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Julie Gilbert's Interview

Posted on January 14, 2013 at 1:55 AM

Where Writers And Authors Meet Interviews:
Julie Gilbert!

Julie Guilbert was our Featured Spotlight author last week and vistors were encouraged to ask her some of their own questions! Here is a link to that Spotlight! Feel free to ask more questions, and we might just be able to get Julie back for a follow up interview!

1.Do you have a website? (Asked By Admin Virginia Lori Jennings:

      Thanks for the invite to the reworked interviews, Virginia.

     I keep a hubpage

     And once in a great long while I’ll post to a blog:

     Never was any good with keeping up with a blog, but hey, new year,new leaf and all who knows what could happen.

     Apparently my Facebook account is linked with the twitter account,so that keeps semi-active.


2.What is your name? (Asked By:Edward Frank)

Julie Gilbert of NJ.


3.What is your quest? (Asked By: Edward Frank)

     To write stories that entertain, inspire, teach, or some combination thereof. Like most writers, I crave honest feedback, and I enjoy seeing what others can create based on my works. That’s why I have such a great time creating book covers with my friend, Tim Sparvero.


4.What is your favorite color? (Asked By: Edward Frank)

Oddly enough, blue.


5.What was the first story that you published and how did you come to write it? (Asked By: EdwardFrank)

First half of the question…

     The first story put out for public consumption was Heartfelt Cases,a Christian mystery and inspirational story that wove three novell as into a short, outer story about a single mother’s tough wait for her son to get a heart transplant. The novellas were each 20 chapters long and roughly 30,000 words. I combined them because they had the same characters and were not long enough to stand on their own as novels.

     The kindle, The Collins Case, is the rewritten first inner story from Heartfelt Cases. I wanted to address the grammar errors that were left in the first edition and needed to update some of the technology references. The world has changed a lot in the last ten years, and thankfully, I’ve learned a lot from writing a novel-length story each summer. There’s always more to learn.


Second half of the question…

     The Collins Case started as a story that came out of the general wish to write about a kidnapping. I liked the characters enough to continue with them for a second and third short story. This past summer, I worked them into a new mystery with a few minor characters from a different series.


6.a) On your author's page you say you write YA real-world science fiction, and normal science fiction. I am not sure how you are defining real-world science fiction and normal science fiction and what the differences are between them? (Asked By: EdwardFrank)

     Somewhere on the internet I believe there exists a longer version of my random thoughts about science fiction categories. First, I’d break sci-fi into soft and hard. To me, soft sci-fi focuses more on the characters than on the technology. Although I’ve enjoyed the occasional Alastair Reynolds book, I tend to avoid hard-core science fiction that focuses more on the military tactics or a clichéd plot such as giant bugs invade some hapless planet.(Ender’s Game not withstanding, based on sheer awesomeness.)

     Second, I categorize ‘real-world science fiction’ as something set on Earth that abides by most, if not all, of the natural laws of science. In these type stories, I don’t have to take quite as much time explaining functionality of certain items or weapons. Conversely, ‘normal’ or ‘other world’ science fiction I’m setting apart as the type taking place on another planet. The three Reshner stories fall in this other category. I distinguish between the two because they’re very different types of stories. The Reshner stories make me work a little harder in world building.


6.b) What would not-normal science fiction be like? (Edward Frank)

     Ha, if I’m honest, I’d admit that ‘not-normal’ science fiction is probably the stuff I write, but I think subconsciously, I’d like the‘not-normal’ sci-fi to be the ‘hard’ type I typically avoid. I may also be subconsciously putting Star Wars in place of ‘normal’ in which case all other sci-fi would be lumped into the ‘not-normal.’


7.Writers are typically readers of the genres they write. Do you have a favorite YA science fiction story or "normal' science fiction story and why does that book stand out in your mind? (Edward Frank)

       My reading tastes are rather wide. I started out reading tons of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, both of which are terribly formulaic yet entertaining when you’re young. I moved on to Star Wars fiction because the expanded universe books answered the need for action and adventure without throwing in random four letter words. Although I usually do not like fantasy stories, one of my favorite books is The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill. It stands out because of the strength of the main character. I liked that it managed to take what could have been a typical ‘princess tale’ and turned it into a story about forging unlikely alliances and fighting to protect others.


     I’m not that widely read in YA science fiction genre, but the most recent book that resonated with me is called Mind Games by Kiersten White. Having not really read many others in the category, by default this is my favorite. The execution of the story could have been better, but it still earned a 5-star review from me because of intriguing characters. That, and I’m just a sucker for stories about gifted children learning to use their skills and maneuver in and around those trying to harness their gifts. In this case, the protagonitst, Fia, possesses perfect instincts and her sister, Annie, can sometimes see glimpses of the future.    


8.a) Do you have a set writing routine? (Asked by: Janet Parfitt:

     Great questions, Janet. Normally, I wait until the summer to write a book and leave proofreading duties to the fall and winter, but being currently unemployed from teaching, I’m taking the time to work on a new project. I tend to write in one to two hour chunks of time, attempting to finish at least one section or chapter, but lately, I’ve been a bit more flexible. A writing session could easily hit three or more hours. Most days, I try to stick to 2000 words a day, though this past summer I usually hit closer to 4000. The chapters in my latest project are coming close to 1500 words each.


