February’s Featured Author spotlight is being shared between two authors – and today I have the pleasure of welcoming Julie Christine Johnson, who’s been absolutely lovely in her correspondence… Read on!
An Interview with Julie Christine Johnson
drey: Hi Julie! Welcome to drey’s library, thank you for taking the time to let me ask you a few questions.
Julie: Hello Drey! Thank you so much for hosting me on Drey’s Library. It’s an honor and joy to be here!
drey: Let’s start with an introduction – in twenty words or less, how would you describe who you are and what you do?
Julie: A storytelling, hiking, yoga-practicing, wine-drinking daughter of the Pacific Northwest in love with her life, her husband, and her cat.
drey: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? How did that lead to where you are today?
Julie: I read Louise Fitzhugh’s classic Harriet the Spy when I was six years old and that was it: I knew I’d be a writer someday. That someday took another thirty-five years to come around. I took my first writing workshop in October 2010 and the floodgates opened. After all the years of dreaming about writing, I finally found the courage to set my words free.
drey: What one piece of advice would you share with aspiring authors?
Julie: It takes a village to publish a book. No matter which path to publishing you take, traditional or independent, you cannot do it alone. Find mentors—writers at different stages of their careers—and listen, watch, learn. Ask questions, be humble, and don’t wait—reach out now. Writers’ blogs, Facebook groups, Twitter chats are all great resources for connecting with writers and finding your tribe. Reach out in both directions—up and back. Always be willing to help someone right behind you.
drey: It’s time to talk about IN ANOTHER LIFE. What would be your elevator pitch for a movie version?
Julie: A time-slip alternative history set in southern France that sweeps from the present day to the 13th century in haunting and suspenseful tale of secrets that conquer time and the lost loves that haunt us all.
Ooh. Hey. That’s a keeper! I need to memorize this one!
drey: lol, that IS a keeper! 🙂
Who is your favorite character from, or what is your favorite part of, IN ANOTHER LIFE?
Julie: It seems obvious to say Lia, the story’s protagonist, but I adore her. Yet I feel like I’m still getting to know Lia. By the novel’s end she’s just starting to come into her own, to realize her own emotional strength. I’m a few years older than Lia: 46 to her late 30s, but I see in her the same sense of purpose, a reinvigoration of character and self and determination that arrives with turning 40. You sort of look around and say, “Right. This is who I am at this moment. I am beautiful, strong, I have so much yet to give, to discover. Let’s do this. Let’s live.” I’m not done with Lia, that’s for sure.
drey: Y’know, sometimes I wonder why I waited until my 40s to discover, or determine, who I am and who I want to be… That’s a question for anther day!
What do you do for fun? How do you recharge your writing batteries? Are these one and the same? 🙂
Julie: Fun and sanity and writer-battery-recharge are wrapped up in a routine of running, swimming, yoga, hiking. Somehow the very best way to get out of my head—exercise—becomes the best way to get in touch with the most deeply-rooted creative bits of my brain. I’m a voracious reader, but when I want to run away for a couple of hours, you’ll find me curled up a seat at the movie theatre. Or on the sofa, with a coloring book, binging on old TV series on Netflix. I also lead two weekly “works-in-progress” workshops at a local writing center and do story/developmental editing work with aspiring novelists. Helping other writers bring their ideas to the page is a wonderful way to connect with my own creative brain.
drey: We’ll wrap with a quick this-or-that:
– coffee or tea? Coffee, French press, black.
– Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars. The summer of ’77, I turned 8 and saw the movie 5 times.
– breakfast or dessert? I lead a pretty sugar-free life, but I never miss breakfast.
– heels or flats? Aaah…Bare feet. Shoes are so tiresome.
– paper or electronic? I do all of my pre-planning: character sketches, plot and theme ideas, timelines and research in a notebook. It becomes my process book for that novel and I work out problems and plot holes by hand.
drey: Thank you again, for visiting today!
Julie: My gratitude to you, and to your followers, for supporting writers with such grace and enthusiasm. You are our reason for being!
In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Purchase at IndieBound | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
It is January 1208 and in a village on the border between Provence and Languedoc, a monk whispers a benediction over the body of a slain papal emissary. The Cathars–followers of a heretical faith–are blamed for the assassination. The Pope declares a holy war and Languedoc is forever changed.
Eight hundred years later, historian Lia Carrer returns to southern France to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. Instead of finding solace in Languedoc’s quiet hills and medieval ruins, the woman trying to heal risks love, and loss, again.
Reincarnation is familiar ground for Lia–an expert in the mystical beliefs of the ancient Cathar faith–but to reconcile the truth of that long-ago assassination, the logical researcher must accept religious fantasy as historical fact. Three lost souls enter her life,
each holding a key to the murder that launched a religious crusade in the heart of Europe.
In Another Life is set amidst the medieval intrigue of thirteenth century Languedoc and Paris, intertwined with Lia’s modern quest to uncover the truth of an ancient murder and free a man haunted by ghosts from his past.