Friday, 22 June 2012

Interview with Julie Dao

Happy Friday! Today I have a special guest on the site. Julie Dao was one of the winners of my 200 Follower Giveaway and chose an interview as her prize. She's a talented young writer of YA Fantasy and Paranormal. So without further ado, let's hear from the lady herself...

Hi, Julie. First, can you tell us a bit about who you are and your background?

Hi, Nick! Thanks for interviewing me on your blog! 

I'm a normal twenty-something girl who aspires to be a published author. I grew up in New England, the most beautiful place in the U.S. (in my somewhat biased opinion). I'm the daughter of two math-minded engineers and older sister to two math-minded brothers, so I'm something of a black sheep in my family :)

I studied biology in college, but switched tracks from medicine to something a little closer to heart and home - science writing. I spend my days making science a little more understandable for the average person, and I spend my nights writing creatively. It's a great balance and I feel very lucky to have both.

Getting to write during the day job is pretty sweet! Nice one.

When did you first realise you wanted to write and can you tell us about how you got started?

I know a lot of people say this, but... I've wanted to be a published author since I was a kid. I was the nerd with the big glasses who hunched over library books instead of playing on the playground with my friends. (I still am that nerd!)

I loved reading fairy tales, but always asked myself questions about them. How did that glass slipper come to be made? Who was the fairy godmother as a person? Why was the evil queen so obsessed with looks? I began writing answers to these questions and that's how I started creating my own stories.

I love writers who ask questions like that. There is so much room for interpretation of those stories.

What are your biggest inspirations when it comes to writing?

I'm passionate about books. I want to tell stories and take people by the hand into the worlds I create, sit them down with my characters, have them witness a swordfight or attend the ball. What inspires me is the hope that I'll have readers who want to come along for the ride. 

Making readers feel involved in the story is a great thing to be able to do.

Tell us a little bit about what you’re working on, and your daily routine as a writer.

I just finished a Cinderella retelling called PUMPKIN PATCH PRINCESS, which is a romantic comedy featuring the fairy godmother and her struggle to find her own happily-ever-after. It touches on many famous tales, including the 12 Dancing Princesses and the Frog Prince, and is meant to be a charming, humorous YA novel with heart. I'm querying it now!

In the meantime, I've got two new projects to distract me while I wait for agent responses :) One is called FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS and will be an epic fantasy set in ancient China. It's about an exiled princess fighting to reclaim her throne from the grasp of an evil empress. The other story is called ELEGY, which is inspired by Phantom of the Opera and tells the tale of a cursed violin that lands in the hands of the greatest prodigies of the age, sending them into a spiral of madness and obsession.

During the week, I only have time to write at night, so my writing routine consists of trying to stay awake long enough to get anything done! I get most of my writing done on the weekends.

Good luck with the querying! Your new projects sound very exciting too. I'll be following your progress on the blog and I recommend everyone else to do the same. Which brings me to my next question...

When did you start blogging and what prompted you to do so? What’s the best thing about it for you?

I started blogging in 2008, when I was easing back into creative writing after a years-long dry spell. I wanted to share my work online and find out whether I had "it" - the drive and the dedication it takes to get a book published.

The best thing about blogging is my blogging buddies. Absolutely NO ONE in the world understands what it's like to write a novel (and the tears, the heartache, the feverish bouts and word droughts) like these wonderful friends I've found. They keep me going.

I couldn't agree more!

What would be your advice to people who are just starting to write or thinking about it?

I would say to be realistic. Writing is HARD. They should be willing to commit themselves 100%, to spend time doing research, revising, putting in their best efforts to produce the highest quality they can give.

So often I meet people who want to write a novel and already they're worried about the agents and the publishers and what kind of a book deal they want. The focus should be, first and foremost, on the writing itself. Get a novel written - get that novel polished. THEN worry about all the other stuff.

Very sound advice.

And just for fun, can you describe yourself as if describing a MC from one of your novels?

A black-haired girl appeared in the doorway, pushing a pair of thick glasses up her nose. She tiptoed over to the counter in well-worn sandals and threw a self-conscious glance at the other customers. Her eyes, a shade of brown so dark that they appeared to be nothing more than dilated pupils, narrowed at the cashier as she whispered, "I'll take everything on the menu."

HA! That was a lot of fun, Nick! Thanks again for hosting me on your blog!

You're welcome!

To find out more about Julie, pop over to her blog, Silver Lining. Give her a wave and wish her luck in her search for an agent!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. :)


Krista McLaughlin said...

Great interview! I will definitely head over to her blog! Her projects both sounds very good. :)

Kyra Lennon said...

Lovely interview! Julie sounds great, and I think her idea of a Cinderella retelling is brilliant!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I enjoyed this interview. I loved that you asked the questions behind the fairytales. A sign of a true writer ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's the best thing about blogging for me as well - my blogging buddies.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns sounds awesome!

Julie Dao said...

Nick, thank you so much for hosting my first interview! This was a lot of fun :)

Jessica Nelson said...

What a great interview! Your advice is right on. Love your description of yourself too. :-)

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Great interview. Writing IS hard, but it needs to be done. Otherwise, I would explode.:)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic interview - great questions AND great answers! I was always the kid wanting "more" from the end of the fairy tales, too. How many kids did the prince and princess have, and what were they like? Did the rags-to-riches princess ever sometimes put on her old clothes and visit her old haunts in the kingdom when the pressure of being princess got to be too much? Was the evil witch conquered for good, or did she ever come back to cause more trouble?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Emily R. King said...

Hi Nick! Hi Julie! I like twists on fairy tales, too. Where DID Cinderella's glass slipper come from? I'd love to know.

Great interview!

Anonymous said...

It was great seeing Julie here. I've been following her writing and querying process.

