"You did WHAT to Return of the Jedi?" Author Interview with Julie Bellon
When I read through Julie's short bio on her website, I had to read the first sentence three times before I really comprehended what it said. I always feel like I'm stealing time from someone when I write (that's me, laying on the guilt), so you'll see why I asked my first question right off the bat. Julie has some great advice for authors and future authors, and just wait 'til you read what she did to Return of the Jedi. Now I want to take some icecream over to her house and sit and chat because she's way cooler than anyone I'm currently hanging out with (ahem, sorry Dave, you just don't cut it anymore...*whispers* that's a joke). I really enjoyed reading through Julie's interview, and I hope you will too!
Thanks, Julie, for giving me the chance to do this!
Okay, number one question: How did you ever find time to write with eight kids running around?
LOL Well, I subscribe to the "small bits" way of writing. For example, when my baby is sleeping and my three year old is watching Barney, I have an entire half an hour to get to the computer and write down the scenes that have been percolating in my head all day. For me, a lot of my "writing work" takes place before I ever sit down to write. I see the scenes in my head, I'm thinking of dialogue when I'm doing carpool, I'm mulling over plot points while I'm cleaning the bathroom. Then, when I have some precious computer time I can just sit down and start typing everything that's been going through my head all day. I also have a very supportive family that is willing to tend babies for me when I'm on a deadline and have things that have to be done right away.
Tell us about your new book. Where did you get the idea? Why did you choose to run with this idea?
I got the idea when I read a newspaper article about the Malacca Strait and how a third of the world's goods and a half of the world's oil is required to travel through this tiny little strait. The U.S. had offered to help Malaysia and Indonesia patrol it after the Dewi Madrim incident (where al-Qaeda captured the ship, but didn't hurt anyone on it, just forced the captain to teach them to sail it) because of course, if anything happened in the strait to clog it up, the world's economy could be seriously crippled. So I got to thinking, what if something did happen there? And Ethan, who was introduced in my book Dangerous Connections, seemed like the perfect gray character to really carry off the story. And then I just started writing. Funny fact--because of all the research I had to do, I ended up watching a lot of documentaries and now most of my kids can tell you a lot of little details that not a lot of people know about cargo ships and the Malacca Strait. LOL
Out of all your books, who is your favorite character you've written? Why? What do you like about this character?
I think I like the character of Ethan in my newest novel. He's so deep and tortured by his emotions and wanting to do what's right, but feeling the guilt over his father's murder. I just love his layers and the kind of man he is--he's honorable, but that nobility is tempered with a bit of brashness and danger because of the secrets he keeps. I love that.
What is your number one writing tip/advice for authors and aspiring authors?
For aspiring authors, it would be to never give up. Keep learning the craft and keep improving your story. The saying goes, the only difference between a published author and an unpublished author is that one gave up. And I believe that. For current authors, it would be to write something every day. Even if it is only a page because a page a day would be a pretty good-size novel by the end of the year. Slow and steady wins the race, especially when you're a busy wife, mom, teacher, etc.
Do you have a favorite childhood memory or an event that steered you toward becoming a writer?
I was sitting in a theater watching the end of Return of the Jedi and I really hated the ending. I wanted the celebration to be the wedding of Han and Leia, so I went home and rewrote it to how I wanted it to be. I had known before that I loved witing and making up stories, but that was the day I felt like a real writer.
Thank you so much for the interview! That was a lot of fun.
I also run several contests, do book reviews, have writing tips, and offer critiques from a national editor on my blog http://www.ldswritermom.blogspot.com/
My new novel, Ribbon of Darkness, is in stores now!
You can buy it at:
Barnes and Noble (Nook)
Amazon (Kindle and paperback)
and at Seagull Book