Friday, 27 May 2011

INTERVIEW: Julie Campbell

As many of our regular readers know I tend to hang around a few online message boards that accommodate not only fans of a certain authors but also help those who want to write get better at what they do.

Though the OWG (Otherworld Writer Group) hosted by the delightful Kelley Armstrong (here) a whole host of fab writers have become authors. As such it’s always a great delight when I can let one of them lose with us here on the forum.

Unfortunately (and it’s with great regret) I’ve sat on this interview for a little while in the hopes of getting an E-Reader so that I can review Julie’s full length title.

Alas the god/dess/e/s of the written word have not been kind but due to devout devotion I hope to have one by years end but rather than just keep this hanging on I wanted to give you the chance to discover this wonderful talent. So here without further ado, I give you Julie Campbell in all her, er, glory…

Falcata Times: Writing is said to be something that people are afflicted with rather than gifted and that it's something you have to do rather than want. What is your opinion of this statement and how true is it to you?

That’s kind of a funny way to put it, afflicted, yeah I can see how people feel that way. It is more of an addiction for me. I chose to become a writer. Sure I always dabbled in it, that I didn’t chose, but I chose to take it to the next level. I love what I do, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

FT: When did you realise that you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always written stories, told stories, made things up, but I first decided that I wanted to be a full time writer about ten years ago in college. I’m getting published, so I’m closer to that goal, but I’m not full time yet.

FT: It is often said that if you can write a short story you can write anything. How true do you think this is and what have you written that either proves or disproves this POV?

I started writing novels before I ever managed to write a short story. In fact my short story series that is coming out is a serial short story series. That really means that it is going to end up longer than some of the novels I’ve written. I don’t think it truly counts as a short. It’s like the difference between being a sprinter and a long distance runner in track. Sprints are short and they are over much more quickly. It doesn’t require as much staying power as the long distance stuff. To me short stories are quick bursts of creativity and the novels are kind of like the long distance races. I was a sprinter in track, but I’m in it for the long haul with the stories I write. I believe that people have their strengths and some people are just good at short stuff and some people are just good at the long stuff. A few lucky souls can do both. I’m actually not sure I’ve written anything that really proves or disproves the view since I really don’t write short stories and I do write novels. Maybe that’s the answer you are looking for.

FT: If someone were to enter a bookshop, how would you persuade them to try your novel over someone else's and how would you define it?

Horses, cowboys and wrangler butts… need I say more? LOL, well that’s for the short story series. It’s a paranormal young adult western about a New Jersey Teen who ends up out in Arizona and has quite a few adventures while she learns to adapt to desert life.

FT: How would you "sell" your book in 20 words or less?

Typical city girl who loves horses moves out to ghost town Arizona and has a bunch of wild west adventures.

FT: Who is a must have on your bookshelf and whose latest release will find you on the bookshops doorstep waiting for it to open?

Kristin Britian’s Blackveil is my latest must have. Horse centric epic fantasy for the win  I also got Wise Man’s Fear for my Kindle. I’m going to reread Name of the Wind first though.

FT: When you sit down and write do you know how the story will end or do you just let the pen take you? ie Do you develop character profiles and outlines for your novels before writing them or do you let your idea's develop as you write?

Outlining is a dirty dirty word. I hate outlines. Usually I know where the story is going to go, but I don’t always know how I’m going to get there. I’m a pantzer, though I do make “outlines” as I write so I can reference them to find out what chapter things happened in, instead of searching back through the entire novel.

FT: What do you do to relax and what have you read recently?

I shoot guns, ride my horse, read and play with my dog – not in that order. I just finished Blackveil by Kristin Britian and Meant to be by Tiffany King.

FT: What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?

Oh gosh… I’m pretty open with my pleasures and I don’t really feel guilt about them. Hmm, hard one to answer. I love pumpkins. (lots of people know that, but usually only if they know me in person). They are beautiful, cheerful, happy things that fill people with joy. Love them. (Ignore Sleepy Hallow pumpkins please)

FT: Lots of writers tend to have pets. What do you have and what are their key traits (and do they appear in your novel in certain character attributes?)

OMG I could go on forever about my critters. They are my family. I’ll try and keep this short. Tux is my male black and white cat, he’s the evil genius sort. Solstice my calico is his brainless sidekick and Sophie my tabby is the mighty hunter who often upsets the evil plans. My cats haven’t yet featured in my stories. Sabaska is my horse, she’s a mighty adventurer and my main equine character in Arabian Dreams is directly and unashamedly based off of and named after her. Kira, my border collie puppy, is – well she’s a border collie. She does everything. Doc, my vampire hunting dog, is based partially on her.

