Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Interview with Author Julie Wright


Julie Wright (1972-still breathing) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She's lived in LA, Boston, and the literal middle of nowhere (don't ask). She wrote her first book when she was fifteen and actually got the thing published. Eleven novels later, she thinks she's finally getting the hang of this writing gig.

She has one husband, three kids, two dogs, and a varying amount of fish (depending on attrition).

She loves writing, reading, traveling, hiking, playing with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner.

She used to speak fluent Swedish, but now speaks only well enough to cuss out her children in public.

She hates mayonnaise.

Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Julie: Most authors will tell you that they ALWAYS knew they wanted to be an author. And while that’s not exactly true for me, it’s sort of true. I’ve always wanted to be something that had had something to do with writing, but I wasn’t always sure about the author thing. I wanted to be a song writer, a poet, a screenplay writer, an advertising executive, and finally decided I wanted to be an author when Mr. Cowden in tenth grade told me that was the one thing I never would be. I hate people telling me what to do.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?

Julie: I’ve written eleven novels and one picture book. I’ve written an entire book full of simpering, absurd poetry which will never come to public view, and I’ve written several articles. I only made it through two years of college. But education doesn’t always stem from a campus. I’ve read books on writing, attended conferences on writing, made friends in the writing community, and basically done everything I can possibly do to improve on my craft and continue my education on a personal level.

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?

Julie: I believe it begins with my passion for reading. I have always loved reading. And once I realized I could join those people who made up those stories I loved so much, there was no stopping me. I love the idea of taking nothing and filling it full of emotions, and lives, andsomething. It’s twenty shades of awesome!

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Julie: I started my first book when I was fifteen (after the whole Mr. Cowden-telling-me-I-can’t-write debacle) and finished it when I was 24. Then it sat on my computer for years with me melting down at my husband every time he reconfigured a hard drive because I just knew he was going to lose my book. He finally took me to the bookstore and found books like mine. He flipped them all open, wrote down the publishing information inside the cover of each one, and starting submitting to those publishers. He told me if my book was on a book shelf instead of his computer, we’d be a lot happier. I doubt I would have ever dared attempt publishing on my own. My husband is my absolute hero.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Julie: HILARIOUS QUESTION! James Dashner and Jeff Savage actually named writer depression after me. They call it Julie Wrightus. There have been lots of discouraging moments. Moments where I ate too much, cursed too much, cried too much. I have declared several times that I will never write again, but it isn’t ever true. The stories come. The sentences and characters form in my head, whether I invite them in or not. Jeff once told me that if you succeed at everything you try, then you aren’t trying hard enough things. I dealt with it by never giving up, by continuing to try the hard things. And it helps a lot to keep perspective, and to remember to write for your own enjoyment first. I’ve learned a lot from the discouragement, and though I’m not exactly grateful for it, I’m grateful for who I am because of it.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

Julie: Schedule? People have schedules? I must do research on this alien topic. I write in snatches, wherever two moments rub together. I can write to children fighting, dogs barking, husband asking what’s for dinner, I don’t keep a “regular” schedule, but I do make it a goal to write 1000 words a day when I’m working on a new novel. Sometimes I only get eleven words, sometimes I get eleven thousand (okay that only happened once, but it was a GREAT DAY).

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Julie: I think any idea is good enough to write about if it’s interesting to the writer. Ideas come from everything. Just this morning while getting my kids ready for school, my son mentioned a game he played yesterday. I took a couple of the phrases he’d used and combined them—then twirled a story around it. After about five minutes, I gave him the basic outline of a book. Slack-jawed, he said, “Did you just barely make that all up?” Yep. “Well you’d better write it all down fast, so you don’t forget, because that would be awesome!” I’ve had ideas while closing my trunk, while taking a bath, while sitting in a timeshare presentation, while driving down the road. Ideas are everywhere!

Deirdra: Will you tell us about your newest book Cross My Heart.

Julie: It is so much fun! The two books I’d written before this one were a little emotionally draining to write and I really needed an emotional break. So I wrote this which is a light-hearted romantic comedy. I love the characters, love the story, and laughed pretty much the whole time I wrote it. I hope my readers do the same J

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?

Julie: It depends on the book. With Cross My Heart, I hope the readers laugh, and feel a sense of fun and new love. For my children’s books, I hope the reader feels a sense of wonder. I guess I really hope the reader feels *hope* in whatever they’re reading. Hope in love, hope in life, hope in people.

Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Julie: I’m a wait and see what happens next kind of girl. I sit down and write. At the very beginning, I might write a very loose outline, just so I remember what my first intentions were—then I write until I get to the end. Sometimes, this method requires extensive rewriting. J

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Julie: Sometimes, and I get out of it by giving myself to write garbage. Garbage can be revised. A blank page cannot.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Julie: I wouldn’t know what to do with myself in absolute quiet. I don’t write to most music because I can’t keep myself from singing along. But there is a focus music CD that helps me when I have to really concentrate. I pretty much write to the beat of my family’s activities.

Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Julie: Discovery channel, History channel, Discover magazine

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Julie: There are lots of people who’ve made a difference, people I couldn’t do this without, but the person who’s made the greatest difference would be my husband. He balances me when I get too out of control. He keeps me grounded when things are going great, holds me when I feel worthless, yet never lets me give up when it gets too hard. He listens while I read my manuscripts to him, and he laughs and cries at all the right places.

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?

Julie: I believe they’re real. I care about them and that makes them breathe for me.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
Julie: I admire Janette Rallison for her tenacity, her sheer skill, her humor in writing, her moral standard, her ability to treat everyone with respect. Her ability to laugh when others would cry—or throw things. Janette is solid. She’s amazing, and I am so grateful to know her. I admire many others, but can’t list them without taking several hours and getting typer’s cramp.

Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?

Julie: Dr. Pepper and Grape Nuts-no milk

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Julie: I have no other talents that I’m aware of. It’s sort of sad really. If I fail at this, there is no fall-back plan.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Julie: Don’t give up, and do everything in your power to produce the best writing possible.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?

Julie: The second book in the Hazzardous Universe series.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Julie: http://juliewright.com/bibliography.html

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Julie: LIVE with all your heart, and write as you live.


  1. I met Julie at The Book Academy Conference and she is hilarious. Can't wait to read Cross My Heart.

  2. Awesome interview - and I love Julie!!

  3. I <3 Julie Wright. Thanks for this awesome interview. :o) One of my favorite quotes was, "if you succeed at everything you try, then you aren’t trying hard enough things." I guess I'm trying hard enough things!! For sure! :-D

  4. Julie is not only an awesome writer but a great person too--and Julie, I'm printing out your comments about me and making my husband say them repeatedly.

  5. Julie is a great Oak Cityite! And funny and cute and awesome and kind and a good example and always Wright.


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