You are all in for a big treat today, as I managed to score a slot in the Blog Tour, as well as a little one on one time with the fantastic YA author, Julie Reece, whose debut release, CRUX is one the hot lists for summer releases.
Ms. Reece also happens to be one of my favorite people and an original member of the author group, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens. (If you are ever curious who my favorite female authors of the day are, you simply need to check out The Sisterhood blog, and they are all there.)
My 17yr. old daughter, Casey and I were lucky beta readers of Ms. Reece’s novel, and we both just loved it. My full review can be found HERE, if you want to check it out. I would highly recommend the read to anyone who enjoys YA Urban Fantasy — or, well, anyone who likes YA in general. It was just THAT good.
Anyway, without gushing all over her pretty shoes, let me get right to it and introduce Julie Reece.
Me: Thanks for coming by, Julie. I’ve been quite anxious to get you into the interview chair so I could really pick your brain about Crux.
Julie: *cringes* Oh boy…
Me: Don’t worry. I promise to be gentle. *grins* I’ll start slow and easy. What inspired you to write your novel, Crux?
Julie: My daughters. We started reading together and the more we read, the more we talked about story ideas, plots and characters-what we liked and didn’t like. I had so many ideas that were different than what was on the YA shelves, finally my daughters looked at me and said, “Yo, mom, write one yourself. We like the ideas and we think other people will, too.” So that’s what I did. I wrote the book I couldn’t find hoping others would like what’s in my wacky imagination, too! 🙂 It was scary to try, and I didn’t know if I could do it. I would think to myself, Be a quarter as brave as the heroine in your book, Julie. That’s what I tried to do.
Me: Well, I think you did one heck of a job with that – no doubt about it What sort of writer do you consider yourself? What I mean is, are you a pantser (like me) or a plotter?
Julie: Panster all the way, baby! I wish I was a plotter, I really do. I’ve tried, but when my characters whisper about going a different way than I’ve plotted for them, they can be very persistent. They’re a very rebellious lot and they usually end up getting their way 🙂
Me: Do you have any writing rituals or special processes you complete before sitting down to write?
Julie: Not really, the only thing I need is quiet. Library quiet to focus because of my ADD and other learning disabilities. I’m am easily distracted unfortunately. PS, I do like to hear birds singing, a cat’s purr, wind, rain or the sea. Those noises never bug me. Maybe because they are white noises???
Me: If you could only write in one genre for the rest of your career, what genre would you choose? Why?
Julie: Young Adult urban fantasy. Man, it’s hard to explain why I love this genre so much. It has everything! You can go anywhere and do anything with a teenager’s point of view. Everything is brand new and there’s a lot of hope and wonder and acceptance from a sixteen year old who’s experiencing different areas of life for the first time. Teenagers are brave and wise, then they do stupid stuff that they have to get themselves out of! I adore YA books!!!
Me: I have to agree with you there. I have become a big fan of the YA genre, especially after reading books like yours and Stephanie Lawton’s. I think I may already know this answer, but the readers may not, so I will toss it out there anyway. Which of the characters in your current release is your favorite? Why?
Julie: Well dang, that’s really hard. I guess it would have to be my heroine. Bird is the sum total of a person who has every reason to be bitter or give up and quit, but she doesn’t. I liked that about her. She’s a fighter.
Me: For sure. She is my favorite by far. Just love her to bits. I’d bet she’d be a grumpy bear in the mornings. What about you, though, Julie? Morning person or grumpy bear?
Julie: I’m sorry to tell you I am ‘Miss Mary Sunshine’ in the morning. I probably drive the rest of my family nuts being all happy pants in the early am but I turn into a pumpkin around 11:00 when my brain shuts off, so I guess it even out.
Me: Heheh — okay, back to the book questions for a little bit. What is the one thing about the book publishing process that has surprised you the most?
Julie: How much releasing a book into the world feels exactly like watching your five year old walk onto the playground at school. You are proud and nervous and you pray he will fit in and the other kids will like him!
Me: Speaking of other kids liking you… What group were you a part of in High School? Jocks? Nerds? Metal heads?
