If if isn’t personal what the heck is it?
Author Interviews That Rock
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Okay Julie, tell the readers a little bit about your books.
Tempest is the first book in a young adult trilogy that follows my main character, 19 year old Jackson Meyer, as he jumps through time (literally), to learn about his past and to try and save the his girlfriend, Holly. Vortex is the sequel to Tempest and it releases in the US on January 15, 2013.
Just to get us started, how old are you?
I’m 32.5 years old
What inspired you to write TEMPEST & VORTEX?
The concept for Tempest came in layers as I worked with my now editor, Brendan Deneen. My idea started with a sort of time travel story that was also about aliens and gymnastics. His idea was to acquire a teen version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. Tempest is a story that emerged from both our creative brains.
Why time travel?
The type of time travel is Tempest appealed to me as writer because I love the idea of having a character revisit moments of his or her own past. The scenes where Jackson visits years that his twin sister, who died of cancer at 14, was still alive were so emotionally powerful to write. That’s probably what made me fall in love with writing time travel.
What made you want to write in the first place?
I started writing in May of 2009. I think I was mostly looking for an escape from everyday life. The kind of escape you get from an amazing book. I read a lot and there were moments when I wanted to change the course of a book. It dawned on me that I could write my own story.
What keeps you writing?
I wish I knew the answer to that question. Once I started, I just could stop. In fact, I waited to get bored with it, to quit, but so far that hasn’t happened. It’s challenging and stimulating in a way that I hadn’t experienced before and I feel like there’s always something more to learn. It’s amazing to discover your passion, even at 29 years old. Truly amazing.
What is the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
My first instinct is to say, Read a lot. But that’s the piece of advice I often give to writers who ask me this question, but I already read a lot so I didn’t need to hear that particular advice myself. I’d have to say reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing and the part (don’t quote me or anything) where he says something along the lines of, most importantly, you have to write a good story. It just meant that I didn’t need to feel intimidated by the idea of finding big words and creating mind-blowing symbolism and metaphors. Or even understand contracts and the publishing industry before beginning a novel. I just needed to write a good story.
How do you discipline yourself to keep at the writing?
I only have to discipline myself to up with other aspects of my life…laundry, exercise, grocery shopping, cleaning, my kids’ homework and activities. The writing part so far doesn’t require discipline.
When did you decide, this is what I really want to do? I want to be a writer! Was there a particutlar ah-ha moment?
When I was offered a three book deal with St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books, all I had were questions and confusion and many of them my editor couldn’t answer right away as I searched for an agent, but he sent me an email that said basically, “Just keep in mind, from this day on YOU. ARE. GOING. TO. BE. A. PUBLISHED. AUTHOR” and he wrote it just like that and it hit me that no matter what, whether I wrote forever or not, I’d be known as a published author. That was truly my aha moment.
What is the most important thing for a writer to remember?
There is almost never one clear answer, one clear path, one right way to do anything, to tell any story, and to interpret any story. Open your mind to the realm of possibilities and don’t dwell on the impossibilities and improbabilities and all things that begin with a negative.
Do you belong to any cool writerly groups on or off line?
I’ve recently been emailing with some YA authors that I’ve met at events and doing some beta reading and critique.
If you were to mentor other writers what wisdom would you find most helpful.
I like honest critique, even brutally honest. I’m one who can handle it just fine. But I realize others need to work in phases. I think the idea of being able to pitch a story in a sentence is so helpful to new writers. Even if you figure everything out in your story and it doesn’t quite fit into a one-line mold, chances are you’ve worked out some issues while trying to get it narrowed a bit. It took me such a long time to figure out what it meant to be able to summarize a story in a short statement. Whenever I couldn’t do this, there was always something wrong with my plot. If you can address this even before you begin writing, it could be a huge factor in getting a finished product that can actually be sold.
Just for kicks… What are some of your favorite TV shows, movies?
My current favorite shows are GLEE, Dance Moms, The Voice, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Falling Skies. My movie favorites are very all over the place, I almost never go to the theater (just for the big ones like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, ect…). I love comedies and I’ll watch any cheesy romantic comedy, even the DCOM and ABC Family ones. I typically write/read edgy, emotionally heavy and sometimes intense thrillerish stuff so that must be why I choose the lighter movie/TV options.
If you could be a character from a book who would you be?
Katniss Everdeen. Hands down. I need her survival skills. I’m assuming while taking over her body, I’d also be allowed to acquire the knowledge stored up in her brain?
Last movie you saw at the theater?
What is your favorite board game?
How do you get into your characters heads?
Good question. I’m not sure, but I’m sure that I do get in their heads and become them. I leave myself and my views and opinions completely in the dust.
What is most special about your protagonist?
For Jackson, it’s his potential to be great, however sometimes I’d have to say that comes in second to watching him fail in the process of reaching his potential. It took me a while to realize how much I wanted him to experience the struggle to be great just as much as I wanted to see him get there.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so what gets you motivated?
I usually don’t listen to music, but I could if I wanted to. I’m pretty relaxed about my writing place and time. I can shut out the world around me even if it’s quite hectic.
Other than writing, what do you like to do for fun? Hobbies?
Reading. I also love running. I’m really great at it but it brings a different challenge and a lot of clarity within the creative part of my brain.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher. Always a teacher. But the type of teacher changed constantly.
If your protagonist could give one piece of advice to your readers what would it be?
Always prepare for the worst. Write everything important down in notebook that you always have on you.
What would your villain/villains have to say about that?
Well…I suppose they would support this advice fully. They are very intelligent and capable people. Unfortunately.
Any closing words of wisdom for other author-wannabees out there?
Enjoy the freedom of writing just for you even if publication is your end goal. If you enjoy reading books in your genre and you create a story that you enjoy reading there’s a good chance other people will like it, too.
And there you have it! Personal and Real with Julie Cross!
Check out Tempest & Vortex on Goodreads-http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13364300-vortex