursework to fan-girling over the Peter Jackson films, to studying abroad in London (just so I could spend time at Oxford!), to now being an avid weekly listener of The Friendship Onion podcast. It’s all magic — and Tolkien’s literature helps me fuel my passion for storytelling.
Writing is stressful at times. How do you relax your mind?
Personally, I do not find writing stressful. In fact, it’s the exact opposite for me. Because I work full-time and raise a family of three small children, writing is my reward after a long, busy day of checking off items on my to-do list. Writing relaxes my mind. It’s an opportunity for me to create and unwind through storytelling.
What is your favourite motivational phrase?
“When someone says you can’t do it – do it twice – and send them pictures.”
What advice would you give to your younger self?
As a high school student, I was often told to think about majoring in something “realistic” at college because aiming for a career as an author apparently wasn’t. If I could go back, I’d shut down the naysayers and whisper in my ear, “It’s possible.”
What books do you like to read personally? What are you reading currently?
Outside of high fantasy, I do (obviously) enjoy a good romance novel. I’m drawn to authors like Katie Cotugno, Nora Roberts, and Lynn Painter. Currently, I have “Better Than the Movies” up next on my TBR list.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I’m not sure I’d choose authoring anyone else’s work. Ultimately for me, it’s about the process, not the final product. While I absolutely enjoy and consume other author’s stories, I find my fulfillment in the creativity rather than the end result.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
I’ve never been much of a risk-taker. I’m the “play-it-safe” kind of girl, falling in line with the rules and pre-determined expectations… never having the courage to step beyond my comfort zone or do something unexpected. But then the pandemic hit, and my orderly life took a nose-dive.
COVID-19 has impacted the globe in more ways than words can define. I live in Illinois and our state was effectively shut down from about mid-March to mid-June 2020. Like many, I was asked to work remotely — which meant quickly learning how to adapt to teach and advise college students online. The learning curve was tough, but seemingly doable. But here’s what made it impossible.
Daycare closed and I was left with a one-year-old, a two-year-old, and a three-year-old to care for at home… while simultaneously moving my full-time job entirely online. I struggled — a lot. But from that struggle, I found a new part of myself — a piece of my heart that I hadn’t tapped into. And after months of tears and pent-up frustration, I learned a valuable lesson. I learned to give myself permission.
I gave myself permission to step away from the expectations. I gave myself permission to prioritize my needs — and my desires. And most importantly, I gave myself permission to take a risk.
I discovered an outlet to channel my anger, displacing my this isn’t fair attitude into something meaningful. I found storytelling. So, in the middle of lockdown, I took a risk on myself and laid my heart bare to the blank pages in front of me. Every night, I plotted and planned — created and developed characters — and told their story. I’ve never been so bold in my life, trying something new and putting myself out into the world in a new capacity.
And within about ten months I found that I had written a 75,000-word contemporary romance novel, signed a contract with Inkspell Publishing, and won an award for my debut novel, I Loved You Yesterday.
Talk about a whirlwind author journey!
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Typically, I commit 8:00 – 10:00 pm every day to writing. While ideally, I’d like to write during the morning hours, my life doesn’t currently allow for that! Maybe one day!
What is the reason you write; is it for the readers or yourself or some other thing?
Initially, I wrote the story for myself. It was about teaching myself a new skill and allowing my creativity to flow through a medium I loved. But the further I’ve traveled down the publishing path, the more I’ve structured my stories for my readers.
About your Book: I Loved You Yesterday
The story is about three people, Mavis, and twin brothers Josh and Austin. It also showcases their complicated love story. Josh and Mavis were madly in love, on an unfateful day Mavis left Josh leaving an emotional letter behind.
Ten years passed and they met again to ignite their power of love but some questions still linger. Why did Mavis leave? When and how Austin gets romantically involved with Mavis? Whom will Mavis choose?
To know the answers, you have to dive into this suspenseful romantic journey by Julie Navickas.
What genre is your book? What draws you to this genre?
I Loved You Yesterday is a contemporary romance novel. I’m drawn to this genre more than any other because I find the stories relatable and heartwarming. When time allows and I can dive into a book of my own choosing, the first thing I’ll pick up is often a contemporary romance.
How the idea for this story came to you? What was the inspiration behind the characters?
