Hello my friendlies!
Please join me in welcoming young adult author, Julie Reece, who’s been so kind to sit with us and chat about her debut YA urban fantasy novel, CRUX!
Hi Julie, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by for a visit! I’m excited you’re here. I’m wondering if you’d like to tell me, what was the seed of inspiration that motivated you to write CRUX?
A dual seed of wanting to write something to entertain my teenage daughters and a really weird dream!
Whoa, how cool for your girls! And after reading CRUX, I’ll say that must’ve been some dream. So, just to share with my friendly followers, I’m typically a very slow writer, sometimes taking months to finish a short story, meanwhile, other authors have that amazing ability to let the words fly—how long did it take you to finish writing CRUX, a full length novel?
I wrote it in about five months but it took me that long again to edit the darn thing and send it out to beta readers who were kind enough to shred the manuscript for me :) I couldn’t have done it without their advice!
Five months, wow, that’s awesome! What was the most challenging scene for you to write?
Hmm. The scene where Birdie and Grey research how to break the curse in Jeff’s office. I don’t want to bore the reader with too many details, make it too easy to figure out, too complex and frustrating, too predictable, cheesy or cliché. Ugh! That was tough!
I can imagine how tough that was! So having gone through that, what was your favorite scene to write?
I can’t pick a favorite, but the most fun to write was the battle chapter near the end. I like high fantasy, high drama and a good fight scene! :) Blood and guts and glory, baby!
Nice! I don’t think your readers will be disappointed. So, once you wrote everything out, had it critiqued and polished that manuscript until it shined, can you tell us briefly about your road to publication?
I am blessed to have a group of writing friends and I follow(ed) them around like a needy puppy (I have no pride. I freely admit this) I watched what they did and took their advice. Some had success with a new publishing company (J Taylor Publishing) and encouraged me to submit my novel there. I did and was fortunate enough to find they loved it an accepted the work for publication! Whaa-hoo!
woohoo! What a great success story! Are there any special people you’d like to thank for helping you along your writing path?
Oh my gosh, how long do you have? My girls and husband for their inspiration, my critique partners, Kathleen, Julie B, Claire G, Aimee and my writing pals in the group Sisters of the Traveling pens at Scribophile, (no way to list them all here but I owe them each, like, a car), my editor and the people at J Taylor Publishing for taking a chance on me.
Now that your publication dream has come true, do you have any advice you’d like to share with aspiring novelists?
Don’t do what I did! LOL Wait and hone your craft. Make sure you are really, really ready. I think the number one mistake we writers make is in our excitement and zeal to be published, we rush the process. I sent a short story out for publication before I was ready and now it’s out there! I wish I could smite it from the stratosphere but alas, I cannot. :) I chalk it up to learning.
Care to share what you’re working on next?
Sure! I am editing a finished YA paranormal historical romance. (Heavier in the romance department than CRUX, but still has a lot of action.) I am also mid-way through two more YA urban fantasies, and I have an idea for a contemporary romance, also YA.
I’m sure your readers will be thrilled to hear you’re slate is so full! Julie, thank you so much for taking time to stop by and visit with my friendly followers.
Thanks so much for having me here today! :) I really appreciate you and it was fun.
CRUX, by J.Taylor Publishing is available now. Click HERE to add it to your to-read shelf.
Julie lives in the metro Atlanta area with her incredibly supportive husband and daughter, and their twenty-two pound cat, Hurley. Please click HERE to visit with Julie on her website
Now, my friendlies, as an extra special treat, please help me welcome CRUX main character, Rebecca “Birdie” Orin.
Hello Birdie, thank you for accepting my invite to chat with my friendly followers. For readers who have yet to know you through your story, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Um, *stares at feet* I don’t like to talk about myself that much. Let’s just say I was in and out of foster care most of my life before winding up on the street for a few months. That’s all changed now, though.
It sure has, wow. I better not say too much more on that, wouldn’t want to spoil anything for new readers. With that in mind, can you chat about the toughest chapter in your story to get through? If that’s too uncomfortable, how about your favorite part? :)
Hmm, you don’t mess around, do you? Do you enjoy a good root canal, too? Okay, I’m sorry. It’s just the hardest part is also the toughest to talk about. My friend, Shondra, was taken by the Snatcher. He’s the creep who takes girls from the street and traffics them. She, uh, she helped me, and paid the ultimate price for it. *swallows and stares at hands* Ya know, before I get all weepy and embarrass myself, let’s talk about my favorite part … the day I met Grey. He was sitting at a bistro table in downtown Atlanta. I was on the run, as usual, and he helped me out of a jam. The boy is molten lava hot. Can I say that?
Of course you can, hehe Wow, Birdie, after everything that’s happened, what’s changed for you, what do you like best about life now, what do you like least?
Do you have a couch I should lay down on for all of this? Sorry. That was snarky again, wasn’t it? I’m working on that. Okay, I like my boyfriend. I like my powers. Sometimes, that’s the part I like least, too. It feels like with this power I have a huge responsibility. Not sure what Jeff had in mind, but I think he wanted me to go all Batgirl on crime and bad guys and stuff. I never asked for all of that, you know? It’s kind of heavy, waiting for the Joker or Godzilla to show up so I can take him down. I just wanted to be an artist and live a small quiet life. Not sure I’m going to get that now.
Life certainly has changed for you. What has this experience taught you about yourself?
Oh, I don’t know. So much has changed. I guess I realized I’m not as big a coward as I thought. Maybe I never was. I also learned sometimes, it’s worth the risk of getting hurt to care about somebody else. Sheesh, I should like a Hallmark card. Can we move on? Please?
Of course. :) Let’s move on to Grey, Kate, Scud, or any other friend (or foe) of yours from CRUX.
I just got a text from Izzy saying she wants to meet me for coffee. Izzy is Scud’s sister, gorgeous and an old family friend of the Mathews. She’s also been stalking, oops, I mean crushing on Grey for, like, ever. She probably wants to threaten me to stay away from him again. Or poison my coffee. It’s a toss-up.
Yikes! better watch your back, eh? You’re smart about that though, as readers will see. Can you tell me what would you like readers to remember most about CRUX.
I guess it’s the idea of hope. No matter how your life sucks, it may not suck as bad as you think. I mean, something good may happen tomorrow or next week. Wait one more day.
That’s awesome advice! You’re so right about that. So, I have to pry because enquiring minds want to know, hehehe! Do you have a secret you can share with my friendly followers, one that didn’t appear in the book?
Okay, I guess it’s all of your psycho analyzing me, but I’m going to tell you something I haven’t even told Grey. When Fenris became a man, he came to say goodbye. He looked at me, deep into my eyes. No, not gooey, like in a soap opera, I mean something happened between us. It’s hard to explain, but I felt this strange sort of bonding thing happening. *Shivers* never mind, it was probably my imagination.
Whew, sounds intense! I’d like to know more but I can see you glancing at your phone so our time is nearly up. Last question, what’s next for you?
Well, *smiles big* Grey’s taking me to the movies on Friday night and then … oh, you mean , like, long term? I dunno. School is starting. Grey and I are still working on developing our powers. I’ve been having these weird dreams again. It’s probably nothing, but … hey. Grey’s here to pick me up. We done?
We are, thank you so much!
Awesome, thanks for having me over, Ms. Said. The coffee and donuts rocked!