Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Julie Moral {Writer Wednesday}

Today's {Writer Wednesday} guest is extra special to me because she is from a town very near mine and is a personal family friend.  I'd like to introduce you to talented author Julie Moral!

A little bit about Julie...
Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century. That's what my Great Grandma "GG" used to tell me. I would listen to her stories of the "good ol' days" of horses and wagons, beautiful dresses, and proper etiquette. Everything then sounded sweet, innocent, and beautiful... I later became a history and English teacher. No surprise there. I guess you could say I have had a love affair with history and writing all my life.
My genre niche is historical Christian romance (rated PG-13 at the very "worst"). But, don't worry; the passion I have for Pete [her husband] still shines through my clean fiction writing--just in a more subtle way.

As of this time (early 2013) I'm currently working on the sequel to "Where the Road Rises." I'm also writing a science fiction novel about a young woman who travels back in time to Medieval England to escape her abusive husband. My past years living in Europe as a missionary, as well as my personal experience as a survivor of spousal abuse are the inspiration for the latter book.

How to connect with Julie...

To connect with Julie you can Email her
Check out her blog and her second blog
Purchase her book on Amazon
Find her on twitter @JUMOJUMOJUMO
Follow her on Pinterest: morals
Her Facebook is: Julie Warner Morrill

 
Author Interview | Julie Moral
[Julie had some questions prepared so they will differ slightly from previous interviews.]

You & Writing
 
How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
...Since I was eleven. I saw Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and was so enamored of the history, beautiful dresses, and the Old South, I started writing a diary of a pre-teen girl who lived in Charleston, South Carolina during the Civil War.

Why do you write?
...I write because I have a constant stream of creative ideas coursing through my mind. I feel I have to write them down for my own sanity!

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

...Marketing and self-confidence. I know that authors today have to market their books largely on their own, even when published by a mainstream publishing house, so I decided to self-publish my first book in order to learn to do my own marketing. Telling people I have written a book they’ll probably enjoy has forced me to be more self-confident, as well as more vulnerable with others.

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
...I’m most proud that God is using me to help other women and children of domestic violence because of my own escape from an abusive marriage. My children and I are not just surviving, we are thriving. I write about how one can Biblically end an abusive marriage of faith on my blog at www.marriagehealing.blogspot.com . Aspects of abuse sometimes show up in my fiction writing, as well.
...I’m also proud of my international background. I lived in Europe off and on for over five years after I graduated from UCLA. That time and the friendships I made shaped me as an individual. I love people of other cultures and my overseas adventures definitely influence my writing in fun ways.


Your Writing

Tell us about your latest release and what you think readers will enjoy about it.
...In Where the Road Rises, an unmarried seventeen-year-old girl with an annulled marriage discovers she is pregnant in 1890s California. Much of the story encompasses her fears, her lack of trust in the Lord, and her manipulative plan to snag a husband before her secret pregnancy is discovered. ...The historical genre of Where the Road Rises and the fact that the story takes place in my home town made the book especially fun to write. I think readers will like it because it’s fast-paced, engaging, and contains a good dose of suspense and humor. Even at over 450 pages in length, most people tell me they read the book in one day.

Your story is set in Etna Mills, California. Is that a real place?
...Yes, Etna Mills is now Etna. It’s located in the Scott Valley, where I live.

When readers finish the last page of Where the Road Rises, what do you want them to come away with?
...Although Where the Road Rises is written from a Christian vantage point, it is primarily a lighthearted historical romance filled with drama and a few laughs. I do want my readers to recognize, however, that praying unceasingly is as easy as thinking.
...I also hope my readers come away with a richer sense of history and a better understanding of the everyday struggles of women in the 19th Century. I want readers to appreciate the enormous freedoms and advantages we have today, but still recognize that much unfair and inequitable treatment of women remains.


Why did you choose to write this book?

...I have always been in love with history and I love learning the history of Etna, Scott Valley, and vicinity. As a history and English teacher, I used to tell my students stories to help them learn. They are the ones who encouraged me to put my stories into a book someday…and now I have.

Writing

Where do all your ideas come from?
...My ideas come from just about anywhere—other books I read, movies I watch, people I meet, museums I visit. I take notes almost daily and compile them into lists and categories on my computer.

Which books on writing have been the most helpful to you and why?
...I think Jeff Gerke’s book, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, has been the most helpful to me so far; he’s very direct in letting the reader know what publishers consider good or bad writing.

What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?
...I’m a chart and list person. I have historical charts listing what was invented or what major events occurred in what year and where, I have temperament charts, charts of various plot ideas, and full descriptions of all my characters so I can keep track of all the aspects of their physical features, personalities, likes and dislikes, etc.


Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
...Despite all my meticulous charting, listing, and planning, I’m more of a “seat of my pants” writer. As I write, creative thoughts usually inspire me to go in unexpected directions. I may know my plot, know how to begin, and know where I want to end up, but I don’t always know what twists and turns I’ll take to get there.

You
 
Do you have a vacation spot you’d love to visit?
...Not just one. I have traveled the European mainland, but have yet to visit the British Isles, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean. I’d also love to visit Israel, the South Pacific, South America, and Japan. I pretty much love to travel.

What's your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...Unsweetened chocolate covered prunes and nuts (kind of my own healthy version of trail mix)

Tell us a little more about yourself, with three things not many people know about you.
a) I have a Bachelor’s Degree in history and social sciences from UCLA and teaching credentials in English and history from Simpson University.
b) I'm an avid gardener, homesteader, and nutrition nut. I occasionally write about writing, as well as health-related topics on my official author’s blog at www.traditionally.wordpress.com.
c) Mountain biking is one of my favorite hobbies. I don’t do it competitively, but it’s super fun to get out in nature and enjoy a good workout at the same time.


What's next for you?
...I’m currently focusing on work, family, and volunteering. Writing can become an obsession for me and I’ve learned I need to prioritize my life. I now write fiction for relaxation and anti-domestic violence blogs as a ministry. I have also begun speaking to groups of women about what the Bible says about abuse in marriage. What’s next for me? I’m not exactly sure. My life could be taking some interesting turns in the near future.

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Thank you so much for sharing, Julie! It's so great to get to know you a little better through this interview! I love that your novel is set in historical Etna Mills.  With my Dad as the former curator of the County Museum up there, my own work at that museum, and my ancestors being from Etna, I have grown up hearing wonderful stories about the town plus my own visits there.  I look forward to reading your book in the future!