Today I continue the series of author and designer interviews that are common to this blog. I try and release one every Friday. I want to welcome author Julie Gilbert and I know you’ll be interested in what she has to say!
Julie, welcome to the blog and thank you for being kind enough to answer these questions. It’s greatly appreciated.
Can you tell us a little about yourself. What are your likes and dislikes?
Julie: Hi. I’m currently a chemistry teacher, but I’m also starting to write a lot more. Typically, I try to wait until the summer to write, but I’ve recently decided to join the Lei Crime series Kindle World launch. The deadline’s flying up, so my days are consumed with teaching and my nights with writing. It’s exhausting but extremely fun, and not the sort of pace I can keep up forever.
If I gave you a full rundown of my likes and dislikes, we’d probably be here all day, so I’ll confine my answer to the writing realm. I have very distinct likes/dislikes about book covers. The cover issue has been on my mind of late because I’m in the process of re-branding two of my series. I love the fun, cartoon covers that I’m phasing out, but I think they’re making the works seem targeted to a younger audience than they’re meant for. One dislike for book covers is when the author name is bigger than the title. Another is when the title consumes the whole front. I love when the cover image matches the feel of the book perfectly because let’s face it, people often judge by the cover.
Michael: I do think the image matching the book is a very big necessity.
Julie, what motivates you to write?
Julie: There are plenty of reasons why I write. Would you like the selfish or altruistic reasons?
On a personal level, I love that it’s a skill that can be improved over time. It’s a ton of fun to get to know the characters as you throw situations at them and see how they react.
On a social level, I enjoy that it lets me interact with people I never would normally contact. Readers, reviewers, other writers, and artists are always willing to help each other out. That sense of community is awesome.
I write because I can. I feel that there are a ton of stories in me, so I want to discover each one.
Michael: I love that answer. I believe there are stories in everyone and the fact you have more than 1 and know it is very encouraging to hear. Readers, that means there’s plenty more to come.
Tell me about your fantasy series, can you summarize it without giving too much away?
Devya’s Children features a cast of genetically altered children who learn more about their skills and what it means to be a family. Jillian and Danielle are the primary narrators, but each book focuses on a different child.
Ashlynn’s Dreams introduces Jillian Blairington and her babysitter, Danielle Matheson. It starts off with them being kidnapped. (Not a spoiler, that’s on the back cover text.) The story that unfolds from there tells what happened at the scientific facility where they’re taken and what they learn along the way.
Nadia’s Tears focuses on Jillian’s sister, Nadia, who possesses amazing mental abilities. Not only does her brain develop at a very fast rate, it also has a wider capacity than normal people. That story starts out with Jillian worried because of Nadia’s sudden silence. While Jillian’s investigating the problem with Nadia, Danielle gets drawn into one of her friend’s troubles. Human trafficking is a central theme in that book.
Malia’s Miracles features the girl given Gifts involving emotions. Jillian and Danielle and most of Devya’s children get drawn into a pitched battle against fighting cancer in one woman.
Michael: They all sound very intriguing, and having read the reviews, it seems the readers agree with that sentiment.
Now, what was your favorite novel and who was your favorite author growing up?
Julie: I read a lot growing up, and I’m not sure I picked a favorite author. I enjoyed the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mysteries, but they were written anonymously under a pen name. I also enjoyed the Star Wars Jedi Apprentice series. I believe Jude Watson wrote most of that series.
Michael: I too, was raised on Hardy Boys, my Dad introduced me to them.
Do you ever face fear as a writer? How do you overcome it?
Julie: I think there’s always a self-conscious sort of fear that people won’t like my work, but I came wired pretty grounded. I do what I do because I enjoy the process. God’s given me this beautiful thing to explore, learn through, and grow in, so there’s no reason to fear anything.
Michael: I can certainly relate to the self-conscious fear, putting your work out there for anyone to look at is a big deal. Thanks for being so open to this question.
Is there a character in the series that you most relate to and why?
Julie: I would like to think I’m as smart as Nadia, but to my knowledge, nobody genetically enhanced me to be super-smart. Truthfully, I think I can relate most to Danielle. Thankfully, none of my friends or charges have been genetically altered leading to me being kidnapped and used as a hostage. She’s just a girl, but the circumstances she’s put in allow the strength of her personality to shine. Not always true with me, but I like to think that I have a similar sort of right the world, stand up for justice, defend your friends to the end sort of attitude.
Michael: That sounds like someone a lot of people can aspire to be like. Thanks for sharing your heart on it.
Where did you get the art for your novels from? How important is the cover art?
Julie: Ah, one of my favorite topics of the month. Ashlynn’s Dreams has gone through three covers. The cartoon one is a favorite of mine because I got to help design it with a very talented artist friend, Timothy Sparvero. Over time, I had gotten some feedback about it feeling like a MG-suitable cover or too much in the anime style. At first, I was okay with that image, but now, I’m making a big push to reach the YA, scifi loving audience it was meant for.
The current covers were designed by J. Leigh Bralick from SisterMuses.
Michael: I look forward to seeing any new covers in the future.
Is writing a passion, a hobby or a job for you, and why?
Julie: I feel like this is a time in my life where I’m transitioning from writing being a hobby to a job. Jobs get a bad rap of being just a way to make money, but life’s always better when you do what you love. Over the course of the past year, I’ve made a lot of subtle mental shifts to turning this into a viable career. I took steps to turn a lot of the stories into audiobooks with Kristin Condon narrating them. Commissioning new covers was a big step. I’m joining the launch for Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Series Kindle World which is launching April 7, 2015. I’m going legit = job 😉
Michael: I wish you well as you take this next step. Please keep us posted with how it goes.
What’s one word of advice you want to give someone aspiring to be an author?
Julie: Write. Network. Whoops, that’s two words. Seriously, have a sense of humor. Write a lot, and network like your life depended on it. The life of your book probably does depend on it. Even in the indie writing world, you will come to rely upon a whole host of others from professional editors to kind people you bully into being beta readers to overworked bloggers who will function as your modern town criers, spreading the word of your books to the masses.
Michael: So true. I think that particularly in this modern day and age, networking is a huge key!
If any readers want to connect with you further where can they find you on social media?
Yes, here’s a list of places they can find me.
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-C-Gilbert/e/B002BMB2LG
Twitter: @authorgilbert or @jilliananddeli
Facebook: Julie C. Gilbert
Facebook: Ashlynn’s Dreams
Facebook: Heartfelt Cases Series
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/julie20201/ (for book covers and other stuff)
Michael: So there you have it. If you want to connect with Julie further, those are your options!
Julie, thank you so much for answering some questions for my blog. Maybe sometime in the future we will be able to hear from you again! I’ll leave our readers with a couple of images from your other book titles, the Heartfelt Cases series and Defining Moments.