In 2008, while enrolled in advanced writing for mass media course in graduate school, I was asked to write a full-length film script as my final project. The work I completed was a total trash fire, but the characters and their stories stayed with me for well over a decade. And when the moment came and I spoke the words, “I’m going to write a book”, the first thing I did was return to this same story because the characters never truly left my heart.
I still have the film script I wrote and credit the Trading Heartbeats trilogy to this initial assignment. Without it, I’m unsure what my life would look like right now!
With so many romance books around, what makes ‘I Loved You Yesterday’ stand out in this genre?
I get it. The romance genre is a billion-dollar industry and is saturated with books that hit on every trope imaginable. I Loved You Yesterday is a second-chance story of true love, with a sprinkle of spice and devilish temptations. Early book reviews have said:
“The author’s focused and engaging writing style will make you fall in love with the characters. The narration pulled me in from the first page, and I felt like I was part of their lives, watching everything unravel as the truth and the heartbreak played out.”
“The first book in the Trading Heartbeats trilogy, this book is a whirlwind of emotions. All characters were beautifully well-written, and they really brought out emotions that felt realistic and honest.”
“It’s a great weekend read if you’re looking for a heartwarming story of love, forgiveness, and hope. Time can never barricade love; it transcends to a higher place. I really enjoyed it and I cannot wait to read the other two books in this fabulous trilogy.”
“The characters are complex and the story itself is an emotional roller coaster that will make readers feel elated one moment and heartbroken the very next. It’s a beautiful story of true love, that will make you want to cherish your loves ones even more.”
While there are thousands of other choices on the market with similar tropes and themes, I Loved You Yesterday promises well-written and realistic emotions that drive the story forward. The characters are believable and complex and offer a fresh perspective on the path to love.
What should a reader expect from ‘I Loved You Yesterday’?
Readers should expect to have their hearts torn out, stomped on, and then repaired and replaced. As crass as that sounds, that’s exactly the emotional roller coaster this story tells!
The story is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time. What was the hardest & the easiest thing to write such a story?
I loved writing every scene in this book, but I think my favorite part is the final chapter. Josh and Mavis overcome so much to be together, but in the end, their love wins, and they find their happy ending. It was a pleasure to write their story and give them the happy ending they worked so hard to achieve.
Any special experience about ‘I Loved You Yesterday’ that you would like to share?
Here’s a fun fact. I’m a plotter. I know that about myself now after completing my third novel. But when I wrote I Loved You Yesterday, I embodied the spirit of a pantser. Mavis was my star character and when I introduced her on the page and a love triangle appeared, I didn’t know which Templeton twin she would end up with.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
In a way, writing is my career. I teach coursework in the School of Communication at Illinois State University and as the part-time impact manager with Burning Soul Press, I write every day with a strategic, audience-driven lens.
But… if we’re talking fiction writing as a career, I would jump on that train with no ticket and take my chances! Talk about DREAMS!
Are you working on your new project? What will be your next book about?
I absolutely am! Over the 2022 holiday season, I started writing my fourth novel, Trusting Love. This book will be book one in a new trilogy but has a few familiar faces from the Trading Heartbeats trilogy. This story is central to overcoming past mistakes and learning to be better versions of ourselves – while finding the love of course!
What does success mean to you as an Author?
I think my definition of success changes daily. If you asked me that question two years ago, I would have just said, “getting published!” But now that I’ve crossed that bridge (soon to be three times), I’m more focused on getting my stories in the hands of readers. As my journey progresses, so does my definition.
What is your take on traditional publishing and self-publishing?
The self-publishing world has exploded, and authors can now share their stories with the world without having an agent or publisher. The gatekeepers have been eliminated, and
simply put, it allows for more stories to be shared with the world.
Similarly, platforms like TikTok offer authors an incredible avenue to market their books to readers. Opportunities are available today like never before and I fully appreciate the alternatives to traditional publishing.
That being said, I am a traditionally published author with Inkspell Publishing and have enjoyed the support, guidance, and resources I’ve been afforded.
One learning that you’d like to pass on to young debut authors.
My advice is simple… 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.
Your opinion about Vowelor.
Vowelor has been a wonderful resource to me. I’m very thankful and fortunate to work with this company. I believe they want to see my book find success as much as I do. I’m quite grateful!