Book Review & Author Interview: ‘Miss Julia Knows A Thing Or Two’ by Ann B. Ross

I am just absolutely thrilled and honored to have as my guest today Ann B. Ross, the New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Miss Julia series of books.  I have loved Miss Julia since the very first book and with the publication of the current book, ‘Miss Julia Knows a Thing or Two’, and the books in the series number 22!  I first met Ann many years ago at a book signing in Forest City, NC, and we have kept in touch all these years.  Ann insists she is not the least bit funny, yet her Miss Julia books will have you falling off your chair laughing!  Miss Julia has brought me many hours of wonderful entertainment and I highly recommend this series of books.  So, let’s get started. Ann, I am so happy you agreed to join us today and I know my readers are going to enjoy hearing your answers to my questions. 

1.  When you wrote the first Miss Julia book, did you have any idea how popular she would turn out to be?

Not at all!  I could hardly believe it when a literary agency agreed to represent that first book and even more thrilled when it was accepted for publication by a major publishing house.  But I quickly came down to earth when I learned that not only did they want the first book, they wanted three more Miss Julia books.  And I wasn’t sure that I could write even one more.  I thought I had said all I had to say in the first book which just goes to show how little I knew my own character.  That woman started talking and she hasn’t stopped yet.

2.  How did you come to write the books?

I always thought that I would write some day after, that is, I had found a class or a book that would tell me how to do it.  Well, I never found either one, but I did find a lot of books and a lot of classes that told me how others had written.  So if I may offer a little advice to those who’re thinking of writing, it is this: Read!  Read and see how it’s been done and is being done.  Looking back now, I can see that the hardest part for me was finding Miss Julia’s voice.  Not that I was looking specifically for her, but I had dallied with the voice of a nurse, of a young girl of the 19th century, of a detective, of a damsel in distress, and none of them had worked very well.  So when I began to ‘see’ a mental image of an older woman who was fired up over something as she walked down a sidewalk, holding the hand of a little boy, I wondered who they were, where they were going, and, most of all, how they were related.  Then, Miss Julia began to tell me.

3.  Can you share with my readers how you get ideas for the books?

I get ideas from any and everywhere!  From overheard conversations, from memories that go back to my own childhood, from television news, from chit-chat at the hairdressers, from local gossip, and from taking a mental stroll along the streets of Abbotsville.  The easiest books to write are those for which I have a clear picture of the ending—I can write ‘toward’ that.  But I’ve often started a book with absolutely no idea at all as to what it will be about.  But each time that’s happened, one or more of the characters comes up with a problem (because, of course, a novel has to have a problem to solve), and then the book is off and running.

4.  Do you have more Miss Julia books planned?

I rarely think beyond whatever book I happen to be working on.  In fact, I finished the current new book, MISS JULIA KNOWS A THING OR TWO, last summer.  Since then I’ve been working on the next Miss Julia book, due to be released in April, 2021, title not yet confirmed.

5.How  old is Miss Julia now? 

She won’t tell me, and I don’t have the courage to ask.  All I know is that she thinks it is rude beyond belief that some twit of a secretary or receptionist asks her date of birth.  Let us just say that she is the age that each reader thinks she is. 

6.And one last thought: I sure do wish Lillian would write a cookbook.  Her dishes make me hungry, especially her chicken salad. 

Ha! I think it might be her making and serving it that makes it so good.  But, you know, I made a stab at a cookbook of sorts in MISS JULIA STIRS UP TROUBLE which included recipes from many of the characters.  I was quite proud of it until a newspaper reporter made the remark that all authors wrote a cookbook when they’d run out of other ideas.  There have been seven additional books since that one, so he was wrong.

There you have it, folks.  I’m sure we all loved hearing Ann’s answers to these questions regarding her Miss Julia books.  If you’d like more information about the books, including tour events, contest winners, etc., I encourage you to visit the website.  It’s full of great information. 

Thanks so very much for visiting with us today, Ann.  It was my great pleasure to have you as my guest today.  We all look forward to hearing more from Miss Julia.

About The Book:
The delightful new installment of the beloved and New York Times bestselling Miss Julia series

Miss Julia has decided to turn over a new leaf — it’s time to stop meddling in other peoples’ lives. But her hands are full before long! Mildred is sent into a tizzy when a grandchild she’s never met shows up on her doorstop. With her husband fighting a mysterious illness, she’s all on her own. Meanwhile, Etta Mae is worried about losing her job now that the retirement care center is closing. Luckily Miss Julia has experience dealing with children dropped on doorsteps, and sweeps in to lend a hand. But there’s something just a bit strange about the child, and Miss Julia can’t quite put her finger on what it is.

