Interview with Julie Bozza

What are your five favorite books, and why?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. An astonishingly well-crafted book about a young woman looking for a good solution to an impossible situation, and winning through almost despite herself. Elizabeth and Darcy's individual journeys are a very snug fit with two of my favourite tropes.

Possession by AS Byatt. A terrific pair of intertwining stories allow for the full gamut of triumph and tragedy. Absolutely gorgeous.

Cyteen by CJ Cherryh. An intriguing detailed look at personality, politics, morality, and who knows what beside. I find more to ponder every time I read this.

Amgalant by Bryn Hammond. She's my sister, I should say, but I'd love these books anyway. A vivid, funny and heartfelt tale of the life of Temujin, whom history knows as Genghis Khan, with a scope that effortlessly shifts from the intimate to the epic of the Steppe and beyond.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Another detailed wonderful epic. Are you sensing a pattern here? I first read this too early at 13, but then I came back to it a while later, and have re-read it countless times since. I have always been so very much in love with Aragorn, but for me Samwise is the real hero of this tale. Not a perfect book, I have concluded, but I love it unconditionally.
What do you read for pleasure?
I do love revisiting old favourites, though I don't often indulge myself thus. I mostly write male-male romance, and of course I very much enjoy reading in that genre, too. I love reading literary biographies - and, really, anything to do with the Romantics. Otherwise, I read quite widely, often non-fiction, depending on the necessary research for whatever I'm writing at the time, or merely on whim.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle Keyboard... I love having the physical keyboard available. Though I have to say I am starting to change my mind about the need for a backlit screen... I suspect my poor old eyes would actually be better off with one!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
It can sometimes be hard to tell exactly what has worked, and I suspect it often comes down to an accumulation of things. However, I think what works is a combination of word-of-mouth, reader reviews and professional reviews... It seems to me that word-of-mouth is the real key. So it's therefore up to me to try to write the kind of darned good books that get people talking about them and recommending them to their friends!
Describe your desk.
Oh! I have a laptop in front of me, with a second monitor beside it. I can't do without my second monitor these days! I also have a separate 'contour' keyboard which I find easiest to type with. To my left there are various reference books, starting with an Oxford dictionary and thesaurus, and then my diary (such as it is). To my right is a purple lava lamp - which I don't turn on very often, because I find it utterly mesmerising - and a box of tissues. On the wall above my desk are photos I've taken of some of my heroes, just to remind me when I need it that I can occasionally be both creative and blessed. They inspire me - or at least make me smile - whenever I glance up!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Wow. I spent my first seven formative years in England, then moved to Australia with my family. Then in 2004 I moved back to England with my Australian husband, whose name (of course) is Bruce. I like that I feel I belong to both countries, and I think living somewhere quite different for a while helps broaden the mind a little - which is obviously a good thing for a writer. It helps you realise that there are more variations than constants in life and in people.

One thing I have on my mind at the moment is that I very much liked Australia's multiculturalism. While that includes the obvious things such as a variety of people around you, and a variety of cultural goodies such as food and stories and so on, I also mean more subtly in terms of language. On television, for example, Australia not only has its own quality programming, but also looks both to the UK and the US for content, as well as elsewhere. The Aussie viewer has access to a whole range of shows, in ways that a British or American viewer doesn't. I like that.

However, what that means is my vocabulary has ended up being rather a jumble of Englishes, with not only Australianisms layered into my native English-English, but also spice added by a happy diet of Buffy, West Wing, and such. I still like that. But it sure creates work for my diligent editors at Manifold Press!
When did you first start writing?
Occasional stories from when I was about ten, though I was so very easily discouraged - by my own critiques! I didn't actually show them to anyone else. I started trying a bit more seriously when I was about 19 or 20, and then I started writing my first 'proper' work - the novel The Definitive Albert J Sterne - when I was 29. So I was rather a late bloomer!
What's the story behind your latest book?
Manifold Press are going to release the sequel to my novel Butterfly Hunter on 1 November, so I'll talk about that. It's called Of Dreams and Ceremonies. I envisaged the basic structure of the story while I was writing Butterfly Hunter, because to write that happy ending I had to look into Dave and Nicholas's future and decide how it would all work. I had to believe in it myself, if that makes sense. I offered Butterfly Hunter to the Press as a stand-alone novel, though, because it was something a little different for me, and I wasn't sure how it would be received. It was my first attempt to simply write a romance. For better or worse, it's been my best-received book (so far?), so it seemed clear that I should write the second and third parts of Dave and Nicholas's story rather than just day-dream about them for myself.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I write in an indie genre, basically! My first novels were written back before there was a male-male romance genre. The gay fiction genre was a bit wary of a writer like me, apparently a straight female, so that didn't seem to be an option. And so I tried to write mainstream books that just happened to have a gay romance in them rather than a straight one. I thought of the Albert novel as a 'gay Silence of the Lambs', for example. It's probably needless to say that while I did get a bit of interest, and even had an agent for a while, ultimately I wasn't successful.

