Jules Moulin was living the dream in California, writing scripts for Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning television series, when she realized that just wasn’t her dream anymore. After deciding to dedicate herself full-time to her family, Moulin set out on her next career adventure—author. Now with the release of her debut novel, Ally Hughes has Sex Sometimes (Dutton Books, August 25, 2015), Moulin’s career is right where she wants it to be and she’s only just getting started.
BookTrib had the pleasure of speaking with Jules Moulin one-on-one and got the scoop on her first book, if she’s still drawn to the Hollywood life and what’s on her TBR list right now.
BOOKTRIB: Can you tell us a little more about Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes and where the inspiration for the novel came from?
JULES MOULIN: Well, I wish I could say that I have some brilliant advice that I wanted to impart on the world and therefore I was winning a Pulitzer, but I’m not and I didn’t. I’ve written for 10 years and that’s how I made a living. Then I took a lot of time off, and then decided I wanted to get back into writing again. I didn’t want to return to Hollywood, so the only alternatives were journalism or fiction writing. I thought I would give fiction writing a shot first. So that was really, honestly the inspiration [to write this novel].
BT: At what point did Allie’s story pop into your head?
JM: Well, so this is just going to sound incredibly cynical, but I had read part of 50 Shades of Grey and I saw that she was doing so well and I realized that there was really a market in [this genre]. There’s obviously a huge market in romance, but I think romance that sort of steps over into erotica as well. And, so at first I thought, well I’ll do that, I’ll write about a buttoned up feminist professor who has an affair with a student. And then because you always end up writing what you know, I thought about writing about a person who doesn’t have sex ever. So that’s where it sort of started. And I’m a single mom now and so a lot of that, or some of that, anyway, comes from my real life.
BT: Is this a standalone; could there be a follow up?
JM: Oh, that’s hilarious. Isn’t that everyone’s question? I guess we live in the world of series now and sequels. I think it depends on how it does. If everyone wants it to be a series and they’re willing to pony-up, I’ll write a second book and we’ll find out what happens.
BT: You’re no stranger to the writing process, but your background is in script and TV. Have you always wanted to write a novel?
JM: Yeah, actually I can’t pretend it came out of the blue. It’s kind of like sometimes I’ll think about going on a diet for two years before I actually go on a diet. So I definitely thought about it for a couple years before I actually sat down and tried it. And yes, my background was in TV and also screenwriting. I wrote a lot. I actually did more feature film work than television work in the 10 years that I worked in Hollywood. I did a lot of rewriting. I have rewritten a million people and I’ve been rewritten. But really, novel writing was not completely different. There were definitely things from my screenwriting background that I used a lot in order to write the novel and to write the novels I’m writing now. But there was definitely a learning curve, because it was different.
BT: Do you ever think back to your time in Hollywood and wonder what you’d be working on if you’d stayed?
JM: I don’t really. I mean, you see, you watch a show like Breaking Bad and I think any writer in the world watches a show like that and would give a pinky finger to work on it. But, no I don’t. I don’t want to go back. I could go back. I actually sold a couple of pilots in the last year. A few that I ended up not closing deals on, etc, just because you get weary of the process. But there are shows I love, like again, Breaking Bad, but, I also thought that Breaking Bad was very literary and Vince Gilligan comes from an academic creative writing background. He clearly knows what he’s doing; he’s not just flying by the seat of his pants. So, yes, you envy a show that is that well done. But, there’s not much else on right now that makes me say to myself, “Oh, I so wish I had stayed in the game so I could be a part of that.”
BT: Are there more books on the way?
JM: I am in different stages of three new books at the moment: two women’s fiction, similar to Ally Hughes’ romance-comedy fiction, and one middle-grade novel, which my 8-year-old daughter is literally editing for me. It’s just hilarious because she gets her blue pencil out and is like “change this, change that, cut this.”
BT: What’s on your reading list right now?
JM: I love anything Mindy Kaling writes or does or says. Then I love Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s books. And Diane Keaton also wrote a sort of not-a-total-autobiography, but a funny book a year ago or two and I loved all of those. I do love a book that makes me laugh. I’m still reading the “how-to-write-a-novel-book,” I mean all of the books out there about how to write a novel. I’m still new to this. I just finished Stephen King’s On Writing, which, of course, was fabulous. And I just finished another writing book called Story Trumps Structure by Steven James; that was really brilliant.