Sunday, 2 April 2017

Fab Firsts - Q&A with Julie Gardner

Fab Firsts is my new regular Sunday feature, that is going to be highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives. When reviewing books for this feature, there will be a mix of debuts, first books in a series, the first time I read an author, and possibly other firsts depending on what I can think of!

If you are an author wanting to take part in Fab Firsts then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you.

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts, while making some sort of dent in my review and paperback TBRs which are my current main focus!

1)    Can you tell us a bit about your first book? 

My debut novel, Letters for Scarlet, is about two estranged best friends who receive letters they wrote to themselves a decade before. Both are facing new conflicts in their lives, and these letters bring them back to a shared tragedy in their pasts. It's a story of loss and love, betrayal and redemption. 

2)    What was your original inspiration to become a writer, and to write your debut? 

When I was ten years old, I wanted to be Judy Blume. I didn't just love to read; I wanted to be the author writing books other people loved. As a high school English teacher, I tried to teach my students to follow their dreams. 16 years into my career, I decided it was time to follow mine. 

3)    How long did it take you to write your first book? 

Letters for Scarlet took several years to write because I was working on a couple of different manuscripts at the same time. I was so excited, I wanted to write all the books!

4)    If you could do anything differently in retrospect, what would you change about your debut, or how you went about writing it?

I don't think I would change anything. I learned so much in the process of writing Letters for Scarlet. It's been a lifelong dream come true. 

5)    Was your first book self or traditionally published, and how did you go about making that decision? 

My first book was published by Velvet Morning Press. I'm not opposed to self publishing, but I didn't know much about marketing and promotion. I felt like I needed the support of a publisher working with me.  

6)    Do you have any tips for other first time authors? 

First-time authors should read a lot in their chosen genre, cultivate relationships with other writers for support (I participate in both an online and local writing group), and be prepared to work very hard. Anyone can write, but writing well takes a lot of heart and practice. 

Tell us about your first…

7)    Book you bought: Nancy Drew's Secret of the Old Clock. (I read the entire series.) 

8)    Memory: Getting lost during an Easter egg hunt on my grandparents' property. 

9)    Person you fell in love with: I had 'serious' crushes dating back to kindergarten, but I met my husband when I was 25. I'll leave it at that.

10)  Holiday you went on: Probably camping with my parents and sister. 

11)  Prize you won: I won the album Zenatta Mondatta by The Police in a radio contest. It was thrilling. 

12)  Album you purchased: Journey's Escape

13)  Sport you enjoyed participating in: I didn't like sports at all when I was a kid. As an adult, I became a runner and finally loved being an athlete. I've run four half-marathons since then and three full marathons. 

14)  Embarrassing moment you can remember: I was at a family party changing clothes after swimming, and I ran out of the room to find my mother while I was wearing only my underwear.  

15)  Pet: Pumpkin the cat and Migas the dog. They were awesome. 

16)  Time you were in trouble: I honestly can't remember. I made a lot of mistakes, but my parents never grounded me. (Lucky me!)

17)  ..choice of alternative career if you weren’t an author: English teacher. Or rockstar. Ha!

18)  …time you had any independence: I was allowed to walk to school, to my friends' houses and to local stores at a pretty young age. It was a safe neighborhood and a different time. Growing up in the 1970s/1980s was wonderful. 

19)  …toy that you recall loving: My favorite toy was a doll called Baby Dreams. I loved her so much. 

20)  … time you felt like an adult: I'm still waiting. 

21)  … time you realised you were good at something: I got attention from a young age for my singing and drawing. Writing came later. 

22)  ...Dish you cooked: Hmmm. Probably spaghetti. 

23) … time you were really scared: I had a terrible fear of vampires with I was little. I used to sleep with all the blankets pulled up to my neck. 

24) ..time you bought or received flowers: I'm sure I gave or received flowers before this; but my favorite time was when my boyfriend sent roses to the school where I was teaching for my 26th birthday. I married him a year later. 

About Julie

Julie C. Gardner is a former English teacher and lapsed marathon runner who traded in the classroom for a writing nook. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and three dogs. Her debut novel Letters for Scarlet, and its prequel Guest List, were published by Velvet Morning Press in 2016. To keep up to date on her current projects (and sometimes her dogs), follow her on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram. You can also visit her website and subscribe to her blog. Subscribe to her newsletter and you'll receive a free sample of her memoir, Running with Pencils

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for letting me be a part of your Fab Firsts, Rachel! This was a lot of fun!


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