Julie Elizabeth Powell is a Indie author of eighteen volumes in various genres. She won the Essex Fresh Talent Competition for the beginning of The Star Realm in 2009. Although she enjoys creating handcrafted cards, jewelry, scrap-booking, painting, drawing, and 3D art, writing is her true passion.
Interview with Julie Elizabeth Powell author of Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity. 06/11/2015
What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series
The idea for Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity Missive One came in a dream – well, actually the character’s name, Henry Ian Darling, and I knew he would be an interesting and intriguing character. He collects ‘oddities’ that will lead him to either something spectacular or something terrible. Henry died of a heart attack but was brought back so that now he sees life differently – in a variety of ways.
Henry has two close companions, his wife, Clara and Brett – and you’ll have to read the story to find out more about them and why they are so important. There are other characters…and as the story grows, even more will appear.
I intend it to be a series, and depending on how each ‘missive’ goes, will decide its length.
It will be a fantasy, paranormal series, written in the first person /diary style, from Henry’s point of view.
Missive One has been available since January 1st 2015 and I am currently writing missive two – maybe by the time this interview is ‘live’, I may have written more.
I am definitely a ‘pantser’, as I never know where my stories will go. The ideas often come in dreams, but inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes there is a loose plan, but I find the characters can lead me to the unexpected. I only research ‘facts’ if necessary, but I prefer fantasy, as I can break all the rules and make it up as I go. Although I have written in a variety of genres, because I like to challenge my work and I’d become bored with the same old thing. I do not follow formulas or fashion and only write what I think is important or about something my imagination dictates or an ‘urge’ makes me do it! ☺
Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?
Just write! I only research ‘facts’ if necessary, depending upon the subject. For example, for one of my stories I needed to understand how an assassin works…guns, murder methods, clothing, cars etc. It’s fun finding out all sorts of things. Although, I wonder if the ‘cyber police’ question what I’m doing at times – no knocks at the door yet!
This not an easy question to answer, in that I write as much as I can, but I don’t get paid for it. If I could sell enough books, my life would change because I would live somewhere warm and dry so to help my husband’s disability. I am a full time carer. The time for writing wouldn’t change.
I do prefer the control of the self-publishing route; however, marketing is impossible without money and the ‘hype’ machine. I’ve no idea what makes a writer successful in regard to making money.
I wonder if my books are too different, for I don’t write to a formula, and like to create stories that are different. I also write in a variety of genres, from fantasy to crime to humor to horror, to psychological to adventure, and for adults and children. I like to do this to challenge my writing and I’d become bored if I stuck to the same thing. Maybe another reason I can’t sell too many, as folks tend to follow authors for certain kinds of stories.
I write whenever I can, day, evening, night. I have no set times because it depends of what I have to do on any particular day.
Can you tell us about your publishing experience? Are you Indie, Traditional, or do a bit of both?
I did try the traditional route, before I found Lulu. I have approached every publisher and literary agent relevant to my kind of books, but none are interested. Most say they are not taking on any new clients as the market won’t take it. So unless, you are famous or interesting in any extreme way, being taken on is virtually impossible.
Finding Lulu when it was relatively new allowed me to publish my work in print. It’s easy to do and free, except at point of sale, of course. However, as the digital age has romped into importance, not many people buy print books, they are expensive compared to a digital copy. I do like a print book, although even I tend to read on my Kindle, as I’m a reviewer as well as an author, and the only time I have to read is at night when I’m supposed to be sleeping.
Now and again I will try the traditional route, but nothing has changed, and I think maybe my books are too different. I do like books (either to write or read) that make me and others think and I am extremely interested in the mind and how it works, and why people do the things they do. I don’t write for fashion, fads, trends or traditional thinking. I’m extremely glad of the digital and self-published chances.
I will say that although I have no money, my books are as professionally finished as possible. I also design all my own covers.
