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Inspiration from a Hawaiian Vacation by Julie James
Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Please welcome talented author and friend Julie James! You are about to be totally charmed with this tale of teenage love. Leave a comment for Julie, and qualify to win your choice of either Just the Sexiest Man Alive or Practice Makes Perfect tomorrow morning!


Inspiration from a Hawaiian Vacation by Julie James

Ahh. . . Hawaii. Warm tropical breezes, white sandy beaches, the scent of hibiscus in the air. . . what’s not to love? When Beth told me about her upcoming release, Paradise Rules, my first thought was that she’d picked the absolute perfect setting for a romance.

Every time I think of Hawaii, I smile. Why, might you ask? Well, perhaps it has to do with the fact that I’ve received two diamond rings from different men during my travels to the Aloha state.

Now, before you start thinking I’m some diamond-digging trollop, let me clarify. The second ring came from my husband, when he proposed during our trip to Maui and Kauai. That’s a story I’ll keep for myself. The first ring, however, turned out not to be a real diamond, and I wasn’t even actually in Hawaii when the “man”—a sixteen year-old boy—gave it to me.

Want to hear the full story?

Okay, here it is: I was fourteen years old, and it was the summer before my sophomore year of high school. My sister, who was nine at the time, and I were spending the weekend with my grandparents, who lived in a Chicago suburb about a thirty-minute drive from our house (this becomes relevant later).

I can’t remember exactly where we were going—probably nowhere important—but it was one of those lazy summer afternoons and my sister and I decided to go for a walk. We’d gone a few blocks when a cute boy drove by on a purple Honda Spree scooter (remember—this was the early 90’s).

The boy on the purple scooter slowed when he saw us, pulled over, and introduced himself to me. His name was Dave, he had spiky blond hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and a purple scooter. My fourteen year-old, early 90’s self was smitten. And that’s how Dave became my first boyfriend.

Distance, of course, was our main problem. Being only fourteen, I had no car, and Dave had a full-time job that kept him busy during the day. Apparently Dave grew tired of only seeing me on the occasional weekends I visited my grandparents, and decided to take some initiative. But for some reason—maybe it was his job, although frankly I’m going with poor judgment—he decided to visit me at two o’clock in the morning.

So picture it: in the dead of night, he hopped on his purple Spree scooter and drove thirty miles to my house. (Keep in mind, since Spree scooters top out around thirty-five miles per hour, this was not a quick trip.) But what Dave didn’t think about was the fact that there were two problems working against him in his endeavor: (1) I didn’t know he was coming, and (2) he didn’t know which bedroom was mine. Problem #2 turned out to be the bigger one, and came to a head when David showed up at my house in the middle of the night and apparently decided, “Oh—this must be Julie’s,” and knocked on the window.

To my nine year-old sister’s bedroom.

Seeing a strange man staring into her bedroom window, my sister screamed and ran to get my parents. Quite a lot of commotion ensued, and then my mom stepped outside. Dave scrambled out of our bushes and said, as easily as if it was noon, “Hi, there—I’m Dave. Is Julie home?” To which my mother replied that Julie wasn’t in the habit of receiving visitors before sunrise, and sent Dave on his way.

A few days after the visit from “That Strange Boy in the Bushes” (as my parents now called him), I was going on a trip to Hawaii with my sister and grandparents. Dave had a gift, he said, that he wanted to give me before I left. I didn’t see or hear from him for a day or so after that, so I assumed he must have forgotten.

Oh, he had not.

Cut to me at the airport. My family boarded the plane and got settled into our seats. We were literally minutes from take-off when I suddenly heard my name being called over the intercom, asking me to come back out to the gate. (Remember—this was pre-9/11.) The whole plane, including my grandparents and nine year-old sister, watched as I de-boarded. When I got out to the gate, there was a circle of flight attendants standing off to the side, smiling. Front and center was Dave, holding a small jewelry box. No clue what he had told the airline attendants to get them to pull me off the plane, but keep in mind—I was fourteen.

By now a crowd had gathered, and everyone watched as Dave got down on one knee (yep, remember, we’re still fourteen and sixteen years old at this point) and pulled out this diamond(ish) ring and says something about how it’s a promise ring, etc., etc. The crowd cheered when I accepted the ring, and I think we probably hugged, and then amongst the clapping I reboarded the plane, having some serious “˜splaining to do to my grandparents about why I now had a diamond(ish) ring on my finger.

As I sit here now, reliving this story, something occurs to me. I’ve never known exactly where or when the desire to write romance and romantic comedies came to me, but I’m thinking that it might have something to do with that day in the airport. I can vividly recall the thrill of that moment—even though I knew it was crazy—when I first saw Dave standing at the gate with his diamond(ish) ring. The smiles on the faces of the flight attendants, and the cheering of the crowd that had gathered. Because everyone, at every age, loves a happy ending.

Speaking of endings, you’re probably wondering what happened to Dave. We dated for the rest of the summer, although living thirty miles apart, attending different high schools remained an issue, as did my sneaking suspicion that Dave was a bit. . . well, over the top. Eventually it ended—as it turns out, not all distances can be conquered by young love. Not even with a purple Spree scooter.

