Interview with Julia Rose Grey

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It brightens my day when readers tell me they liked my characters. My joy comes from sparking the reader's imagination and letting them get to know my characters as well as I do.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the people with whom I share a connection. They are friends, only different, people I may never meet but with whom I have a bond.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. This experience influences my writing because I keep going back to small towns, extended families living in the same town (or at least near by), and lots of interconnections among people. With that base, I can create characters and situations that I find help me with getting the story onto paper.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
As many other young girls of my generation, I read -- and loved -- Nancy Drew books. These weren't the first stories I ever read but these stories were the ones I came to cherish the most and the ones which had the most impact on me. I tried to emulate Nancy: to ask questions, to discard my fear, and discover new things.
Who are your favorite authors?
Of the classics, I like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Harper Lee, and Victor Hugo (and probably others that I can't think of right now). Of contemporary authors, Janet Fitch and Stephen King (his non-gore works such as 11/22/63), and a handful of others. I read a range of authors, so the list of favorites is very long. these two authors are at the top of my list that is forever growing.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Pride and Prejudice because of the wonderful way Jane Austen relates a story; Winter's Tale because of Mark Halperin's lyrical language; Les Miserables because of Victor Hugo's extraordinary characters (who swirled in my head for months after finishing the book); To Kill a Mockingbird because of Harper Lee's simplicity in telling a compelling story; and 11/22/63 because of Stephen King's remarkable writing and story-telling skills.
What are you working on next?
I'm always working on a short story, but in addition to that, I am writing another novel, currently titled They Ran Out of Rhyme. It takes place in the summer of 1957.
What is your writing process?
This is an interesting question because every writer has a process and it's important to develop your own way of producing work. My process is not straight-forward. I get an idea for a story, draft a general informal outline, and then write scenes to fill in. That's my working draft. From there, I develop my characters, embellish scenes, and may rearrange sections.
Describe your desk
My office is a small 10' by 12' feet room at the back of our house. I have a desk a table for the printer, and two bookcases filled with reference books and storage boxes filled to the brim with newspaper clippings, photographs, and other such writing prompt items. I also have a radio, so I can listen to music from the local classical station WRTI, and, of course, a PC so I can stream music when there's nothing appealing on the radio. My desk faces the double window that looks out over the lawn and the equestrian trail surrounding our development and I can rest my eyes while watching riders on their horses as they pass by, or children playing soccer. I intentionally made this space as cozy as it could be to suit my personality.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There is always something to look forward to each day. I try to keep my life filled with things I love to do and wonderful people with whom to do them. If there's nothing going on, I give myself the gift of setting aside time to do something I want to do.
How do you approach cover design?
I get a mental image and relay this image to my designer, April Durham of Durham eBooks and Editing. She also likes to read my inside-flap description and, from there, she proposes a great deal of draft covers from which we can discuss, hem and haw, sleep on it, and then select the final design. I try to let April lead because she is so gifted in design and is able to take my acorn of an idea and create an oak tree.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I don't have hobbies, I have passions. I read a great deal and, of course, belong to a local literary book club at the independent bookstore near me. I teach workshops on letter-writing and reading appreciation (how to get more out of what you read). I also have a writing exercises group called the Scribblers in which each of us provides a prompt and we write and then share our thoughts. I review books on writing for the local independent bookstore and, when I need to calm down, I walk, do yoga, hook woolen rugs.
What do you read for pleasure?
A wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including historical fiction, literary fiction, memoir, and history. (The book club helps me with the range because I read books that I may not choose on my own.)
What's the story behind your latest book?
I try not to identify how I get my ideas, but rather, I just start writing and let the story unfold. I find that, the more I let my unconscious rule without bounds, my stories and characters are more vivid.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always wanted to write novels and now I have the chance. Wasting an opportunity would be a shame.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords allows me to reach readers with various eBook formats and this opportunity is golden to an indie author.
Published 2014-03-27.
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