Everyone likes to know where an author gets their ideas from, but what I want to know is what is the strangest thing to inspire one of your stories?
That’s easy – everywhere and everything. Dreams too are a constant source of inspiration. Sometimes a name or a place or an idea can spark a story.
My first book, Gone, was inspired by what happened to my daughter, who died twice; once when she was two, causing severe brain damage, twice when she died seventeen years later for the final time. During those waiting years I had a question: Where had my daughter gone? because who she had been had been wiped clean…no memories, no recognition – nothing. So I created a world and went in search of her – Gone is the result. It is a unique fantasy and explores and deals with many issues surrounding guilt, sorrow and loss, although it is not a depressing or dark read.
As to the strangest – maybe Weird is one. The name, Henry Ian Darling came in a dream and the rest flowed when I started to write. The idea behind Christmas Past (a short story) came in a dream too as did Three Into One. When these ideas come, I’ve no option but to write them – not if I want my brain to rest some, anyway.
Knowing Jack was inspired by the incredible intuition of my son and this turned into a mystery adventure for about 12+ (although I love stories that are meant for kids). It is an enjoyable read for adults too, in my opinion.
13, came from a pack of cards – yes, strange and it turned into a horror.
Is it strange to dream stories? I don’t know; it’s natural to me.
Can you tell us about some of your other writing (fiction or nonfiction) and any appearances or signings that you have planned?
Here is some of my other work not mentioned above.
Slings & Arrows (non-fiction) – the true account of that waiting time and why Gone was written.
Of Sound Mind (fantasy) – deals with what or is not sanity.
The Avalon Trilogy (#1 The Star Realm #2 Invasion #3 Secrets Of The Ice) – an epic fantasy adventure.
Misadventures Of Fatwoman (humor) – explores the value of people and how they think about their bodies (how they value themselves).
Dirty Business (crime thriller) – a whodunit that will have you guessing until the end…I hope.
A Murderer’s Heart (murder mystery) – a more psychological mystery that looks into why people kill.
Lost Shadows (psychological thriller /fantasy) – tackles issues of memory.
Figments, Expressions – collections of contemporary shorts and poems.
I have no appearances or signing planned. I have tried one at a library, but it rained so not many turned up. I’ve been on the radio and been featured on blogs but sales are not good. Maybe it’s because I’m too different? I write for me and what’s important, and as I’ve said, I don’t follow formulas or stick to rules and I like to experiment and challenge my writing, so maybe will never be ‘popular’.
As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?
Just to write! Take no notice of anyone or anything but what is important to you. Yes, it’s good to hone your craft and be as professional as you can, but in the end it’s what you feel is right that must lead you. But this is only my opinion. Many authors decide to write for what is fashionable in the hope of making money. But, for me, I think of it as art, so therefore cannot comprise.
Try sitting at your computer (or however you write) and see where it takes you, don’t think about anything but writing and the story – you will be surprised. However, if you are writing anything historical or factual, please make sure your facts are correct. I usually just write, but there are times when certain things need to be verified. I think that’s why I prefer fantasy because I can just make it up! Facts though are important.
I hate editing, but it’s important to be as professional as you can. Typos are the work of gremlins and will constantly appear – usually at the most embarrassing point! Nevertheless, I have never read a book without mistakes; even the ones with expensive eyes. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to try.
Whatever you decide, enjoy it and be true to yourself.
My favorite author is Dean Koontz because he stretches the imagination and allows mystery to take the reader into unknown territories. I love the dialogue and the sense of humor and justice. My favorite character of his is Odd Thomas – a marvelous young man of great integrity and gifts and wonder. I’ve just finished reading the last in the series and, while sad to see it finish, thought it an excellent end.
My main pool of reading though comes from self-published books, the reason being that they are different (mostly). Traditional publishers won’t use these authors because they are too risky and different. For me that makes them worth reading. I also review, as I understand the struggle of independent authors and am delighted (for the most part) in what I read.