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She doesn’t have a stepmother, has never been blond and, as a Florida native, wouldn’t know how to clean a fireplace if ashes were stacked to the flue. Her road to publication didn’t come overnight or without a lot of disappointment. Yes, she has a Prince Charming (and a little Princess to boot), but other than that, Cinderella and Julie Elizabeth Leto have nothing in common.
Of course, her becoming published did have a lot to do with finding the perfect fit, so who knows? Maybe she does have a fairy godmother somewhere out there.
Born and raised in Tampa, Florida to a close-knit Italian-American family, Julie learned never to give up or give in — especially when in pursuit of a lifelong dream. She worked for over eight years on several different manuscripts before Harlequin Temptation bought Seducing Sullivan, her first published novel.
A romance reader from age 16, Julie started writing her first romance in 1988 while in graduate school at the University of South Florida. Soon after, she joined the workforce as an English teacher, first at Tampa Catholic High School in Tampa (where she had graduated in 1983) and then at St. Pius X High School in Atlanta.
She wrote at night and on weekends, during breaks, and sometimes, while her students were working on group projects or taking a test. She grabbed every free moment she could.
Yeah, she went to and taught in Catholic school and now she writes for Blaze. Go figure.
In 1996, she and her husband, Tim, moved back to Tampa where Julie retired from teaching and joined her family’s manufacturing business, giving herself more time to write. "The call" from Harlequin came in March of 1997 with an offer to publish Seducing Sullivan. Shortly after that, she found out that she was pregnant with that little princess. She’s now a full-time mom and writer.
She discovered her niche with Temptation’s sensuous, sexy tone and character-driven stories. Her desire to "push the envelope" of romance fit perfectly in Temptation’s Blaze series. All the rejection letters and years of working to improve and hone her style paid off. Her continued success within the Temptation line has proved that!
So, to be honest, she sometimes does feel like a certain fairytale princess.
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