It’s an exciting day, y’all! Today on the blog I’m joined by Julie Reece, a talented YA author and friend of mine from way back when. Her debut novel, Crux, dropped from J. Taylor Publishing on July 9th, and trust me, you want to read it. Like, now. The blurb:
She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.
Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host, and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night.
In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league, Grey Mathews, wants to save her.
Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them, until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together.
Her heritage did.
Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.
Welcome to the blog, Julie, and a HUGE congrats on your book! Can you tell us a bit about your road to publication?
Hiya! Thanks so much for having me.
Truthfully, I never know how to answer this question. I think it’s because being published still seems like an unattainable dream, and the fact my book is out doesn’t feel real to me yet! J
The publication story is that I am blessed to have a group of writing friends, and I follow(ed) them around like a needy puppy ( I have no pride. I freely admit this) I watched what they did and took their advice. Some had success with a new publishing company (J Taylor) and encouraged me to submit my novel there. I did and was fortunate enough to get an email saying they loved it and agreed to accept the work for publication. Happy day!
Who do you think Crux will appeal to?
Good question, and a hard one. There’s a ton of action, so adrenaline junkies might like it. The story has a little bit of a lot of elements: history, romance, suspense, mystery, violence (kitchen sink) *kidding* and some humor. I’m hoping that will appeal to a lot of different types of readers, maybe even a few guys. The story is on the short side at 285-ish pages, so even people who aren’t big readers won’t be put off the way they might for a mammoth volume. It’s a quirky little novel. Wait … what does that say about me? We better move on …
The premise of Crux is so unique—which is hella refreshing, by the way! Can you tell us what your inspiration was for writing Birdie?
Thanks! I read YA with my teenage daughters. We’re always swapping books around and discussing what we liked or didn’t like about the plot lines. The more we talked, the more ideas I got. I told my youngest who encouraged me to write a story for her to read. What the heck, right? Wrong. It sucked. Blew chunks, actually, but I kept at it. Then, one night, I had a funky dream, inspired by our work with the homeless in downtown Atlanta. That produced my third attempt at writing a book, and this one felt, I don’t know, different. My daughter shared it with her friends and they kept asking for more. Finally, I thought I’d written something that wasn’t half bad. I (we) really wanted my book to be different, the book we couldn’t find. I believe it is, and that was the goal.
What advice would you give to aspiring YA novelists?
Don’t query until you’re ready. I did this, so don’t be like me! LOL Most of us (Oops. I guess I’m speaking for you, too, unknown writer. Forgive me if you’re way smarter than I was and this is NOT you) get excited and want to share our story sooner than we ought. Oh sure, there are a few people out there who strike gold with their first story. Got nuthin’ but love for them, too. But that was not me and it’s not most of us. It’s important to hone your craft. Find critique partners, beg some people who are not family members to beta read and shred your manuscript for you. Listen when people tell you something is rotten in Denmark. If several folks tell you the end of your story is rushed, or your heroine is unlikable, or your plot drags … guess what? It’s not them, it’s you. Embrace the suck and rewrite. Your pride will suffer less in the end when the reviews start rolling in, I promise!
Can you tell us what’s next from Julie Reece?
Sure! I am editing a finished historical paranormal romance right now. This one has a lot more romance than Crux but as much adventure and action. I’m planning this book as the first in a series. (My first attempt at an ongoing storyline) I also have two half-written urban fantasies going and an idea for a contemporary romance in my head. All YA. Phew!