Julie: Um yeah. This is weird, but I sort of orbited all those groups. I was friends with everybody and didn’t really fit anywhere. School really sort of sucked for me, but I admit some of that was my own doing. I struggled in school and had a chip on my shoulder for a while over that, something I really regret now.
Me: I am amazed by how many writers I meet are sort of the same — fringers at the edge of the groups but not really being part of one of them. I can be an information nerd sometimes — but this isn’t about me 😛 It’s about you. Tell us one thing it would surprise us to know about you?
Julie: I love gardening, and have a phobia of sharks, spiders and clowns. If you dressed a shark up as a clown and gave him a pet tarantula on a leash, you would have the trifecta of my fears.
Me: What is next for you?
Julie: I have am editing a finished, 90k word, YA historical paranormal romance novel. (This is actually this first book I ever wrote) I’m sending it out to my beta readers to see if they like it or its junk! 🙂 I have three (I know, yes three) other YA urban fantasy novels in various stages of completion I want to finish.
Me: Do you have any unique skills or talents? If so, what?
Julie: I’m a painter and I like to draw. I wish I was better at it and am basically a frustrated wannabe, but I love art! I might have been a wedding planner, decorator, or landscape architect. Anything creative, I guess. 🙂 I’m good with animals, and since I’m fairly good at figuring people out, I might have made a decent criminal profiler, then again, maybe not!
Me: Tell us something about your book we won’t find in the back cover blurb?
Julie: When I wrote it, I wanted to convey the idea of forgiveness and courage and trust and determination but most of all … hope. That no matter how bad your life is, if you wait one more day, something amazing might happen.
Me: Who is your favorite author and why?
Julie: I read Mary Webb’s ‘Precious Bane’ when I was in high school. It ripped my heart out, shredded it and then sewed it back together. I wanted to evoke that kind of feeling in someone else. *sigh* Now I love Cassandra Clare, when the writer inside me grows up, I want to write like her. There is a list of YA writer as long as my arm I feel that way about. I love their story telling and am jealous of their incredible genius.
Me: Coke or Pepsi?
Me: If I were to look in your closet right now, would I find frills and lace or denim and tees?
Julie: Denim and tees … and pumps and bling. 🙂
There you have it folks. Thanks for stopping in Julie, and best of luck with your debut novel, though I don’t think luck with have much to do with its success.
For you readers out there, here is where you can learn more about Julie Reece, and where you can pick up your copy of her debut novel Crux.
She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.
Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host, and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night.
In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich, and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her.
Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them, until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together.
Her heritage did.
Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.
Where to Buy:
Learn More about Julie by visiting her website: http://www.juliereece.com
As a thank you for stopping in, I will be sending a signed CRUX bookmark to 3 lucky random commenters. Just make a comment below, ask a question, whatever — just make sure to leave a way for me to contact you should you win, and that’s it — you will be entered in the drawing.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I absolutely loved this book.
Okay, I should preface what is to come with the disclaimer that I read this as a BETA before it was submitted for publication and loved it then, so I took little risk in reading the final version. I already knew it was a kick-ass read. My opinion has not changed.
Crux is an YA Urban Fantasy (romance) featuring a down, but not out homeless girl, Rebecca Orin–who everyone calls Birdie. She’s got spunk, sarcasm, and street sense. The kind of female lead I just love to get behind. After a very strange day that finds Birdie coming into some cash, and more attention than she could ever want, she learns there may just be something special about her and her bloodline.
I’m not one to put spoilers in a review, so I wont go into the plot line any more than that, but I can say the mission she ends up embarking on is full of history, mystery, monks and Vikings — what a combination!
I mentioned above there was some romance in the tale as well, and the male lead Grey Matthews is just the kind of guy any teenage girl would swoon over. Sexy, rich, and completely head over heels for Birdie. Suffice to say, my 17yr old daughter — who also read Crux (and LOVED IT) is keeping her eyes open for her own “Grey”.
Ms. Reece’s gift for vibrant description and emotionally rich characters makes this story a real winner in my book. A must read for the YA Urban Fantasy fans out there, or anyone looking for a sweet romantic adventure.