Julia, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi there! Let's see... I have always adored reading. As a little girl, I even read WHILE rollerblading, floating in the pool, and climbing trees. Off the pages, I am also a budding graphic designer, photographer, and blogger. I love to sing and dance and have my own handcrafted-jewelry business. Sparkle and style and colors are some of my favorite things!
Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
Well, for one thing, my amazing mom homeschooled me and my two younger brothers from age 5 all the way through high school, while at the same time battling a tough auto-immune disease, RA. (I know. She's awesome.) She always made our learning experience fun, doing unit studies by topic... e.g, the ocean, chocolate, Australia. Since we weren't always slaving over textbooks, we had a lot of time to play outside, and spent hours nurturing our creativity in various forms. My brothers became master LEGO builders, and I have a ton of creative hobbies, one of which is... writing! :)
How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Hmm. While homeschooling certainly helped, I've always been extremely expressive, verbal, and good with words and spelling. It's a natural bent of mine that my mom encouraged. (Honestly, I was talking at nine months and in full sentences when I was one year old, learned to read at age 3, was reading high school level material in 2nd grade...) ;) Math and numbers, on the other hand? NOPE.
What caused you to start writing?
Short answer: I ran out of good books to read! Haha! I began typing stories on our old XP desktop computer when I was a young teen. My brothers and me and the girl across the street did so much play-acting (our playhouse-slash-chicken-coop became a castle on many occasions) that coming up with exciting stories was easy. Making them sound as good on paper as in my head? I'm still learning that one. :)
What inspired Ashburn?
I've always loved the concept of spies and urgent missions and secret agents. Also a very good, clean, light romance that had an interesting plot line and wasn't all about the emotions. And the combination of the two seems to be quite rare. Also - I discovered an old 80's TV series called Scarecrow and Mrs. King about a suburban housewife and a government agent. If you looked past the BIG hair and the shoulder pads, it was actually really funny, and I found myself wanting to put my own spin on it. :)
Would you give us a synopsis?
Gladly! (can I share what I wrote for the back cover of the book? Because I love it)...
Cara Stephenson, a talented graphic designer at Silver Strand technologies, never thought she’d see her childhood best friend again… but when he suddenly reenters her life ten years later, he’s a completely different man. What is he hiding, and why should she trust him?
Bryce Reynolds is a man on a mission… a top-secret one, at that. He never imagined the girl down the street would one day become his link to the destruction of Ravenmeister, Inc. – a front for black-market arms and ammunition. Will he crumble underneath the burden of all his secrets?
When the hunt for a missing technology developer in possession of a priceless prototype drags Cara and Bryce on a high-adrenaline ride through the streets of Paris, Venice, and Munich, they must work together to find what they’re looking for… and to survive the trip!
(oh come on, you KNOW you wanna read it...) :D
Who will enjoy Ashburn?
I think it will appeal more to women, simply because of the thread of light romance, but it's actually a very exciting book packed with adventure and action, especially near the climax... ;) So I hope readers of both genders will enjoy it. I think it's clean enough for anybody 14 and up, although there is some "mild peril" as the movies put it. :D
Do you plan to write more books?
YES!! There are two more books following ASHBURN in the series, possibly even a fourth. I'm already partially into writing the sequel, titled DIAMOND, which I plan to publish Spring 2015, and I also have some other stories simmering - a coming-of-age tale of two sisters living in south Florida, and a Regency-era romance in the style of Jane Austen. Those may also morph into series. :)
Where can people connect with you online?
The best place to keep in touch with me is my author page on Facebook - , and I also blog at Julia's Journal and my new lifestyle blog, Sparkle Song. :)
Do you have any final thoughts?
I just want to say thank you, Sarah, for being such a great friend AND squeezing me into your September schedule here on Homeschool Authors! I hope the readers enjoyed this interview - I certainly did! :) Keep on writing!
Julia is giving away one paperback and one Kindle copy of Ashburn! Enter below.
Cid you ever do any writing curriculum/courses or read any books on writing that you would recommend?ReplyDelete
I did read a lot of excellent fiction, so I knew what good stories feel like, but an amazing book that helped me with my writing is "Outlining Your Novel" by K. M. Weiland. :)ReplyDelete
I'm so exited about this book. I've always loved spy books and a little romance makes it better :)ReplyDelete
Also In the rafflecopter you listed your twitter name as @HSAuthors but when it didn't work I went and checked on Twiter and it's @HS_Authors.
Allison, thank you for letting me know. I have corrected it.Delete
What advice do you have for a young writer?ReplyDelete
Hi Anna! I would say learn some of the basic rules if you can, before you start any serious projects. But don't get bogged down in the details, it's always going to be a learning process! Let yourself soar and have fun with your imagination. :)Delete
This book looks really interesting! I love spy books and this one looks especially good!ReplyDelete
Me too, Ellie! I think you'd like it. ;)Delete
Did you self-publish your book or did you go the traditional way?ReplyDelete
Self-pub! But I put a LOT of effort into polishing it up... so hopefully it compares to a traditionally published work. I used CreateSpace on Amazon! :)Delete
I've got a question!!! :-) I know titles are hard, I have a tough time with them myself.ReplyDelete
But how did you decide to title it Ashburn? And does that have something to do with what's in the book?
Hello Elizabeth! GREAT question, and the answer is a teensy bit of a spoiler, but... "ASHBURN" is the code name of a certain secret agent. :D So it made a natural title for me!Delete
You can enter me in! Looks interesting!ReplyDelete
Make sure you use the rafflecopter app above to enter. It counts all the entries and generates the random winners.Delete
When will the winner be announced?Delete
My family and I breathe Scarecrow and Mrs. King, it is one of the best shows ever made! Funny enough, I am also a writer while my brother is a master Lego builder. Small world. I cannot wait to read this book.ReplyDelete
Small world indeed!! Sounds like we have lots in common!! :) I can say with certainty that you'd enjoy the book... looking forward to your thoughts!Delete
*inserts a plea for amazon and goodreads reviews* :D
I can't wait to read it, Julia, and I love the cover. What are your long term plans for writing?ReplyDelete
Hi Rachel! Thanks, that means a lot coming from you, a fellow designer! (I actually love this version so much better than the earlier one I showed you) <3Delete
Long-term? Hmmmmmmmmm..... well, I have 3 more books planned in this series for certain, we'll see... there's SO much potential in this agency, telling the stories of the other operatives and how they connect to the first main characters.
Other than that, I would actually like to dip my toe in several genres... I have a story all 'dreamed' out that's a coming-of-age tale which centers on two sisters living along the gulf in Florida, and a whole passel of contemporary chick-lit themes I'd LOVE to explore. :)
I guess I'd describe my style as "clean, captivating, contemporary christian fiction". :D
Your new book sounds great! Do you have a favorite character in the story?ReplyDelete
Lovely interview! ^_^ReplyDelete
Do you plan your stories before writing, or just discover as you go?
Both! I do a basic outline of what scenes I want and I've got an ending in mind when I begin... but each scene surprises me in new ways when I begin fleshing them out. :DDelete
I can completely relate to trying to combine reading with other activities like swimming while I was growing up! :-) You mention a Regency Jane-Austen-style book in the works... I'm curious as to which Austen book is your favorite and why? :-)ReplyDelete
Ha, well it's not exactly "in the works", but hopefully down the road someday, I'll get back to it. I wrote it years ago!Delete
My favorite book was Pride and Prejudice, but they were all just smashing! :) Why? I think the family dynamics of the Bennetts were scintillating, and I love both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. And someday I'd love to find out if Jane Austen coined the name 'Bingley'! :D