     Often, I’ll listen to some sort of soundtrack while writing. The current favorite is MassEffect 3, though Narnia, inception, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter work well too. Another part of my process is spending some time thinking about certain scenes or characters. Often, I’ll get impressions about what a certain character will think or do in a situation and that will lead to other things to include. If I accidentally ingest something with caffeine in it, that thinking time could be well into the wee hours.

8.b) And do you outline your books or are you a pantser? (Janet Parfitt

     I had to lookup ‘pantser.’ Honestly, I’m probably somewhere in between pantser and planner,though heavily weighted toward the former. These days, I write possible chaptertitles and a brief description of what I want to happen in each section. Then,I simply follow where the thoughts go.


9. Noticing that you teach Chemistry, do you find that your students haveunrealistic assumptions about what can be done in class (at your student'slevel) based on their media experiences (whether books or movies, etc.)? (Asked by: Eden Mabee)

     Hi, Eden. My chemistry teaching experience is limited to only one small school, but typically, I find that students are realistic about what they can accomplish in the classroom and out. Some of them know chemistry isn’t something they’ll ever pursue as a career, but they tend to be accepting of the subject for what it is. So, no, I have not seen evidence of unrealistic assumptions.


10. Do you intend to write books along series like The Lemonade Trick by ScottCorbett (older series) or The Magic Treehouse books that blur realities drawkids into adventures in history and magic and now? (Eden Mabee)

      While I can respect those types of books, I tend toward whole-hog science fiction, fantasy, or Christian mystery stories. I probably wouldn’t try a time-traveling sort of tale because I’m not a history buff. I occasionally enjoy reading a story like that, but I’m too much in love with the freedom offered by science fiction and fantasy. Ashlynn’s Dreams comes closest to mixing the real world with special powers, though it’s framed more as scientific achievement than magic. My newest project is an attempt at the paranormal YA genre, just to see if I could do it.


11.Do you ever test out your stories on your students and get them involved in thecreative process when writing your books? (Asked by: Jo Linsdell-

     I’m trying to build a wider base of beta readers. (Hint. Hint. Anybody: PM me if you’re interested :-) One of my former students was among the first to delve into Ashlynn’s Dreams and give me feedback. Since that time, I’ve continued sending her other stories and often implemented her suggestions. When I last asked for beta readers, several other former students stepped up. In that sense, yes, I’ve involved students in the creative process. However, I think you’re referring to students during the school term, and in that case, no. Usually, I write during the summer months. The last four years have been spent teaching chemistry, so there weren’t any opportunities to work it into the curriculum or anything, though that would be awesome.


12. What is your End ofthe World Playlist? (Asked by: Shadoe Publishing-

     Can’t say thatI ever really gave that much thought, but the songs I’m listening to right noware very fitting. “A Future for the Krogan” by Christopher Lennertz from theMass Effect 3 soundtrack. I suppose “Leaving Earth” by Clint Mansell also fitsthe whole end of world theme.

13. While you are at it... could you describe your favorite writing spot forus? Describe it like you would a scene in your book- give us a taste of your'voice'. (Asked by: Virginia Lori Jennings

(My pleasure; I will borrow Jillian’s voice for the moment.)

    ***** I’d like to say I got a favorite writing place, but it wouldn’t be the whole truth. That means it’d be sort of a fibber, and Nana and Momma would get real cross if I done steered you wrong on purpose. I don’t mean to, honest. See, I only got one place to write. It’s in the basement. Not a scary, dark basement like what you’d see in a movie I ain’t allowed to see, but a well-lit, friendly sort of basement where me and my friends can share our grand adventures without disturbing nobody. It’s kinda messy down there with lots of books and papers and cute little notes everywhere, but Nana says a little mess makes things homey.She also says a lot of mess ain’t good for a soul, but I guess that’s just the sort of thing each body’s gotta decide all on its own. Oh, I almost forgot.There’s also a clock with nice bright, red letters on it that speak the time plainly. I don’t much care for them clocks that try to signal with different sized hands. Just cause I can tell time that way don’t mean I want to. Anyway, the clock’s sorta important cause like I said, I can lose track of time mighty quick once a story gets me going.

      Thanks for taking the time to read this whole thing. It makes me feel downright special to get to share with y’all! *****

From the Admin:

Thank you for sharing your answers with us Julie! I loved your responses. My favorite part was hearing your character describe your favorite writing space!

You can find Julie's Book-> Heartfelt Cases- on Amazon Here:


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1 Comment

Reply Edward Forrest Frank
10:40 AM on January 14, 2013 
Julie, you wrote: " I tend to avoid hard-core science fiction that focuses more on the military tactics or a clich├ęd plot such as giant bugs invade some hapless planet.." I think you are incorrectly lumping military/space opera as part of the hard science fiction sub-genre, while I would argue these are a separate sub-genre of their own. Hard science fiction would be that typically deal with alien worlds, colonies, and space travel without the emphasis on blowing things up (although sometimes stuff happens.) I would be interested in seeing your breakdown of science fiction sub-genres if you find it.