Here’s a real treat, once a week I’m going to try to get guest writers in to talk to you all. Nothing super formal but hopefully lots of fun! And my very first guest here it my RWAC friend, Julia Phillips Smith! Her book, Saint Sanguinus is a top notch read!
A little bit about Julia, from Julia:
Like many people in the arts, my jobs have run the gamut – from box office for cinema and The National Ballet of Canada, to front-of-house staff for a big city performing arts centre. I’ve worked retail in an eight-story landmark flagship store, and in a small town dollar store. I’ve had the life-affirming adventure of being a live-in nanny, and the irreplaceable time spent providing elder care to my late Gram. I migrated into the 9-to-5 world of offices, morphing into records management for my Clark Kent job. All the while, I’ve been telling stories. I live with my husband, our dog and my mom on Canada’s east coast, where the rugged sea and misty forests feed my thirst for gothic tales.
Without further ado…the interview!
1. Who was your first author crush and why?
My first author crush—now that’s a tough one. I’d have to say Mary Stewart for her Merlin series. THE CRYSTAL CAVE was a life-changing book for me, one that led directly to my own debut Dark Ages vampire novel. What’s a few decades in between?
Her detailed author notes that told of her research into a time period still not as understood in 1970 as it has been with recent thermal imaging held me riveted, as much as the story itself. Her passion for authenticity in turn led me to my own lifelong love affair with that time period. The 2009 news story of the Staffordshire Hoard—a thrilling archeological discovery of Anglo-Saxon jewelry and weapons fittings—nearly sent me into paroxysms of joy.
2. What was your first clue you were a writer? Was it a long journey or a short one? Have you always known?
I was drawn to role play when I was kid, over things like skipping rope or playing red-light-green-light, or Monopoly or Lego. I did all those things, of course, but I was much happier when we were playing Little House on the Prairie (“Okay, you be Laura, you be Nellie and I’ll be Mary, and let’s pretend we’re walking home from school and Laura hurts herself and we have to go to Mrs. Olsen’s, but she won’t let us in cause we’re all dirty.”)
In retrospect I was always in the midst of a story. I also seriously went about writing my own Little House-esque novel, complete with Garth Williams-inspired illustrations. And I wrote poetry from a young age—for fun. Which I still do, today.
I suppose I realized that other people saw me as a writer when my grade nine English teacher asked me to write original short stories showcasing aspects like setting, plot, character, etc. instead of handing in the essays that the rest of the class were passing in.
3. What are some of your writer-esque quirks (do you have to be in your pjs? always facing the door? Do people look at you after something funny happens and say ‘that’s going in a book, isn’t it?’)?
My typical writer quirk is habitually staring off into la-la land the moment I’m not specifically engaged in conversation or intently focused on a task. I think this is a basic writer thing, and for me it’s rather pronounced.
I also prefer to write with my headphones on, listening to music. And when I say ‘prefer’ I mean I use the putting-on of the headphones as a ritualized signal that it’s time to start writing fiction.
4. Finish this joke: A clown, a priest and a writer all get onto an elevator…
Oh, man. I’m not a comedy writer. I write tragic historical horror/fantasy.
A clown, a priest and a writer all get onto an elevator. The clown asks for floor 13. The priest looks at the number panel, intending to press the button, only to realize there’s only floor 12 and floor 14.
He looks back toward the clown to explain, only to see that he’s alone with the writer. “Where did he go?” the priest asks.
But the writer continues to stare at the elevator doors, as though unaware of the priest’s existence. When the doors open and the writer exits, the priest tries to follow him, but an unseen hand pulls him back inside the elevator.
The doors close. The elevator begins to go down. Down. The numbers in the overhead display can’t keep up. The priest tries to pray, but the gloved hand of the clown presses firmly over his mouth.
5. Speed round: Without giving it too much thought, pick which one you favour over the other:
Chocolate or flowers – chocolate
Talk or Text – text
Mountains or Beach – beach
Cowboy or Marine – Marine
Wine or Beer – wine
Cats or Dogs –
dogs (just watched the Westminster Dog Show)
Ebooks or Paperbacks –
paperbacks (I know—don’t laugh)
Pantser or Plotter – pantser
Batman or Superman – Batman
Ability to fly or Power to be invisible – invisibility
Prius or Hemmie – Jaguar (Hey Julia, that’s not
on the list! ))
Follow the rules or Break the rules –
I’m more of a follow the rules person— until it gets to things like indie publishing or indie film
TV or Movies – movies
NY or LA – NY!
Vampires or Angels – vampires
Fall or Spring – fall (my favourite season)
Neat or Messy –
neat at work, kick things out of the way at home
Werewolf or Genie – genie
Tell jokes or Pull pranks – tell jokes
Home cooked meals or Go out to a restaurant –
pass me the menu, please
Thanks Julia, I hope you had as much fun as I did! If you’d like to learn more about Julia or her books, visit her site HERE.