Dark, strong coffee at 5:45 a.m., light cream. I like to be fully awake and at my writing desk by the time the sun rises.
Oh, your one of those morning people. Well I roll out of bed anywhere between seven and eight, even at camp. Which by the way have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp. If you’re not the camping type. Tell us about your favorite adventure or vacation. What made it special to you?
My favorite vacation (this sounds like a school essay) was a trip to the Cinque Terre region of Italy. There’s a narrow trail high above the sea that connects five villages that I hiked with my daughter several years ago. We stayed in one village, took a train to the farthest point in the trail and hiked back. The views were stunning (!) and it was so much fun saying hello to people from all over the world in different languages. No matter where people were from, everyone had a huge smile on their face.
Well then, ciao, oh and yI’el. (Who knows what language that is?) It sounds lovely. I would love to visit Italy one day. Problem is getting 2HOOTS across the pond. Tell us about your latest project and what’s on the horizon.
Spirit in Time, which released this week, is the third in my Spirited Quest mystery series. The main character is a ghost hunter, and in this book she is kidnapped back in time to 1872 by a mysterious spirit.
A ghost story with time travel! It sounds wonderful. Do you have a Life Motto?
If you get knocked down, get up and fight a little harder.
Yep, that’s a good one. We can’t let circumstances rule our life without kicking back. And your motto speaks to an author trait, perseverance, and lead to my next question. How long did it take you from conception to publication? How did you do it so quickly, or what circumstances drew the process out.
Each book takes about a year and half from conception to publication. The writing part takes a little under a year and the rest is editing and publishing details (that magic a publisher does behind the scenes). I write nearly every day, at least for an hour and often for several hours, so the chapters stack up quickly.
Julie, what does literary success look like to you? I love this question. It’s different for everyone.
This is such a difficult question because the answer changes over time. At first, my goal was simply to finish a manuscript I was proud of. Then, it was to get published, and next to see it read. Spirit in Time is my seventh novel, and the third in a series, and I get the most enjoyment when I see people read all the books in the series; this means, they like the characters and my writing. I feel I’ve done my job well.
Do you have any tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others. I’m also interested in how you have been managing your life and writing with COVID-19.
There’s a silver lining in most difficult situations and I suppose the upside to Covid is it keeps me focused on my writing. Covid, of course, is distracting but if I’m limited in many other things, like shopping or traveling or getting together with friends, then I may as well work on my next book. I’m always surprised how much I can get done if I take the first step, which is sitting down in front of my laptop.
Now the fun questions
Do you have a special object like a piece of jewelry or keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you? I have an azure blue Swarovski crystal pendant that is a lucky charm for me. I had it on when one of my books was accepted by my publisher and it continues to bring me good fortune.
What is your favorite T-shirt? It’s a T-shirt that says: Every Word Matters.
What’s your favorite candy, cookie, pasta? Oh, molten lava chocolate cake or mudslide cake. The key is the chocolate.
Favorite childhood book? Grimm’s Fairy Tales – the real one, where the stories are pretty dark. I checked this out from the library over and over again when I was a child. I loved that not all stories had happy endings.
Last movie you saw? The last movie I watched in the theater was the remake of The Lion King (loved it). The last movie I watched at home was Testament of Youth, a true story set during WWI.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be? A four-course meal inside a fine restaurant with friends. I haven’t been in a restaurant in nearly a year because of Covid. I’d dine slowly, enjoying some good wine along the way. I don’t really care what I eat – it’s the experience I crave.
Last thing you googled? Why?
I looked up how to train a race horse for my work-in-progress. This next book, The Three Widows of Wylder, is a historical fiction/women’s fiction story about three women who each are running from their past. Their stories collide and their lies are exposed. I hope to have this book completed in late spring.
Julie, thank you so much for being my guest at the fire. Before you go will you leave us a tease about about Spirit In Time and where we can find out more about you?
Time travel isn’t real. It can’t be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding.
Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler?
Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift.
But will time be her friend or foe?
A peek inside
“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity.
The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still.
The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight.
The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt.
“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?”
“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.”
Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes.
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3qaFAF5
More about Julie
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series, and Spirited Quest. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.
Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward