Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Julie Hall {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Julie...

Before writing her first novel Julie worked as a film publicist and rubbed elbows with the rich and famous . . . as in she would gently nudge them to let them know their meal had arrived during press interviews.

She now spends most of her "office hours" with her two furry writing buddies, Bear and Coco. Her daughter thinks that mommy's superpower is “sleeping all day,” but that’s because she’s often awake until the wee hours of the morning weaving tales of adventure in worlds of her own creation. When asked in an interview what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’s quoted to have answered, “to never have to grow up.”

She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her four favorite people--her husband, daughter, and two fur babies (because dogs are people too).

Connect with Julie....

Website: www.JulieHallAuthor.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14434144.Julie_Hall
Author FB Page: www.facebook.com/JulieHallAuthor/
Street Team FB Page: www.facebook.com/groups/282920128780213/
Twitter: @julieghall
Instagram: @julieghall
BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/julie-hall-7c80af95-5dda-449a-8130-3e219d5b00ee
Spotify Character Song List: https://open.spotify.com/user/julieghall01?fo=1&utm_medium=share&utm_source=desktop#_=_

Get to know Julie...

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself and writing...

I started writing a lot of years ago. Actually, more than I’m willing to admit considering how long it actually took to get my first book published. Young adult fiction was particularly interesting to me because first off, I enjoy reading it, and secondly, I have spent most of the past fifteen years of my life serving as a middle or high school youth leader and think that it’s such an amazing age.

I’ve always wanted to write a book, so it was natural for me to jump into the YA genre. Honestly, my maturity level is probably on-par with where my target audience is, so that’s a good thing. My motivation for writing my LIFE AFTER series came from wanting to write a fun, exciting, and entertaining book for young adults that also had God’s Word and Truth weaved in it, but without sounding preachy. My hope was to write a story that was engaging to anyone, but that also made the reader think about the God in heaven who loves them desperately.

Little did I know when I started writing that the YA genre in Christian Fiction was practically non-existent now. I finished my first book and it was like, “Surprise, Christian publishers aren’t really publishing Christian YA anymore.” Huge bummer, right? I once heard a Christian author who writes for the general market say the only way to reach young adults these days was to write clean fiction for the general market. At the time it made me really mad, but I now understand what she meant. Simply that it was hard to get your Christian work in front of a YA market. But I believe our God is bigger than that and can use lots of ways to reach people and not just one way. I hope I’m around to see him move in big and mighty ways in the Christian YA market.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your books...



Do you have a favorite character? If so, why?
My favorite characters change all the time, but for a while now mine has been one of my secondary characters. Her name is Kaitlin. I think I like her because she’s just such a happy and upbeat person, and I’d like to be a little more like her these days. My writing and release schedule the last few months has been grueling. So Kaitlin’s levity is much appreciated!

What is one take-away from your books that you hope readers identify with?
My hope is that readers have a good time reading the books, but that their ultimate takeaway is that there is a God that loves them and has a plan and a purpose for their life, even when things look the darkest.

What was a challenge you faced while writing?
Health was a huge challenge I faced when writing these books. I got sick with a chronic illness in the middle and had to take a break. The illness not only effected my mobility, but also caused temporary brain fogs and just a whole bunch of nasty things. So, finding time to write where I was mentally and physically capable of doing so was a challenge.

What did you learn while writing them? 
A lot about grammar I never wanted to know! Ha!

Was there a passage of scripture you came across or used while writing it that you’d like to share?

Oh my books are chalked full of scripture. I just hid it in there so the reader didn’t know they were getting fed the Word. I’m a sneaky ninja like that!

Did you get to do any fun research for the book?
My husband and I took medieval sword fighting classes together so I could do research for my sword fighting scenes. The couple that plays together, stays together! LOL

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
Well, while trying to remember the word “chum,” which is all the fish guts and blood people pour into the water to attract sharks I learned via google that CHUD is an acronym for “Cannibalistic Human Underground Dweller.” Huh, who knew? Not me!

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
Red Bull!!!!!

Writing

Let’s talk about your writing life....

How long did you write before you got published?
Too long! Haha! Actually I was traditionally published, and then decided to indie publish. Once the book was finished it took maybe a year total to get an agent and publisher. But at the end of the day, since Christian YA is a hard sell, I found that independent publishing was the way to go for me.