But that’s the great thing about young love—it can happen more than once, lots of times even. And shortly after Dave took off into the sunset on his purple Spree scooter, summer turned into fall and something else happened that would become forever embedded in my formative romantic teenage mind.

I met The Bad Boy.

Whose name was Jason.

Those of you who’ve read Just the Sexiest Man Alive might recognize the name. . .


Find out more about Julie here.
Click here to order Julie’s books.

41 comments to “Inspiration from a Hawaiian Vacation by Julie James”

  1. chey
      · September 24th, 2009 at 10:03 am · Link

    Great blog! What a cute story!

  2. Mary G
      · September 24th, 2009 at 10:07 am · Link

    Hi Julie & Beth
    Julie -Such a funny, sweet story. I guess we’ll wait for your autobiography to hear about the other proposal right? I’ve read both your books & they were wonderful. You make humor sexy. As you probably know I love humor. I think sharing a laugh creates a bond & for that moment in time anywhere from 2 people to thousands are on the same page. Don’t enter me – just wanted to drop buy & tell everyone to buy your books. BTW did you read page 219 of SR yet?

  3. Mary G
      · September 24th, 2009 at 10:14 am · Link

    Sorry – drop by – don’t let Beth see my spelling error LOL.

  4. Teresa Warner
      · September 24th, 2009 at 10:53 am · Link

    Enjoed the post today!

  5. elaing8
      · September 24th, 2009 at 10:59 am · Link

    Cute story…ah young love.lol.
    I haven’t read any of your books, but they sound very interesting,I look forward to reading them.

  6. Amy M
      · September 24th, 2009 at 11:12 am · Link

    Oh gosh, what a sweet story! Hilarious to think what we thought of as romantic at those ages! 😀

    Amy M

  7. cat york
      · September 24th, 2009 at 11:24 am · Link

    haha! cute! I remember your trip to Hawaii! great story Julie! – cat

  8. Julie James
      · September 24th, 2009 at 11:36 am · Link

    Hi everyone! Thanks to Beth, for including me in the contest for Paradise Rules! Can’t wait for the book’s release…

    Mary: thanks so much! Love what you said about laughter creating a bond between two people. Couldn’t agree more– it’s one of the reasons I like to include humor in my writing. And I haven’t gotten to page 219 of SR yet, but you are so making me curious…

    Amy: I know, it is kind of funny. Nowadays if a man hung out in my bushes at 2am or pulled me off an airplane, I’d have quite a different opinion on the matter. But when you’re young, it all works. 😉

    Cat: So nice to see you here!! I can’t believe you remember that! Oh, the things we did when we were kids, right?

  9. Rowena
      · September 24th, 2009 at 11:37 am · Link

    Awww, what an adorable story. Thanks for sharing and please don’t enter me into the drawing but I just had to leave a comment to tell you what a great memory!

    Ooh, tell us about Jason!

  10. RachieG
      · September 24th, 2009 at 11:50 am · Link

    Such a sweet post 🙂 Always enjoy Julie James and her books. Something about a Julie James book can always make me happy and smile. Fun and sweet, all at the same time.

  11. Jeanette Juan
      · September 24th, 2009 at 12:02 pm · Link

    The books sound so sweet!

  12. Kim
      · September 24th, 2009 at 12:11 pm · Link

    Unusual that a 16 year old boy had such a flair for romance. Not many grown men would have shown up at the airport with a ring. LOL

    Julie – Since humor is your trademark, are you a naturally witty person or does it only come through in your writing?

  13. Katie Mack
      · September 24th, 2009 at 12:16 pm · Link

    That’s such a great story! Don’t enter me in the drawing — I just wanted to say that I loved the post. And I’m now going to have to read Just the Sexiest Man Alive. How did that one get by me?

  14. austenfan
      · September 24th, 2009 at 12:34 pm · Link

    Ooooh, I love bad boys! Well, at least the fictional ones. :mrgreen: And I especially love Jason from Just The Sexiest Man Alive! 😀

  15. Julie James
      · September 24th, 2009 at 12:38 pm · Link

    Rowena: Hmm, what can I say about Jason… He was like the bad boy from an 80’s teenage John Hughes movie and a country music song, all rolled into one.

    Kim: I think I’ve been blessed with a great group of witty, engaging friends. So I just try to hold up my own when with them. 😉

  16. Donna S
      · September 24th, 2009 at 12:39 pm · Link

    Aww what a great story. Thanks for sharing!

