This week we are so delighted to have Julie Flanders here with us today.
Julie Flanders is a librarian by day and a writer all the rest of the time. Julie is a proud member of the speculative fiction writing group Untethered Realms.
Julie, we were thrilled to hear that you have a publishing contract for your children’s book Baby Moo’s Great Escape, that is coming out this fall. Can you tell us a little about this book? Where did the idea for this book come from?
Thanks for asking! The idea came from a visit I made to Sunrise Sanctuary in Marysville, Ohio last year. Sunrise is a farm sanctuary and this was the first time I’d visited one of those. I loved all of the animals so much! Baby Moo is a cow who lives at Sunrise, and he is a doll. I had always wanted to write a children’s book about animals and was thrilled when this opportunity presented itself and the ideas came together.
I don’t know if I can answer that question – I’ve never been able to decide! I do love to write stories with at least a touch of the paranormal in them. Polar Night and Polar Day are paranormal mysteries/thrillers and The Ghosts of Aquinnah is more of a historical mystery, but the ghost gives it a hint of the paranormal as well. I really love writing stories that bring elements of the supernatural into our world.
Why did you start writing?
I am a late-bloomer to the writing life, as I didn’t start doing it with any sense of purpose or direction until I was past 40. I had always loved writing in school but didn’t view myself as a creative person. That changed when I started volunteering as a writer for Best Friends Animal Society in 2010. I found I loved crafting the articles I wrote and it gave me an outlet I had been sorely missing. This all came at a time in my life when I was feeling depressed and adrift, and writing brought me out of that. Since I started I haven’t been able to stop, and I’m glad for that!
I am more of a draft-lover, although I don’t hate revisions. But the excitement that comes with putting a story on paper for the first time is such a joy as it all comes together in a draft. It’s a feeling that is hard to top.
Many writers struggle with continuing the writing, especially when they get discouraged. Have you ever been discouraged with your writing and what did you do to keep writing?
I became very discouraged recently when trying to write a sequel to my Polar Night series and finally I just scrapped the story completely. For me, switching gears and working on the Baby Moo story helped me keep writing. Now I am thinking about that sequel again and I want to try to go at it from a different angle. Writing has been such a positive in my life that I force myself to remember that when I get discouraged.
What is your favorite writing snack (if you have one)?
I don’t really have one. Now that you ask I feel like I want to start with one for my next story. 😉
Writing description! I really struggle with that aspect of any story I write.
What is the easiest part about writing?
I love to write dialogue. That is what comes easiest to me.
What is your writing routine like?
I don’t have a strict routine, which I think comes from the fact that I have always been a terribly unorganized person! But I love to stretch out on my couch with my laptop on my legs and write away. My cat and my dog are my writing buddies and share the couch with me.
If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?
I set The Ghosts of Aquinnah on the island of Martha’s Vineyard because my family owns a small cottage there and has been on the island for generations. I’m a life-long Ohioan but have New England roots that go back to the Mayflower.
I am still so new to writing that I don’t feel qualified to give advice, but I guess I would encourage everyone that it’s never too late to pursue a dream and start writing. I am living proof of that.
Are you working on anything new?
I am kicking around ideas for the Polar Day sequel I mentioned and also sketching out a story based in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s a historical story based on World War I that includes a ghost. Like I said, it’s hard for me to resist some kind of paranormal element. 😀
We want to thank Julie for letting us interview her!
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