Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Interview: Julie Gilbert

What have you had published?
Heartfelt Cases 1: The Collins Case
Ashlynn’s Dreams (Devya’s Children 1)
Nadia’s Tears (Devya’s Children 2)
What genre(s) of book do you write?
Young adult, science fiction
Christian, mystery
Science fiction – normal, set in space type sci-fi, though not space exploration
What inspired you to write your first book?
In part, I guess the inspiration to write came from a mild obsession with the subject of kidnapping. When one hears about the real thing, you’ve got zero control over the outcome. Crafting a story offers a lot more situational control. The other part of that first book comes from a fascination with the FBI. If I were a bit more inclined toward a physically demanding job, I’d give that career a go. Since I’ve fallen in love with my current career choice (teaching) and it plays nicely with my passion for writing, I’ll stick to writing about crimes instead of solving them.
How long did it take you to write “Ashlynn’s Dreams”?
I pick a new project every summer. That sort of sticks a timer on when the bulk of a project needs to be done. Ashlynn’s Dreams was written around the summer of 2010. The initial story usually takes about a month, but then it takes many more months to proofread it to a satisfactory point.
What is the working title of your next book(s)?
Heartfelt Cases 2: The Kiverson Case will be out in January
Heartfelt Cases 3: The Davidson Case will be out mid-2014
Malia’s Miracles (Devya’s Children 3) will likely be out summer 2014
Heartfelt Cases 4: The Keres Case will likely be out late 2014
The working title for my summer 2014 project is Varick’s Quest.
Somewhere in there, if I get the time, I’ll be proofreading  a science fiction series, so all those dates could change, except The Kiverson Case.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing about the time I went off to college. During the summers I worked at a local grocery store, but it’s not exactly the type of job that one brings home. I think part of me was rebelling against the English class idea that every detail in a story had to have a meaning. I wanted to write simply to entertain. Incidentally, a lot of it took on greater meaning for me and in general later, but keeping the fun and entertaining flavour has always been an integral part of my process.
Do you self publish your books or go through an agency?
I self-publish through Createspace and smashwords. I’m not opposed to the idea of traditional publishing, but this way does give me a lot of creative control. I happen to have a friend who can make lovely covers in a style I happen to like, so that definitely helps. If an agent happened to say, I want to make this better, I’d be inclined to let them try, but for now, I’m happy with what I can get through the self-publishing venues I’ve chosen.
What part of writing books do you find the hardest?
Proofreading the manuscripts is probably the hardest aspect of writing. As often as possible, I try to get other people to beta read for me, but even before it reaches that point, there are many rounds of reading and re-reading to do to turn out as clean a product as possible. I’m too much of a cheapskate to hire an expensive editor, so I do my best about 10 times then turn it over to some paid and unpaid help. 
What do you do in your spare time?
Read. I know, I know – how boring, but I haven’t heard of any writer who doesn’t like to read as well. The passions go hand-in-hand. From story time as a toddler to chapter books to novels, there’s a natural progression for loving the written word. 
     I also play video games. Role playing and action RPG video games are essentially really long stories with the added bonus of stellar visuals. 
Who is your favourite author?
That question is crazy hard to answer. I often enjoy authors for different reasons. Guess it depends on what mood I’m in. Vivian Vande Velde’s always good for something quirky. Brandon Sanderson does world-building well, but his stories tend to be on the very long side. Stuart Hill’s The Cry of the Icemark is one of my all-time favourite fantasy books, but the sequels paled in comparison. (I like how your word doc autocorrects to British spelling J.) Dee Henderson does dialogue well. Tim Downs builds characters with charming quirks. Margaret Haddix comes up with some awesome premises.
What’s your favourite genre to read?
That is also a difficult question to answer. If I could only pick one I think I’d choose Young Adult, but that’s sort of cheating since that can cross into almost any genre. Science fiction that’s more like Star Wars is also fun. It’d probably be easier to list genres I don’t read. I stay away from romance, non-fiction, and horror.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Find the balance between believing in yourself and your work and the reality check that not everybody’s going to fall in love with your work. Cling to the feel-good moments like a kid coming up to you and saying s/he loved your story. Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. Seek a wide audience from many walks of life. Have fun with what you do. Find a writing schedule that works for you. They say write every day, but that’s just not me. I do 99% of my writing during the summer months then limit myself to proofreading during the school term.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Visit my FB page, Find me on Twitter, Check out the Ashlynn’s dreams trailer, Email me if you want a free review copy: devyaschildren@gmail.com  (I need to know your ebook version preference pdf, mobi, epub)

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