As always, hijinks ensue as Ann B. Ross delivers this delightful and entertaining installment in her bestselling Miss Julia series.
About Ann B. Ross
Ann is the mother of two daughters and one son, and the grandmother of four grandsons (including twin boys) and two granddaughters, both of whom are her namesakes. When her children were in college, she decided to complete her own education, enrolling in the University of North Carolina at Asheville where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Literature. Reluctant to return to an empty nest, she continued her education by enrolling in the English Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned both the Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Afterwards, she taught Literature and the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Ann’s writing career began in the early eighties when two mysteries were published as original paperbacks: THE MURDER CURE and THE MURDER STROKE. A few years later, her first hardcover book was published: THE PILGRIMAGE, an adventure story set in the nineteenth century. All three books are now out of print, but occasionally a used copy of THE PILGRIMAGE appears on for sale.

The publication of the first Miss Julia book, MISS JULIA SPEAKS HER MIND in 1999, set Ann on a full-time writing career. This book went through six reprintings in less than a year, and was ranked #9 on the Independent Booksellers’ seventy-six most highly recommended books for 1999. In addition, the book was named to the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers list. The paperback edition of the same book was listed in The Best Books of the First Five Years by BookSense, as one of the titles independent booksellers most enjoyed handselling. The book was also published by Readers Digest Condensed Books, appearing in twelve foreign languages.

MISS JULIA TAKES OVER was one of seven nominees for the Book of the Year Award (2001) by the Southeastern Booksellers Association.

All of the books in the series are available on audiotape and in large-print editions, and are also available through The Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club. All of the books, except the newest one each year, can be found in paperback editions.


All of the books in the series will be published in German, Japanese, and Croatian editions, as well as on audiotape (in English) and in large print editions.

Inspiration for the escapades of Ann’s much-loved character, Miss Julia, comes in all manner of ways — a chance remark by a friend or family member, an incident she happens to see, in a dream, or by being reminded of something in her past experiences. It is always deeply satisfying to her when scenes in the book she is working on suddenly seem to fit together to make a good story. She does not outline or make detailed plans before starting a story. She does, however, have a general plot in mind before beginning to write, but this usually entails only the conflict and the final resolution, with few ideas of how they will be worked out. So, with just the beginning and the end of a book decided on, Ann relies on the characters themselves to fill in the middle with first one subplot after another. This, she says, is the joy of writing — when a character suddenly does or says something unexpectedly, leading her to funny and surprising ‘mini-scenes’ that seem to delight readers.

Ann was once asked by an interviewer how she knew when something she’d written was good. She replied, “I know it’s good when I fall off my chair laughing.” From that response, we can be sure that she enjoys writing about her characters as much as we enjoy reading about them.
My Rating: 5 Stars!
‘There is such a thing as outsmarting your own self and I certainly did not want to do that.’

Miss Julia is starring in her twenty-second book! I love Miss Julia and will never tire of reading what all she’s up to in Abbotsville, NC. She and her family and the cast of characters populating each book are so entertaining and I always find myself laughing right out loud every so often. This go round, Miss Julia has promised herself she is going to turn over a new leaf and stop meddling in everybody’s business. Of course, we all knew that wasn’t going to last very long. And sure enough, Miss Julia is soon embroiled in several situations that she soon wishes she’d left alone. But, in her defense, they are good causes. As they always are. (smile) Miss Julia must decide what to do about Etta Mae’s suddenly precarious job situation because Etta Mae has always been such a help to her. And Miss Julia’s neighbor and best friend, Mildred Allen, has just found herself in two quite unsettling situations.

I have loved the Miss Julia books from the start and eager await each new offering in the series. Miss Julia is the most outspoken resident in Abbotsville and is never afraid to speak her mind on any subject, all the while being a quite mannerly southern lady. Ann B. Ross has once again given me a book that will have pride of place on my shelves as I enjoy another delightful and hilarious romp with dear Miss Julia. And of course, it’s so wonderful to see Lillian, Sam, and all the other wonderful characters Ross has created. Highly recommended.

*My thanks to the publisher for an early copy of this book. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Buy it here:

3 thoughts on “Book Review & Author Interview: ‘Miss Julia Knows A Thing Or Two’ by Ann B. Ross”

  1. Just terrific, Susan! I can’t thank you enough. By all means, please do put it on my Facebook page—I don’t have a clue as to how to do that. I’ve forwarded it to Shannon Twomey, one of the publicists at Viking. She will be absolutely delighted and will probably wonder how I’m lucky enough to have friends like you. Thank you, thank you! Ann


  2. Thank you for this interview with Ann. I love Miss Julia and have read all the books except for this new one. I’m hoping my library will have it when they are able to reopen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.