My blogging buddies support and get me.

Have a great weekend.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Great interview, both of you!

Kathy M.

Sophia Chang said...

Big fan of Julie's and it was great learning more about her!

Nick Wilford said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I'll definitely be doing more interviews in the future. I actually said I would start doing them back in January, but hey, got there in the end! :D

Anonymous said...

Great Interview Nick, will be checking out Julie's blog later :D

DL Hammons said...

You interviewed one of my favorite blogger/writer/persons that I've come across in the blogosphere! She is awesome and you did an excellent job Nick. Her Pumpkin Patch Princess is destined for the book shelf! :)

Elana Johnson said...

I love the advice to be realistic. It's perfect.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Interesting interview! I especially love the idea of a story about Cinderella's fairy godmother. I never really thought about the godmother's backstory, but it would be interesting to read it.

Talli Roland said...

Great interview - I loved learning more about Julie! I come from a very science-y family, too, so I can understand how she feels like a black sheep!

Suze said...

Love Julie's advice. Some great interview questions, Nick.

Unknown said...

Great interview and great advice for new writers. I know the query process can be trying, a little patience goes a long way. Good luck! :)

Kimberlee Turley said...

I love fairy tales too! So excited about all Julie's upcoming projects!

dolorah said...

I remember reading some of your posts on your science blog Julie. They were interesting. Your fairy tales always entertain me, and I think its great you have such a imaginative mind with your science background.

Loved your description of yourself :)


Daisy Carter said...

So often I meet people who want to write a novel and already they're worried about the agents and the publishers and what kind of a book deal they want. The focus should be, first and foremost, on the writing itself. Get a novel written - get that novel polished. THEN worry about all the other stuff.


Stina said...

I love the premises behind all of Julie's book. I hope she has great success with querying.

I couldn't survive without my blogging buddies. I now avoid talking about writing to my non writing friends. They just don't get it. :P

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Great interview Nick and Julie! Julie - I love the questions you ask of fairytales! I also love the premises of your books! I look forward to following you on your journey Julie!

DEZMOND said...

great interview, guys, Julz is such a sexy lady :)

Margo Berendsen said...

Oh my gosh I loved this! "I'll have everything on the menu!" I've been reading your posts for TWO YEARS!!! Julie and you still surprised me! and I LOVED hearing more about PPP. And really, where did those glass slippers come from, anyway??? You better get published so I can find out!

Julie Dao said...

Wow, thanks everyone for such nice comments!

Krista: Thank you and I'll definitely check out your blog as well! I love meeting new writerly friends!

Kyra: You're so sweet! Thank you, I had a great time with this Cinderella retelling.

Lynda: The best thing about fairy tales is how much room there is for interpretation!

Alex: Blogging buddies are definitely the best part of blogging!

Jessica: Thank you! I had to give that advice to myself before I really learned it.

Teresa: Same here! It's difficult, but completely worth it to write.

Louise: YES, exactly... I would so totally read all of those stories if they were ever written! The best part of writing something is that it's never over. There's always room to explore other characters and storylines.

Emily: Hi! :) I've always wanted to know where the slipper came from, so I explored that in PPP!

Medeia: Thank you for following my journey and being one of the blog buddies who really gets me :)

Kathy M: Thank you! :)

Sophia: Thanks, sweetie pie!

Nick: You are awesome! This was so much fun.

Bookish Times: Thanks for reading :)

Don: I'm one of the favorite people of one of my favorite people?! *sniffle*

Elana: Thanks! I try to tell myself that a lot...

Workaholic: I've always been drawn to minor characters in stories. The fairy godmother seemed like such a compelling one!

Talli: Good to know I'm in good company!

Suze: Thank you for reading :)

Michael: It definitely takes a lot of patience, but I've been trying to focus on new projects to take my mind off it!

Kimberlee: Thank you so much!

Donna: You're so sweet *hugs* Thank you for saying that!

Daisy: Hehehe THANKS!

Stina: I will need all the luck I can get, thank you! (And I need my blogging/writing buddies to talk me off ledges occasionally...)

Kimberly: Thank you so much! Glad you liked the topics :D

Dezmond: Aw, shucks!

Nick Wilford said...

You got an excellent response Julie! I really enjoyed reading everyone's comments as well. :)

kjmckendry said...

Great interview! I loved learning more about Julie. Your projects sound great!

Robyn Campbell said...

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is awesome! Julie is such a descriptive writer. *jealous* I cannot wait to hold your books in my hand and smell their loveliness. It will happen, my friend. (Sorry I'm late) Thanks so much for interviewing Julie, Nick. She's BEAUTIFUL! xoxo

Laura S. said...

Hello, Nick! This is a terrific interview! Julie was one of my first blog buddies, so it's awesome getting to know more about her writing. She writes so beautifully and her wips sound awesome! I can't wait to see them in bookstores someday!

Hope you're having a great week!

Theresa Milstein said...

Julie, you grew up to be such a beautiful nerd!

I agree, New England is a great place to grow up. I didn't, but my kids are.

Julie Dao said...

Margo: My sweet friend! I'm so glad you got to learn a little bit more about me and PPP :) I sure I hope I will get published, but either way, you'll find out just how those glass slippers came to be made!

Nick: I really did! I appreciate them all!

kmckendry: Thank you so much! I hope to share more about them on my blog as I continue writing!

Robyn: I am blushing like a peony right now because I am so proud to have such a kind, supportive friend as you. Thanks for believing in me. <3

Laura: You are one of my favorite people in the blogosphere! Thanks for being one of my awesome writer friends!

Theresa: Oh, thank you so much! And your kids and I are all very lucky to have grown up in such a lovely place.

Deniz Bevan said...

Great interview - love that last question, especially.
Good luck with your querying!