Describe “romance” in one word.
Tell me about the first story you remember writing.
There were a couple stories before this one, but this is the one I have at least some recollection of. Like all its predecessors, there were entirely too many characters and no semblance of a coherent plot. I vaguely remember that I included my sister as a tiny fairy on the shoulder of an elf prince, only to kill her off almost immediately as payback over an argument we’d had. Of course, she went out with a hero’s death, but the real heroes of the story were my pets, inserted into the story as the main character’s pets. They kept their names which didn’t fit in whatsoever (Snuggles and Tinkerbelle) and turned out to be the subjects of an ancient prophecy regarding magic and the never-ending struggle between good and evil. There were dragons, elves, and fairies as well as a magical war spanning hundreds of years. The son of the evil king was the first anti-hero I ever wrote and earned himself a tragic leading role in the sequel I never finished. For some reason, the main character showed up in Argentina and ended up with no fewer than thirteen magical pets. Go big or go home, right?
What is your favourite romance story?
I think my favourite thing about romance stories is that they don’t have to be all about the romance. My favourites tend to be about the way a romance can help two characters survive the real struggle at play in their shared story. For example, although maybe unconventional, Wall-E is one of my favourite romance stories. The chemistry between a pairing can also make or break a romance story for me, which is why Tangled will always be one of my favourites. I like to see people fit with each other.
How does a story begin?
With too many ideas to keep track of, all seemingly unrelated until you sit down with them and realize the network of tiny connections you can make. For me, the beginning is the best part.
Does being part of a writing collective affect the way you approach writing?
It certainly makes me think about how my writing jives with the others I’ll be associated with. I’m the kind of person who like to make small, often trivial connections in my writing, so when I’m working with a collective, I tend to put in little Easter Eggs when I’m aware of the other stories in the collection, so they can live together.
What’s your method for overcoming the challenges of being a writer, like writer’s block or imposter syndrome?
Writer’s block comes nowhere near the challenges of imposter syndrome for me. If I’m ever having trouble writing, I sit myself down with a pencil and paper and I work through it with writing exercises until I tap the well of creativity. On the other hand, there’s imposter syndrome. It gets in my head and builds its nest and refuses to leave – but only when I think of my writing in relation to my readers. I have to remind myself I’m not writing for anyone else but myself – it’s something I do because I genuinely enjoy playing with these made-up people and places – and most of the time, that at least throws a blanket over the nest. Out of sight, out of mind.
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life (writing, being a student)?
It helps that I’m no longer a student. Since I graduated university, the question has become more like how do I balance the rest of my life with writing. Answer: I kinda don’t. Since I’ve been working on the Anelisha Knight trilogy, that’s been my main occupation, and everything else comes second. A true shut-in writer.
In your opinion, what fictional couple should be together but isn’t?
Oh boy, this question sure calls to mind a long list, but at the top of it has to be – for me – Steve and Bucky in the MCU. I’m sorry to say I don’t read many Captain America comics but from what I’ve seen from their adapted movie counterparts, the love and lengths they go to for each other go above and beyond even a brotherly companionship. I gotta say, Peggy would’ve had a successful, fulfilling, and happy life even if Steve hadn’t gone back for her – she told him so herself in Winter Soldier.
How do you fit writing into your life right now?
It is my life, simple as that.
Tell me about a piece of writing you’re currently working on.
Earlier this year (2019), I came out with the first book in the Anelisha Knight trilogy, the Yarns of Gods. Now, I’m finishing up with book two in the trilogy and I have to say, writing it is like an addiction. The end of the first book changed the game for Anelisha Knight, and she needs to recuperate fast if she wants to survive the dangers ahead on the second step of her epic journey.
Are you a wine person or a cheese person?
Wine. Not only because I was lactose intolerant for a year and a half – can you believe stress can cause lactose intolerance? I didn’t even know I was stressed – but have you tasted the delicious nectar that is a sweet Riesling?
If you want to learn more about Julia, visit her at julialye.com!