FT: Which character within your latest book was the most fun to write and why?

Cowboy Pecos Rowe is my favorite in my short story series. He’s just everything a cowboy should be, a little rough around the edges but very charming, good in a fight, and level headed – even when faced with a New Jersey teen.

FT: How similar to your principle protagonist are you?

I can’t say that I don’t draw bits and pieces of myself into my work, but really I don’t try to write myself into my stories. I draw from lots of people I’ve known to create my characters. If I were going to be one of my characters I’d want to be Anna from Arabian Dreams, but I already have her horse, so I don’t need to be.

FT: What hobbies do you have and how do they influence your work?

I shoot, I ride horses, I sometimes paint or craft, hiking, camping, outdoors stuff. I have a lot of horses in most of my stories. I love horses and it shows in my writing.

FT: Where do you get your idea's from?

Hahahaha… em… story land. They come to me from the eather and I channel them onto the screen. Or well, I don’t know to be exact.

FT: Do you ever encounter writers block and if so how do you overcome it?

Writers block is crap. It doesn’t exist, it’s an excuse for the inability to write. The inability to write stems from things other than this mysterious blockage. Yeah, I’ve had times where I couldn’t write, and usually it stems from fear. I either walk away, play with a different project for a time while my subconscious works on the problem, or I just force myself to get through my inability to write. I haven’t failed yet.

FT: Certain authors are renowned for writing at what many would call uncivilised times. When do you write and how do the others in your household feel about it?

My border collie doesn’t like it when I’m writing, because then I’m not playing with her. The cats love it cause then they can sit on my lap. My boyfriend is awesome and doesn’t argue with writing time. I write whenever I can, though I’ve actually managed to tailor my work schedule around my writing. I work nights, that way I can use my mind when it is the freshest for writing and then go about the rest of my day. I am not a morning person, though I’ve gotten up at 5am for months at a time to finish a novel before I was working nights. It sucked, but that novel is getting published so it was worth it.

FT: Sometimes pieces of music seem to influence certain scenes within novels, do you have a soundtrack for your tale or is it a case of writing in silence with perhaps the odd musical break in-between scenes?

I don’t do soundtracks. I put my mp3 player on shuffle and go to it. Music is just background noise for me. If I really need a kick to get writing I put in one of my character’s theme songs Earshot’s Get Away. That usually does the trick.

FT: What misconceptions, if any, did you have about the writing and publishing field when you were first getting started?

Em, well, I’m sure I had misconceptions but it has been a long time since I started researching the field and I think I’m pretty on top of things at the moment. Of course I say that, and then things will change. I guess the biggest thing I can think of was the “get an agent then get a publisher” model. It doesn’t always work that way anymore.

FT: If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?

Writing is the food of the subconscious and the soul. I have a great relationship with my subconscious as long as I keep feeding it stories. If I stop then it keeps me awake at night. My soul withers and I feel dead when I’m not writing.

FT: What can you tell us about the next novel?

Well, I have two coming out this summer, Senior Year Bites a young adult urban fantasy and Arabian Dreams, a young adult fantasy. Arabian Dreams is about a girl who travels to other worlds on horseback and has adventures. Senior Year Bites is about a girl who gets turned into a vampire her senior year of highschool – and then people start dying and she isn’t doing the killing.

FT: What are the last five internet sites that you've visited?

Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal,,

FT: Did you ever take any writing classes or specific instructions to learn the craft? If so please let us know which ones.

Hahahaha…. I started to take a creative writing class… it was horrible… I dropped it because the teacher got up in class and insulted me. She didn’t like genre fiction. No, I’ve never taken an official writing class, just read lots of blogs, given and received lots of critiques, and had a ton of helpful friends along the way.

FT: How did you get past the initial barriers of criticism and rejection?

I knew it was coming. Stephen King’s On Writing really helped with that. Carrie got rejected a ton of times before he made it big. I figured if he could do it then so could I. I just “expected” rejection, didn’t get my hopes up and kept sending out queries. It got frustrating and hard to continue, but I did it.

FT: In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of writing for a living?

The best is that you get to set your own hours, you get to work from anywhere, and you get to do what you love all the time. The worst is the uncertainty and unpredictability that goes with the field.

Thanks so much for having me here!

For more information on Julie please visit:
Julie's Website
Where to purchase Range Feud


Angela Addams said...

Great interview! I, too, don't put a lot of credit in writer's block - as in my muse isn't speaking to me but rather, I'm too lazy to get to

Wogc said...

awesome interview :)

I kind of agree on the writer's block too.

My muse is "bugging me" with lots of ideas but unfortunately I miss time to write. Damned work :p