Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#AuthorInterview--> Author in the Spotlight- Julie Cross

Hey Friends,

I have with me today the bestselling author, Julie Cross whose new series "Letters to Nowhere" is creating a buzz in the book world.


Julie Cross is the International Bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest , Vortex , and the final installment, Timestorm . She's also the author of Letters to Nowhere , a mature young adult romance set in the world of elite gymnastics, as well as several forthcoming young adult and new adult novels with publishers like Entangled, Sourcebooks, HarperCollins, and St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books.

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She's a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics  Program Director with the YMCA. She's a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibility's, Julie Cross is a committed--but not talented--long distance runner,
creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict. You can find her online via twitter, her personal website, email, facebook, Goodreads, or co-moderating the YAwriters section of reddit.

Welcome to Njkinny's World of Books, Julie!
Lets start the interview. :)

Your idea of sending letters is a novel concept that you used in your book Letters to Nowhere . Tell us more about it.

In the novel, main character Karen Campbell writes letters that are never sent—to her parents, who have just died, and also to the people around her. Some letters are more funny:

Jordan,
Can you please not drink out of the milk carton? I know it’s your house but seriously, it’s so gross. Also, you have really nice abs. What kind of core conditioning are you doing?
Your bathroommate, Karen    

Or more sweet…

Dad,
I know you said a long time ago that teenage boys are not likely to have a clean thought in their head and I should stay far, far away from all of them, but what about Jordan? Sure, he’s a little bit of a playboy, but he’s not just that. Are all boys like him? Were you like him? So far, I’ve talked to Jordan more about stuff that actually matters than anyone else. What if he’s done the same with me? What does that mean?
It doesn’t matter. I know he’s not bad. Not perfect either, but not bad.
Love, Karen      
And many are very emotional…
Mom and Dad,
Did it hurt? Who was driving? If I had been in the car, would it have changed anything? Please don’t answer this. I don’t want a concrete reason to believe in ghosts.
Love, Karen         

Do you have a favorite character from Letters to Nowhere ? Why is he (or she) your favorite?

Karen, my main character, is my favorite to write mostly because I’ve wanted to write a book narrated from the point of view of an elite gymnast since my author journey first began. I absolutely love capturing that socially sheltered mindset and pairing it up with a level of maturity and discipline that most adults don’t have. That’s the essence of women’s elite gymnastics. Young girls carrying big loads of responsibility and self-awareness. They have it completely together, there’s always a plan for what’s next. With Karen, I gave her all of those qualities and then I pulled the rug out from under her by taking away her parents in a car accident before the book opens. Then: *Enter cute boy* whom she is forced to share a bathroom with. Who has a tragic past of his own. Who may be the only one that can help her heal.


Were you nervous when you decided to venture outside of your Sci-Fi series and write a contemporary novel? Did you have any reservations at first?

I wasn’t nervous to write the book, but I was super super nervous to tell people about it. Especially online to Tempest series fans. I honestly figured I’d finish the book so the characters would stop tormenting me inside my head, which I know it sounds a little schizophrenic, but it’s the truth and probably never publish it. And just hearing you say that it paid off means that it totally has. I’ve pleased at least one reader. Mission accomplished. Thanks so much for that J


Gymnastics is a huge part of this novel and your website says that you were a former gymnastics coach. How excited were you to combine your passions for writing and gymnastics into one project?

It was like Disney World, Universal Studios and a house right on the beach all packaged into one trip that didn’t even require packing or travel time. I enjoyed every phase of creating this story so much, I felt guilty calling it my job.

There are some pretty heartbreaking scenes in the book. Do you get extremely attached to your characters? If so, how do you feel when you have to write a scene that is going to be particularly hard on them?

Normally, I struggle with getting all the tension I need in a first draft because it becomes so difficult to put characters I love through all this emotional trauma. Often I have to step away from the story for a while and then I raise the stakes in the next draft. But with Letters to Nowhere, I had no problem shoving the characters into flaming fire after fire because I knew that in order for Karen (and also Jordan and Coach Bentley) to properly grieve and begin to heal, there was only one way to get past the fire—run straight through it. And the whole time I was writing this book, I knew Karen was a bomb waiting to go off. I knew she’d need to have that moment of realization about her future and what losing her parents really meant. And I wanted to get her there so I could see that she was okay.

What was the hardest part of writing Letters to Nowhere?

Nothing was really hard to write, but I worked the hardest at making the gymnastics element “user friendly” in the sense that I wanted this to be a book for the widest audience possible while still showing a true portrayal of the sport.

What was your favorite part?
                 
The evolution of “Jaren” hands down. The relationship between Karen and Jordan is built in a way that I hadn’t done before in novel. Not exactly. I rarely do the insta-love thing but what they have is so much deeper than romantic love. Not to spoil anything in the book or future books in this world, but I truly believe that Jordan and Karen will always have a tie that can’t be severed no matter where their paths lead them. They could never hate each other. Many people look back on their first love and the relationship and drama often seem silly. It won’t be like that for these two. Their relationship will always represent a hugely important part of their lives.

Excerpt from Letters to Nowhere:

January 18 
Mom and Dad,
We’re meeting with a lawyer today. Grandma’s not telling me what this means, but I’m not stupid. I’m seventeen. Still a minor. My house is in St. Louis with no adults to live in it. Grandma’s house is in New York and something big is going to have to change in my life. I like logic. I like lists of pros and cons, but I can’t decide if it’s right for me to shift into that mode or if I’m too distracted missing you to think clearly. The house already feels cold and dusty. I don’t want to stay here, but I don’t want to move to New York either. Grandma doesn’t even know me. We have no idea what to say to each other. Our conversations over the past week have all revolved around funeral arrangements, schedules and meetings, and gymnastics practice. She hasn’t asked me if I’m okay. I lost my parents and she hasn’t asked me a damn thing. But she lost her son and I haven’t asked her a damn thing either.
I think I’m stuck. I think we’re all stuck. How do I get over being grateful that I wasn’t in the car with you that night?
Love, Karen

I have definitely added this book to my list of buys..I hope you have too! :)

Thanks for talking to me, Julie..
Njkinny's World of Books wishes you the very best in all your future endeavors! :)

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