For a while I let things be, but then next time I looked around, male-male romance had blossomed into being - and it's very much a genre that is built around small presses and self-publishing and ebooks. So here I am!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
While I can't claim that Smashwords has been responsible for a large proportion of my sales, I think its strength is that it provides ebooks across a wide range of formats and not only directly but also to a wide range of distributors. The options are reader-friendly, and that makes it a great way to make my work available!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Those moments in which the writing flows as if I'm simply channelling the Muse... that's when I'm at my very happiest. It takes me away from myself and the pettiness of day-to-day life. But then it also enables me to explore in thoughts and words the life that I have lived and learned from. If any of what results is of use to people who read it, whether for entertainment or for meaning, then that's humbling and wonderful. As a reader myself, books have brought me so very much. I don't presume that I can 'give back' or 'pay it forward' an equivalent amount, but it's my vocation to try.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that the coffee is out of reach from my bed. Indeed, it's in another room entirely. I obviously didn't plan that very well.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My parents, bless them, encouraged my sister and me in reading from the earliest age. So, no, I don't remember the very first one, as I suspect it was a very very long time ago!

There is a novel I read as a youngster that still haunts me, though, so I'll talk about that, if I may. I can't remember what it was or who the author was, but it had 'moon' in the title and the cover featured a moonlit sea with a rocky shore. It was set in Cornwall or somewhere like, and began with a shipwreck, and the nearby villagers coming down to the shore to help - and to plunder? I think there was one lone survivor. Anyway, it became a story about the survivor and the friend he makes on shore. Basically it's an older man who becomes a father figure for the younger, and is absolutely devoted to him, even ending up in a prison camp in order to protect him. And it ended tragically with another shipwreck.

It was all about the nobility and the futility of self-sacrifice for another, oblivious human being. The ships weren't the only thing that was wrecked. It just tore me apart, heart and soul. I never dared read it again, and I hardly dare look for it now, even though I am curious. I suppose that was a very formative early lesson in how a story can affect the reader!
Published 2013-09-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy [Boxed Set]
Series: The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy. Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 162,870. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Aussie tour guide Dave Taylor specialises in trips through the Queensland Outback - but Dave himself feels lost. Change comes via a rather unexpected client, Nicholas Goring, son of an English earl, who hires Dave to help in his hunt for an undiscovered species of butterfly. These two very different men become friends, and then more - before being forced to ask if they'll ever share common ground.
The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring
Series: The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 56,950. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Dave and Nicholas have been happily married for seven years now, but as an Australian prime minister once observed, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy.” A threat to their beloved waterhole forces Dave to try asserting unofficial custodianship of the Dreamtime site. A visit from Nicholas’s nephew Robin brings more drama. And there’s always the question of Nicholas’s health hanging over their heads.
Of Dreams and Ceremonies
Series: The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 46,100. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
It seemed like a great idea at the time... Aussie Dave Taylor followed Nicholas Goring to England, and they've become engaged. Now Dave has to cope with a mansion of family and servants, making wedding plans and visa applications, and wondering why on earth he’d want to wear a ‘mourning suit’. He’s not sure if it will prove any easier, but Dave would love to just skip ahead to the honeymoon...
Butterfly Hunter
Series: The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 57,880. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor has the task of escorting a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However, Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it seems the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas about survival in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn...
A Threefold Cord
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 58,650. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Grae and his co–stars Chris and Ben have a chemistry. Certainly they are friends and Grae is tempted to ask for more … After the beautiful tart Chris has the temerity to turn him down, Grae settles into a loving relationship with the chivalrous Ben. But the idea of Chris never quite goes away – and when Chris suggests the three of them spend a night together, Grae glimpses an unlikely solution.
The ‘True Love’ Solution
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 46,230. Language: English. Published: March 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Jules Madigan loves his family and his job, but yearns for a Happy Ever After. He indulges in buying an old typewriter once used by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge - but realises he’s been defrauded. As a result, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar - and with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth. Soon Jules is facing some harsh realities.
An English Heaven
Price: Free! Words: 1,530. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Horror » Ghost
(5.00 from 1 review)
A muddy trench in France during the Great War wasn't the most auspicious place for Tom and Michael to reach an understanding of their own natures. A small, individual tragedy unfolds ... But then Tom discovers a place beyond, where he and other men like him are blessed with all that life denied them.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 52,850. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
Joshua Delaney and Carmine Angelo Trezini, cop and mobster, should have absolutely nothing in common. Yet, accidentally brought together, they rapidly became both lovers and allies against organized crime boss Matthew Picano. Of course, taking down a man like that was never going to be easy – but Josh has no idea of the scale of the sacrifice he will eventually be called upon to make.
The Apothecary's Garden
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 71,480. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Hilary Kent, a Londoner all his life, retires to Wiltshire when he inherits a tower surrounded by an overgrown physic garden – and that’s when graduate student Tom Laurence erupts into his life, convinced they can restore the ancient garden to its former glory. Hilary is perfectly content until, to his astonishment and confusion, it seems Tom’s affection for him is growing into something more …
Like Leaves to a Tree
Series: The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy. Price: Free! Words: 3,910. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Dave has made the most perfect plans for his first Valentine’s Day with Nicholas … but of course that’s when Sod’s Law kicks in, and everything that can go wrong does go wrong.
The Fine Point of His Soul
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 54,180. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Alternative history
Death follows in Adrian Hart's wake, yet he is feted by the best of society in Rome, and boldly dubs himself 'Iago'. Determined to avenge the loss of his unrequited love, Lt Andrew Sullivan asks the advice of Keats, poet and Shakespearian. Soon they are joined by the Shelleys and Lord Byron. But they can't even agree whether Hart is a man, the Devil, or Dionysius - let alone what to do about him.