Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Hosted by Stuck in YA Books
Not too long ago I blogged about Julie Duck's A PLACE IN THIS LIFE. These were my thoughts on her book.

Natalie is torn between two boys. Alex is handsome, sweet, and—as she finds out later—rich. Todd is a bad boy who has leukemia. Natalie, who is rather innocent and has never been in a relationship before, has these two boys vying for her attention. She makes her choice, even though heartache is inevitable. This book fully captures the teenage experience. I was inside Natalie’s head as she underwent a tumultuous year of love, and I felt all her highs and lows.

I've been a long-time follower of Julie on Twitter as well as on her blog, so I was thrilled when her book came out in the fall. She's one of those online souls who makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Recently I had a chance to interview her for her blog tour.

A PLACE IN THIS LIFE is an emotional read. As far as feelings are concerned, was it easy or hard to write?

It was hard because the beginning was based on real events - this was a living, breathing person and he gave me my first kiss. He also scared me because of all he knew... and was going through. When I discovered halfway through writing the book that he had died roughly a year after we'd met, I cried and stopped writing for a few days. It was surreal.

I'm sorry to hear that. It does sound surreal. What kind of research did you have to do to make his condition and treatment believable in book form?

Several of my family members had gone through chemo, and because I knew Todd personally, I went through a round with him and saw what it did. Later, when I got into medical copywriting, I researched oncology and disease (I really enjoy knowing about medical stuff - it makes me a better writer). When I was writing about chemotherapeutic drugs for A PLACE IN THIS LIFE, I joined Planet Cancer and visited the forums for young adults with cancer. That group of people is the strongest, most real gathering of people I have ever known.

Your main character was realistic in making mistakes and learning from them, which every teenager does. Also, conflict makes a story. But if you knew Natalie in real life, what kind of advice would you give her? 

She is a derivative of me, so I know her well. If I met her in real life, I would tell her she doesn't have to do this - she doesn't have to be with Todd if it scares her. I know - because I stepped away from that relationship personally before it ever went too far.

You self-published your novel, which I heard is not the easiest thing to do if you want it done right. Was it draining to edit, format, plan the book cover, and publicize? Who helped you out?  

The manuscript was pretty combed-through by me and my agent, but there are still blips and blurps. However, putting that together with the requirements of Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords was an adventure! Each has its own list of must-do's, must-not-do's. I studied their style guides and specs for copy and art and tried following each to a T.

As for art, my long-time artist friend, Cathy Hebert (we used to work together) gave up her time to design the cover. I always liked her fluid, dreamy work and it conveys what APITL is all about.

Dreamy is a good word for your lovely cover. Tell us about what you're working on now. 

I am finishing a male POV novella, THE JOY & TORTURE OF JOSHUA JAMES - it is fun being a guy! Joshua moves with his divorced mom next door to two sisters. One is beautiful, one is goth and he's not sure which one is crazier. I also have two books on submission in NYC - SWELL and LITTLE ROOMS.

Thank you for stopping by, Julie. I can't wait to read your future works.

Find, friend, and follow Julie:


Buy the book:
Barnes & Noble


Old Kitty said...

Good luck Julie! Your book sounds emotionally cathartic! All the best, take care

Laura Marcella said...

Congrats on your novel, Julie! Thanks for sharing your writing thoughts. :)

Hope you're having great week, Medeia!

Stephen Tremp said...

Its great to meet you Julie and good luck with A Place In This Life!

Jolene Perry said...

I'm PRETTY sure this in my TBR pile - it sounds amazing.

Jen Chandler said...

A wonderful interview!

Good luck in your writing, Julie! Thanks for sharing with us.


M Pax said...

Good to meet you, Julie. All success on your book. It sounds like a great one.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Oh, wow. That sounds amazing but so wrenching - the kind of book many teenage girls would love!

Angela Brown said...

I have a feeling this book will require a box of Kleenex to make it through. Sounds so emotional...just like most teens.

Thanks to both of you for the wonderful interview.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love the cover and the blurb makes me not only want to read it, it warns me I'm going to be crying a lot. I'm adding it to my TBR list. :D

C.E. Hart said...

Congrats, Julie. :) (A male POV is interesting. Difficult to do in many ways.) Good luck!

Medeia - I enjoyed the interview. Sorry I haven't visited in a while. I hope all is going well.

Christina Farley said...

Good luck with your book Julie. Sounds like a work of heart.

inluvwithwords said...

Thanks, Medeia, for introducing me to Julie and her work. A Place in this Life sounds like a book I'd like to read. I'm adding it to my list.

Ajoop. S said...

Great interview! It seems like a really hard book to write... Especially since it was based on real life! I can't wait to read it!

Brenna Braaten said...

Hey there! I'm finally making the rounds and getting to other campaigners' blogs.

Sounds very emotional! Great interview (and great answers)! I may have to chek that out.

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Great interview. A PLACE IN THIS LIFE sounds heart-wrenching and delicious.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like an amazing story, if sad. And I love the cover for it. :)

Great interview!

Sarah Pearson said...

This book sounds like an interesting and intense read. Good luck with your other projects too :-)

Pk Hrezo said...

Congrats, Julie! I've followed her blog awhile too. Love when authors take initiative getting their work out there!
And wow, sounds like a moving story.

Jeremy Bates said...

congrats julie! and great cover!

Movies on my Mind said...

Good to hear that such hard subjects are well dealt with in YA fiction. It's important.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Beautiful cover, Julie.

Medeia, nice interview! :-)


~Sia McKye~ said...

Beautiful cover, Julie.

Medeia, nice interview! :-)


Emily R. King said...

What a beautiful cover. Thanks for the recommendation!

Carol Kilgore said...

I think this book might be too emotionally intense for me to read. But you have so many! Much luck to you on all of them.

Hi, Medeia!

Leslie Rose said...

Wow, Julie. It must have been quite an emotional journey to write this book. Sending good vibes for success on A PLACE IN THIS LIFE.

Marcia said...

Thanks for this interview. The story sounds powerful!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Having watched a little girl I know go through chemo and a bone marrow transplant, I definitely agree that they are so incredibly strong. It seems like kids don't know they can feel sorry for themselves, so they don't.

This book sounds intense and interesting. Thanks for the great interview!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Deb Marshall said...

Thanks for the interview you two! All best with your book, Julie...I will be sure to get it, read it and of course share it!

Madeleine Maddocks said...

Good luck Julie. Great author interview. The book sounds awesome, using your own emotional experiences must give it a great depth and voice.

Carol Riggs said...

Nice interview, thanks to both of you! Haha, it's "fun to be a guy." I love it. I've written a couple of male POV novels too; it is fun! Best wishes for your book/s!!

Beth said...

It's so sad to hear the real-life events that inspired this book. All the best to Julie with her new release.

Lynda R Young said...

Fabulous interview. The book sounds really special.

Michelle Dennis Evans said...

Wow...powerful stuff!
Thanks for the inspirational interview
Book looks so interesting.

Romance Reader said...

This book sounds a teenage girl's best friend! I'll look out for this.

All the best!


Janet Johnson said...

Nice to meet you Julie! Best of luck with your book. It sounds like a great one.

Nas Dean said...

Hi medeia, Hello Julie!

This book sounds wonderful, I only wish all the teenagers out there get a chance to read it!

All the best!

Medeia Sharif said...

Thank you, everyone, for giving Julie a warm welcome. :) Her book is awesome.