  17. MariElle Betz
      · September 24th, 2009 at 12:46 pm · Link

    Loved the story!
    I have a story from my young love-life… my ‘friend’ wrote our ‘secret’ love letters backwards! So I needed to reflect in the mirror to read them! I got really good at writing backwards til my father found one and discovered my guilty secret. That ended that and later the guy ended up in jail- a REALLY bad thing for the daughter of the chaplain 8~) but there’s something about innocence in early teen love that never comes round again.
    Thanx for the insight into yours

  18. CrystalGB
      · September 24th, 2009 at 1:14 pm · Link

    What a great story. 😀

  19. Lyoness2009
      · September 24th, 2009 at 1:24 pm · Link

    I can totally understand the attraction of a purple scooter. Aww, the early 90’s :mrgreen:

  20. Stacy ~
      · September 24th, 2009 at 1:30 pm · Link

    Oh wow, what a great story! No wonder you have such an imagination with real life experience like that to draw from! Curious to know what happened to Dave after all these years, but I’m even more curious to hear all about Jason 😉

  21. Stacy ~
      · September 24th, 2009 at 1:31 pm · Link

    Oh, and don’t enter me in the contest. Good luck to everyone 🙂

  22. Estella
      · September 24th, 2009 at 2:04 pm · Link

    What a sweet story!

  23. Eva S
      · September 24th, 2009 at 2:15 pm · Link

    Young love, thanks for sharing.

  24. Anne W
      · September 24th, 2009 at 2:31 pm · Link

    Loved the “diamondish” story, Julie! And I loved reading both your books. Great fun stories with fab characters. I’m very excited for the next book in March. Can’t wait for you to post an excerpt (hint-hint).

    Don’t enter me in the contest — I have both books and would rather see someone else get the chance to read them.

  25. Susan C
      · September 24th, 2009 at 3:26 pm · Link

    That is such an adorable post I had to read it twice!

  26. Emmanuelle
      · September 24th, 2009 at 3:31 pm · Link

    Sweet post Julie ! I love your books and counting the days untill march !!!
    Now seriously, count me in this contest. There is nothing I won’t do for a signed copy pleeeeeaaaaase !! 🙄

  27. beth kery
      · September 24th, 2009 at 3:41 pm · Link

    Just wanted to drop in and say hello from Lake Tahoe to Julie and everyone. Julie, I so loved that post. You really painted a picture. You must have been so thrilled when you got back on that plane with your diamond(ish) ring. Aww, to be fourteen again.

    Thanks for being here today, Julie!

  28. Lois
      · September 24th, 2009 at 4:43 pm · Link

    Alas, I have not read any of your books yet, but hope to change that soon. 🙂 And awww, nothing like that happened to me when I was a kid! LOL 🙂


  29. Chelsea B.
      · September 24th, 2009 at 4:12 pm · Link

    Awe! Loved the story! But now I’m curious about the Jason story….LOL

  30. Jane
      · September 24th, 2009 at 4:22 pm · Link

    Very cute. I’ve been to Hawaii, but would have love to received a diamond ring, too.

  31. Rita A
      · September 24th, 2009 at 4:33 pm · Link

    I love vacationing in Hawaii.

  32. Julie James
      · September 24th, 2009 at 4:35 pm · Link

    Marielle: Oh my gosh, writing love letters backward… I’d never heard of that before! Too clever.

    Stacy: You know, after writing this blog, I started wondering what happened to Dave, too. I’d heard years ago that he went into the Marines or something. I should check Facebook. 😉

    Anne: I’m planning to put up an excerpt soon for SOMETHING ABOUT YOU. Just gotta get around to it…

    Beth: thanks! Hope you’re enjoying Tahoe!

  33. Lea
      · September 24th, 2009 at 5:32 pm · Link

    Now, before you start thinking I’m some diamond-digging trollop, let me clarify.

    You little diamond digger you.. 😛

    ROFL – OMG! I very nearly spewed my supper! That was a great story Julie! LOL Good ol’ Dave must have done some fancy talkin to get you off the plane I daresay! lol

    LOL – Too cute.. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Please don’t enter me in the contest, you know I’ve read and love your books..


    Take care Julie!!

  34. Booklover1335
      · September 24th, 2009 at 5:49 pm · Link

    How can you leave us hanging like that….to tell us that funny and great story, then tell us you met The Bad Boy…..then…..nothing. Obviously I have not read Just the Sexiest Man Alive, but it’s goin’ on the list right now. I have to know who Jason is 🙂 (Because I love me a Bad Boy).

  35. Kammie
      · September 24th, 2009 at 6:17 pm · Link

    What a neat story! Thanks for sharing.

    I’m a big fan of those bad boy heroes. I want to read more about him.

  36. Julie James
      · September 24th, 2009 at 7:30 pm · Link

    Thanks, ladies! Glad you’re enjoying the story. Though probably not half as much as my sister, who LOVES to tell the story of being nine years old and waking up in the middle of the night to see a stranger staring in her window.

    And Booklover: I know, I’m a stinker, right? Jason from JTSMA is a bad boy, indeed, but so damn amusing about it, you’ll like him anyway. (At least, I hope.) 😉

  37. stacey smith
      · September 24th, 2009 at 8:18 pm · Link

    That was such a cute story.Can’t wait to here about the bad boy. 😎

  38. Sharon M
      · September 24th, 2009 at 8:52 pm · Link

    That’s a great story!!! Thank you for sharing it!

  39. Amelia
      · September 24th, 2009 at 8:54 pm · Link

    Wonderful story!

  40. Lisa F.
      · September 24th, 2009 at 9:18 pm · Link

    What a great story!!

  41. Paula
      · September 25th, 2009 at 5:16 am · Link

    What a story. 😀


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