How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
Thankfully I don’t know because I had an agent who was fielding all that lovely rejection for me at the time. LOL

From @CreateExploreRead Instagram
What does your writing process look like?
When I wrote HUNTRESS I just started writing. I had no idea what I was doing. How to plot, how to make a story arc, how to develop my characters. So there was A LOT that ended up getting cut out of the first book. After HUNTRESS I had a feel for the craft better and now I plot out my books before writing them. I may deviate here and there to make the story better, but it’s certainly a faster way to write a novel.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?
Editing and editing. I LOVE editing because it means I actually wrote enough words to make a full novel! Yay! Also, my editors have taught me SO much about writing. They are invaluable. However, towards the end of editing when I’ve gone over the book like a million times (not exaggerating here), I end up hating editing and feel like I’m limping toward the finish line. Slowly. With a broken leg. And missing one eye.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?
I have no idea. Like for real, I seriously don’t know where they come from. They’re just there. It’s weird.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, have a favorite artist or playlist to share?
Um, YES! I LOVE listening to music when I write. I’m one of the weirdos who actually likes listening to music with words when I write, which I know distracts a lot of authors. But no, not me. Just gets me pumped up! In fact I have a Spotify account with separate albums on it for each of my characters. When I find a new song that reminds me of a character or something that they are going through, I pop it in the album. I have to say I have a minor obsession with Imagine Dragons right now (and by minor, I mean major) and Christ Tomlin’s “Our God” has always felt like a theme song for the series for me. I usually like songs with a strong beat and a lot of emotion.

How do you grow in your writing craft?
I really relay on my beta readers and editors to help mold me into a better writer. In fact, I even hate doing stuff like this because I know it’s probably riddled with typos and wrong word choices and such. In a perfect world I would have an editor at my disposal to edit as I write anything! Including emails . . . and FB posts . . . and text messages . . . and, well, I think you get the point.

You

How did you like to celebrate the 4th of July?
We moved from Washington, DC to Portland, OR this past January. We flew back to the East Coast at the beginning of the month to visit with friends and family. I ended up writing most of the time, so that was sort of a huge bummer. Anyway, we actually decided last minute to drive up to New Jersey, near New York, to spend the 4th of July with my husband’s bother and sister-in-law who have five children. Three of which were born over Thanksgiving this year. Yep, that’s right, triplets! My sister has twins and my husband’s brother has triplets. So we have a couple sets of multiples in the family. We spent the day hanging with them and our five year old daughter got to play with her cousins. Then we watched their local fireworks. It was a great time!

What is your favorite activity during the summer?
Oh man, I grew up in Michigan and people always went ‘up-north’ to stay in cabins and hang out in one of the many lakes we have throughout the state. I really miss that from growing up. I love boating and just spending time on the water. I haven’t done much of that since moving out of the state after graduating college though, but I would have to say that’s my favorite summer activity.

Share a personal freedom you’ve experienced.
This is a really deep question. I would have to say a personal freedom I’ve experienced is the fear of death. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve written a series on a fictional (meaning totally made up) version of the afterlife. Really it has more to do with my personal story. To give you the main points so I don’t write a novel here, I’ve been battling with Chronic Lyme Disease for about eight years now. A few of those years it was so bad I was bedridden. I was in my twenties and felt like I was slowly dying. I’d never had my body betray me the way it did, and through all that pain I guess it really hit me that this life is just temporary, and we do have a hope and something better waiting for us. I’ve always believed in heaven and life after death, but I think being so sick really made me understand that the suffering we go through here will end someday. And it freed me from the fear of death that I hadn’t even realized I was holding onto.

Now, I’m not saying I want to die tomorrow. I love my life. I love my family and friends and all the people (with and without fur) in it. I hope to live a nice long life. But now I no longer fear my own death because I really believe that what the Bible says about it to be true.

What are you currently reading?
Well, technically right now I’m not reading because I’m on a tight writing deadline . . . but who am I really kidding, I’m always reading. When I’m on a deadline my reading hours just become very nocturnal (aka off the kindle app on my phone late at night when the hubby is sleeping). There are so many great books out there these days, so I’m currently toggling back and forth between several young adult novels from some lovely authors I’ve met this last year. Right now it’s CURSED BY THE GODS, by Raye Wagner, THE RETURN, by Kelly St Clare, and SHADOW FALL by Audrey Gray. All great reads! I highly recommend them!

Emilie here: Thank you so much Julie! What a wonderful, transparent interview! I love your raw honesty and sense of humor. Looking forward to reading these stunning novels and I'm SO excited to share with my dear readers here. 

Friends, grab you copies of these books (my reviews coming soon!): 

Purchase: Huntress

Purchase: Warfare  

Enter below for the chance to win an awesome swag pack from Julie!!! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway