The Writing World is all about bringing new books and authors to the followers. Today I'd like to welcome Julie Elizabeth Powell to the blog. She's here for an interview and to tell us a bit more about her books.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? My pen name is Julie Elizabeth Powell and I have written 12 books in a variety of genres. I also love to read, an important part of being a writer, and I review for others too because I understand the struggle, especially for independent authors.
What do you do when you are not writing? Read, review, create handcrafted cards, 3D pictures, draw, craft jewellery and encaustic art. I like to garden (great exercise) and watch great films at the cinema with my wonderful husband.
Do you have a day job as well? Not any more – well, not paid anyway! I used to teach and mark exam papers etc. but now wouldn’t have the time, as my days are crammed full of ‘everything’.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book? I’ve always written, but nothing serious until after what happened to my middle child, Samantha, so that I had to put down the words in the fantasy called, Gone. The reason being that when she was two years old, her heart stopped and she died; unfortunately, doctors couldn’t revive her soon enough, leaving her severely brain damaged, meaning that who she had been was wiped clean. During the seventeen years of her agonizing survival, a question haunted me: Where had my daughter gone? So, I created a world and went in search of her. Gone is a unique fantasy, in my opinion, and I hope will help others to face the terrible things that can plague our lives.
How did you choose the genre you write in? I write in a variety of genres, one to challenge my writing and two, so I don’t become bored. It’s fun trying to see where my writing will lead. So far I’ve tried fantasy (my favorite because there are no rules and I can just ‘make it up’), psychological thriller, horror, humor /loose romance, murder mystery, contemporary short stories, mystery adventure and non-fiction. The longest story I’ve written is The Avalon Trilogy (#1 The Star Realm, #2 Invasion, #3 Secrets Of The Ice). It began as a spin off from Gone, as I didn’t want to waste the world I’d created – and the story grew...and grew, so I had to divide it into three. It was exhausting but fun to write.
Where do you get your ideas? Gosh – everywhere and everything inspires me to write. Gone, however was definitely inspired by what happened to Samantha. Dreams too are great for ideas.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? No. If I am ever stuck in a story because I’m not sure where it’s going, I write something else – hence the balancing of several stories at once. Sometimes I find that writing short stories helps organize the bundle of ideas that are forever in my head.
Do you work with an outline, or just write? Usually I just write. An idea will form and I run with it. Sometimes I have to jot down names /info for characters so I remember who did what and ‘who’ they are, especially if there are many of them (I do like a host of characters within my stories). It is strange, however that they (the characters) tend to lead the way, to such an extent that even I am surprised where it leads. I’m not sure how it happens but once I’m in front of the screen, my brain engages with my fingers and... Although, there are times that I can’t write quick enough and I can lose an idea. I do try to note some things down to stop this from happening. Just having a title or a great world can be enough for a story. Stephen King once said something like – to ‘just write’ whatever it is and see where it goes, don’t think about it – great advice.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? I always enjoyed fantasy, fairy tales or anything to do with magic – they must have influenced me. Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, John Wyndham are three favorite authors I remember. As an adult, I still love that kind of thing. Dean Koontz, Stephen King, J. K Rowling, David Brin are more well known, but I now mainly read from the Indie pool of writers, such as Maria Savva, Darcia Helle, Jason McIntyre, Nicholas Forristal, Richard Stephenson, Gae –Lynn Woods, T. Isilwath, R. J Palmer and Ron Glick – but there are many more... All these authors spark my imagination and plunge me into glorious imaginary worlds, each superbly written.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? I contacted every appropriate literary agent and publisher years ago about Gone, but nobody was interested. Periodically, I have tried again as other books have evolved, however, still without attracting attention. About a year after I’d rewritten (and rewritten) Gone, I found an online self-publishing site called, Lulu, and it was free! So I published for the first time. Over the years I’ve published all my twelve books, both on Lulu and as Kindle editions (about a year or so ago), and have sold some, even if I’m not able to make a living out of my work. The worst challenge is not giving up – if you want to write, do so, and with the online publishers now (that don’t cost anything), at least it’s a chance of getting your work ‘out there’.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? No. I am happy with my work. I prefer the control of self-publishing. The only drawback (and I suppose the hardest thing) is the lack of funds for marketing and promoting.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? I use social networks, blogs, special offers etc. and hope that one day things will change for the better regarding sales. As for specific genres, I’ve no idea what works best.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? I’ve self-published all of my books.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book? I am currently working on three WIP, one of which, called Dirty Business, is a murder mystery. I hope to publish soon, however, with helping others, reviewing, marketing, promoting etc. it’s not easy as time vanishes quicker than ice cream on a hot day. Oh yes, and there’s that thing called ‘life’ J I am trying to say no to others and do more with my own work, but I’ve always found that immensely difficult.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? Most of my work is purely imagination. Although, the spark can come from something I’ve dreamt, seen, heard, touched, tasted or instinctively felt. Gone, of course was inspired by what happened to my daughter, and Slings & Arrows is a non-fictional account of that waiting time. Lost Shadows, 13, Of Sound Mind, A Murderer’s Heart, The Avalon Trilogy (The Star Realm, Invasion, Secrets Of The Ice), Knowing Jack and Figments are all from imagination, although with Figments (short stories), some of the stories were drawn from experience then embellished as imagination took over. Misadventures Of Fatwoman was motivated by my experiences, however, my mind’s eye made up the characters and the situations within the story.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? My favorite chapter of Gone is where Charley meets Chamber for the first time – I enjoy the humor and how the characters interact. This is just before Charley has to embark upon a dangerous ‘quest’ inside Puzzle Woods – where she is in fact tested beyond anything she could have imagined. Does this help her? What does she decide? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
How did you come up with the title? The title, Gone, was easy --- where had my daughter gone?
What project are you working on now? Several.
Will you have a new book coming out soon? Hopefully, Dirty Business
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with? I like working with fantasy, as there are no limits...and I hate rules J Some characters I’ve created might be worth exploring more, if time will let me.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Not everyone has liked my work. I don’t mind negative comments as long as they are backed up with evidence and a real argument, not someone who says, ‘that sucks’ without a reason. What’s the point of that? I suppose the harshest comment was when one reviewer said that the only reviews I had must have come from friends and relations (not true), but what could I say? I make it a point of not conversing with any reviewer, unless to say, thank you. Even for negative reviews (not many, thank goodness), I thank the reviewer for their time and say that I am sorry they did not enjoy my work.
The best compliment is for anyone to take the time to read my work and then say something positive – how wonderful is that? Most of the reviews are good, but if anyone does read my work (or any book), comments would be marvelous. It is beneficial for authors (especially independents) to have feedback, and it is hoped that it would be positive, of course, if not, don’t say anything unless it’s constructive.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? If you want to write, do so! Don’t let anyone crush your dreams.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Ooh, thank you for reading my work, I hope you enjoy it, and please, spread the word! J I think you may be pleasantly surprised at the variety and ‘difference’ of my books.
I’ve now started some FUN and Wacky questions for those interviewed on my site.
Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it? No. But if I did, I’d just laugh and tell others it’s something new I’m trying. J
Do you prefer fuzzy or tub socks? What are tub socks? I just like comfortable socks – especially after a shower and I put on those huge, fluffy night ones.
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? Make the bed, usually after it’s aired some first.
Be honest, how often do you wash your hair? Every other day – unless I’ve been gardening and I’m so sweaty that I have to wash it there and then.
Do you get road rage? What pisses you off the most about other drivers? Arrogance and ignorance – but that can be with anything. I don’t drive, but when in the car with my husband, I hate it when other drivers cut in front of the car or lorries /trucks push the car over to the side. I also detest drivers talking on mobile phones – very dangerous.
Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide? I hate spiders! I usually call hubby to put them outside.
Coffee or Tea? Chamomile tea.
What is your biggest phobia? Hmm, spiders, dementia, Alzheimer’s
What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to social media? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) People trying to ban anything. I believe in choice, not having to obey someone else’s ideas or rules.
Blurb for Gone
After Charley dies in her office chair, how is it that she finds herself propelled into the mysterious world of Avalon?
Upon encountering an essence, which insists is her daughter – the one she knows she left behind – insanity battles with fear inside her mind.
The further she delves, the more puzzling things appear, especially after she rises into the Orb of Caprice – a realm of fairies, talking flowers and goblins…and something else, something that lurks in the shadows ready to swallow her whole.
Can she realize in time what it is she must do…or has she left it too late?
Gone is a story inspired by a true event.
Links for Gone:
UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gone-
USA - http://www.amazon.com/Gone-
Createspace - https://www.createspace.com/
Lulu - http://www.lulu.com/shop/
Here is the list of other links:
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Julie-
Elizabeth-Powell/e/B007EBEWES/ ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid= 1381594820&sr=1-1
Facebook author page 1 - http://www.facebook.com/
Facebook author page 2 - http://www.facebook.com/
Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/
Thank you so much Julie for stopping by and sharing a little bit about what makes you tick. I loved working with you and getting to know another fellow author. Have a wonderful day.