Interview with Julie Howard, Author of Wild Crime
10 Dec 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, Wild Crime?
This is part of a series about a young abused woman who is accused of killing her husband. In Wild Crime, she discovers a letter that changes everything she’s believed about her mother. The main character has to uncover secrets of the past in order to understand who she is, and to find her own future. While this is part of a series, the book can be read as a stand-alone.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I’ll be forever grateful to my parents for having books and magazines everywhere in our house when I was growing up. They were both teachers and there were bookshelves in nearly every room, stocked with everything from Dr. Seuss to works from the literary masters to a full set of encyclopedias. I loved fiction and the magic of being transported to other places and times. By the time I was 7, I was already crafting my own stories and have never stopped.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
I love a great story but also when told in an excellent way, teaches me something, and in a manner that surprises me. Here’s my top five:
The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Stand by Stephen King
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I’d love to interview David Mitchell, who wrote Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks along with several other intriguing books. Of course, I’d want to ask the question authors hate: Where do you get your ideas? Beyond that, however, I’d want to know what central themes are his favorites and his writing process. I’d want to ask him everything you’ve asked me in this interview.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love reading and losing myself in a story. Writing is almost the same way, in that I lose myself in a story I create. I choose the people, places and plot – if I do it right, the characters take over and very nearly write the story themselves. When that happens, I know I’ve written something worth sending to my editor.
What is a typical day like for you?
I write every day, and work best in the morning. I have my morning coffee and write until about noon. Then I break for a couple of hours. This is dangerous because distractions quickly creep in and, before I realize it, the day is over.
To help myself stay on task during the week, I started a group called Shut Up & Write in Boise, Idaho where I live. This is part of an international organization of writers who get together in various communities and write in group sessions. The accountability of working alongside other writers keeps me from straying to other projects. I also love meeting other writers and learning about what they are doing.
What scene in Wild Crime was your favorite to write?
There’s a scene when, for the first time, Meredith confronts a man she believes is her father. She’s never met him and her late mother warned her that he was a terrible person. I love this moment when Meredith both yearns for this connection to a father, but also hates him for abandoning both her and her mother. This seemed like such a human conflict, having competing emotions, and the scene was fun to write. I must have rewritten it twenty times.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I’m incredibly grateful for the life I have. Certainly, there have been times of struggles and pain. But I live in a wealthy country with a stable government. My children have grown up healthy and into wonderful adult people I’m proud of. I’m able to spend my time doing what I love, which is writing. Everything else pales in comparison. If I have a bad day or week or month, I remind myself of all I have. Gratitude is invigorating.
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