30 July 2013
Interview with author Julie Hutchings
Today I'm excited to bring you an interview with author Julie Hutchings, whose first book, Running Home, a vampire romance, is coming out in just two days (Aug. 1) with Books of the Dead Press. *cue the noisemakers and confetti*
I met Julie via Twitter, where she quickly introduced me to other writers (including her partner-in-crime and the other half of the Undead Duo, Kristen Strassel), invited me to participate in one of the themed fiction events on the Undead Duo's blog, deadlyeverafter.com, and generally made me feel a welcome part of a community of writers. And so it is with great pleasure that I get to participate in the pre-release festivities for her book and give a little back to this amazing, talented person who gives others so much.
Ladies and gentlemen, the interview.
What do you write?
Urban fantasy and horror.
How do you find time to write with two rambunctious little boys running amok and a household to run?
I get up at 5 in the morning! And I don’t have that luxury of “now it’s time to write” to sit in my little hidey hole with my tea and such. I write in bits and pieces all day sometimes, if that 5am to 7am quiet window is too short. I write at Kristen Strassel’s house a couple of nights a week. But aside from that, I tell my boys what I’m doing, and try to involve them as much as I can. The 6 year old has his own notebook, and he writes, too, and draws pictures of me at my laptop! I have cut out time for them, and time when I tell them I need to concentrate, and we try to respect each other. But they’re 6 and 3, so…..
What are your goals as a writer?
I just want books on a bookshelf! I want you to find me at a store. And I want my boys to be able to say “that’s my mom’s book!” when we walk through said store.
You're all over my Twitter feed. You're connected to a lot of the other writers I know on Twitter, and you and Kirsten Strassel create and participate in communities of writers. Why is this important to you? How has connecting with other writers via social media helped you in your writing career?
My writing career is blossoming the way it is because of Twitter. The writers on there that I talk to keep me motivated all day long, always doing writing sprints and encouraging me. We have met so many amazing writers, and had many of them do flash fiction pieces for www.deadlyeverafter.com, and I feel beyond good to help give a leg up to these writers, to support them like they do me. It’s amazing when you admire someone’s work, and they rave about yours. It makes me keep pushing the envelope. Not to mention, I found Books of the Dead Press on Twitter, so there’s that.
Tell us a little bit about Running Home--where you got the idea for it, how long it took you to write it, etc.
Running Home was born when I was on maternity leave with my first son, 6 years ago! I read Twilight in that sleep deprived haze, and no, I was not one of those who said, “I can do better.” Like millions of people, I fell in love with it, and wanted to create that same feeling of having this extraordinary life inside of an ordinary one, but for grownups. I also watched Iron Man, and my love of Robert Downey Jr. is even deeper than my love of Iron Man comics, so that was magical for me. I watched The Departed about 77 times those few weeks, too, and I wanted a character like Leo DiCaprio’s, so complex and brooding. My emotional capacity changed so much with my first baby, and it poured out into this book in a lot of different ways. It’s a diary of mine of sorts.
Tell us a bit about your current work(s) in progress.
Sure! I just finished The Harpy (this is a working title) about a damaged spitfire of a young woman who transforms into a vengeful, supposedly mythical creature at night and does some really questionable things. I have a couple of people reading The Animal for me right now (also a working title), about a Boston banker with OCD and a tortured past who is possessed by a desecrated Egyptian fertility god. I will be digging my heels into the finished first draft of the sequel to Running Home by mid August, also, and I’m really excited for that.
Where have you been published?
I just had a short story, "Irreplaceable," published with Elephant Press in their anthology called Summer’s Edge, and I’ve been published with Opening Line Literary Magazine.
How did you find your publisher for Running Home? Did you go through a query process?
I queried and went to conferences and had my pitch ripped to pieces and queried some more. I had written a flash fiction piece for James Roy Daley’s blog, and his small press, Books of the Dead Press, was having one of their rare open submission periods. He knew I had a novel I was querying, asked me to send it to him, and he wanted to get behind it right away! I was ecstatic. Still am.
What has the process been like since signing with Books of the Dead Press? What changes have they asked you to make to your book since signing you? What kinds of support do they offer you (e.g. editing, marketing, distribution), and what do they expect you to do on your own?
I had to make absolutely zero content changes to Running Home, which was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life, possibly. All the publishing with none of the bad side effects! What I really like about being published with Books of the Dead is that it is a total team, a real family over there. The other authors I’m being published with are so happy to read each other’s works, do blog spots for each other, hand out each other’s swag, do reviews, and just support each other through emails and tweets….it’s something I never expected. A really close friend of mine, JC Michael is one of the handful of authors being published this summer through BOTD, too, so it’s been great to be able to support each other and do this together. John F.D. Taff is another friend who put some work up on Deadly Ever After, so it’s very cool to have him on the team, too. Roy did a great job of getting us all to communicate, and we’re lucky enough to get along really well. So most of the publicity BOTD supports is through its authors.
What advice do you have for authors who are looking for their first agent or publisher?
Plan for rejection. Know that your first queries are going to get rejected, and try to glean some knowledge from it. Don’t give up too fast, and don’t take every bit of advice you get. Trust yourself and your work. Sometimes the delivery may not be exactly what publishers and agents are looking for, but a good book is always what they are looking for.
What else would you like to say to aspiring writers?
Write the book you have to write and don’t worry about who’s going to buy it, or which agent will like it, or how much like some other book it is or isn’t. Write the best book you know how to. A book full of heart and real effort is a good book and will find a home. Also, pay a lot of attention to Chuck Wendig. He knows everything.