Welcome Julie! It’s great to have you back again. This time with your newest book, The Ghosts of Aquinnah. What was your first sale as an author?
My first sale was an article I wrote about my friend Jane Biehl and her hearing dog Sita. I sold the article to an online journal called Thrive in Life and I can still remember how it felt to open the “yes” email from the editor! This article was special to me anyway because Sita was trained to be a hearing dog at Circle Tail, which is the organization I adopted my dog Clancy from back in 2008. So it was great to have the chance to bring them some attention while also getting my first payment as a writer.
What was the scariest moment of your life?
I worked as a social worker for a mental health center back in the 1990s. I was on call and one of my duties was to perform psychiatric evaluations to assess suicide or homicide risk. One night I was called to the county jail (this was a very rural area) and asked to evaluate a mentally ill man who had been arrested for killing his girlfriend. I was young and naive and made the critical mistake of allowing the man to get in between me and the door of the cell. He became agitated and angry and tried to strangle me. Fortunately the cop on duty was able to distract him so that I could get out of the cell. I don’t think I stopped shaking until the following morning.
If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
This is a fun question to answer because I would love to turn my debut novel Polar Night into a series! I’m working on a sequel right now and it’s slow going but I’m hoping I’ll have a breakthrough with it soon. My main character in Polar Night is a detective named Danny Fitzpatrick and he stumbles upon a paranormal case in that novel. Prior to this Danny never believed in the existence of anything supernatural. Ideally I would love to have him investigating other cases with a supernatural antagonist and discovering what else might be out there that he never knew about in the past.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian or a dog trainer. I hated science classes in school so I figured the veterinarian probably wasn’t a good idea. But if I had it to do over again I think I would try a bit harder and not give up on that so easily. I have proven myself to be the world’s worst dog trainer with my own dog now, so I think it’s a good thing I dropped that idea!
Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Homeland, Justified, The Americans, Sons of Anarchy… I could go on and on because I am an admitted TV junkie but I’ll stop there. J
Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?
Yes - George R.R. Martin. I got hooked on his books after I fell in love with Game of Thrones on TV. Once I started reading his A Song of Ice and Fire series I couldn’t stop and loved the novels even more than the show.
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
It did in my latest release The Ghosts of Aquinnah. The novel takes place on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and I have been traveling there since I was a young child. My father’s family has been on the island for generations and we visited there nearly every summer when I was growing up. Now that I’m an adult I love to go there any chance I get as I love the ocean and don’t get to see it too often since I live in the Midwest. I view the novel as a bit of a love letter from me to the Vineyard.
The Ghosts of Aquinnah
A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.
Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.
By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.
Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.
She shakes her head.
For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.
Who is she? ...
Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.
What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?
Hannah finds out.
But, it’s not at all what she expects ...
Hannah unravels a century old murder.