Welcome to the six hundred and thirty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with horror, paranormal, romance short story writer Julie R Kendrick. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Julie. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Julie: Hi there, now what can I tell you about myself? I am a mum of 4 boys. I work in Waterstones the bookshop and I spent 15 years as a Metropolitan Police Officer. I have been writing for years although I only took the step of sending my work out last year due to meeting my now best friend Nicky Peacock who encouraged me no end.
Morgen: Way to go, Nicky. I’m looking forward to interviewing her next month. You predominantly write short stories, did you pick them or did they pick you?
Julie: I think they picked me due to the fact that when my boys were small they only had attention spans long enough for short stories. Now that I am sending work out I find that I get the satisfaction factor quicker when one of my stories is accepted. I am however now working on my first lone author novella.
Morgen: Shorts are my favourite to read and write (although I’ve enjoyed writing novels too) – congratulations on the novella. I have a feeling you may say “crime” to my next question, but is there a genre that you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Julie: I write mainly horror and paranormal stories at the moment although I would love to write crime, especially with my background. It hasn’t found me yet though.
Morgen: It took me a while to settle for one genre (which is crime), although I tend to write ‘dark and light’ – my first novel (still sitting in a file) is a mix of both. Even my latest (sixth – the start, I’m hoping, of a crime series) has some light touches. Is there a particular market you aim for when writing stories for publication?
Julie: I tend to go for the submission calls from smaller publishers and write to order. However if an idea comes to me I will look for something where it will fit, usually targeting publishers that know me and my work.
Morgen: That’s a very good idea. Are there any publications you can recommend for short stories (submissions and reading)?
Julie: It very much depends on your genre, Duotrope is regularly updated with submission calls.
Morgen: http://duotrope.com’s a great resource (no longer free but worth the – I think – $5 a year). Why do think short stories are so hard done by (with most readers going for novels)?
Julie: That’s a hard one. I think it may be because short stories written by and for adults are few and far between. Having said that, there have been a few more sent to the shop in recent months, so hopefully they are coming to the forefront a little more, especially with Philip Pullman releasing his version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales before Christmas last year which proved very popular.
Morgen: I missed that one. Do you write flash fiction?
Julie: Yes, I love writing flash fiction. A lot of writers I have met have said that they find I really hard to write but it comes easy to me. I like the shock factor and I am able to get that into a really short piece of writing. I have had a number of flash fiction stories released, notably my story “Obsession” which was published by Undead Press in their book “House of Terrors”.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Julie: I have had 11 short stories published in anthologies here and in the US. My latest one was a zombie erotica called “Beautiful Music”. As it was a slight genre shift from my usual work I used the pen name Daisy-Rae Kendrick.
Morgen: Are your stories available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks (novels or short stories?) or is it paper all the way?
Julie: Yes, all of the books that have been released so far as available as eBooks. As I have written the stories to order I haven’t had any input into the publishing process which is fine by me at the moment. I do have a Kindle and love it but I am also a book lover and adore the smell and feel of a real book. Working in a bookshop also gives me that book fix. I am a firm believer in why have one when you can have both.
Morgen: I have heard of readers buying the hard copy when they’ve loved an eBook so much. Do you have a favourite of your stories or characters? If any of your stories were made into films (Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain originated as a short story), who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Julie: I think my favourite character is always the one I have just finished writing. I specialise in writing nasty evil people / entities so they are always fun to create. I can’t imagine any of mine being made into film at the moment but Alan Rickman would be my choice to play anyone evil. His voice turns my knees to jelly every time.
Morgen: Oh yes, he’s great. I’d love him to play anything I wrote. Is there an author that you would compare your writing to?
Julie: Oh goodness no. I wouldn’t be so bold.
Morgen: 🙂 You mentioned you’re working on a novella…
Julie: I am, a paranormal romance I am going to call Skin Deep.
Morgen: Great title. Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
Julie: I don’t get enough time to write every day although that would be lovely. I have never yet had writer’s block but I am a terrible procrastinator and it takes me ages to get going when I do have the time. I always feel guilty for writing and think I should be doing something else, like ironing or cooking ha ha. I actually wrote a blog about procrastination you might like to read.
Morgen: Many writers (myself included) don’t suffer from writer’s block but inevitably will pause on a current project but have various on the go, so when they return to it it’s easier to carry on. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Julie: I always try to plot but once I start writing it generally runs away with me and I ends up in a completely different direction that I had planned.
Morgen: I love it when that happens, especially when the characters take over. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Julie: At the moment this is what I am working on. Generally with sort stories you don’t have the time to create a whole backstory for each character as you are only with them for such a short amount of time. However in Skin Deep I am having to make my characters more rounded. I’ll reserve judgement at the moment on whether it is working or not ha ha.
Morgen: Do let us know. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Julie: I always aim to just write it and then go back and edit but I always end up editing as I go, especially if I leave what I’m working on for a few days and then come back to it, I edit what I have done and then continue on. It’s worked for me so far.
Morgen: Leaving it is the best thing to do. We’re invariably too close to what we’re writing to see objectively. Do you have to do much research?
Julie: Not as yet but I always think reading widely is research in itself.
Morgen: Reading is often advice given and as writers we should be readers too. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Julie: I use all of them and I absolutely love writing in second person although it took me a while to get to grips with. The story “Obsession” that I mentioned earlier is written in the second person as is “That Sinking Feeling” which is in the book “Picnic Nightmares” by Static Movement to be released later this year.
Morgen: Oh yay! It’s my favourite point of view. I’ve never submitted any but I should. It’s said everyone has a novel inside them, do you think you might go for longer projects?
Julie: I aim to write full length novels but I believe in starting small and working up. Also, having a relationship with publishers will hopefully stand me in good stead when I come to submitting a longer piece.
Morgen: How about poetry or non-fiction?
Julie: I only write poetry when I am sad and no one is allowed to see that ha ha.
Morgen: Oh yes. I have some of those. Do you have any other pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Julie: Yes. In it’s current form. I started to write a novella about a cult which I have put away unfinished but you never know I may resurrect it in the future as something else.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Julie: I am very lucky and proud (if not a little bashful) to say that I have never had a rejection. YET. I know they will come and I do try to steel myself every time I submit a story. I tell myself, this is the one they will refuse and then if they accept I am doubly happy.
Morgen: Proud for sure. There have been a few authors I’ve spoken to who haven’t received any rejections. I only have 29, not many by comparison to some (and horror writer Dean Koontz apparently had over 500 before his first novel was published!). Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Julie: I don’t have time for competitions although my friend Sue Moorcroft runs the short story competition in Writers’ Forum every month. It covers all genres so I would definitely recommend that one.
Morgen: Oh you know, Sue? Me too (and I interviewed her back in July 2011. 🙂 It’s a small world. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Julie: No agent as yet but once I have a novel to submit I will look into it. I have writer friends that have agents and those that don’t. I think it is a personal thing for each author.
Morgen: I don’t have one, and don’t plan to try again but never say never (I might once my crime series gets going). Do you do much marketing for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Julie: I do a little bit at the moment. I have a twitter account @willow573 and a blog which I regularly write http://julierkendrick.wordpress.com. I also have author pages on Amazon and Goodreads. I think once I have more published works under my belt I will ramp up the self promotion.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Julie: Favourite is my writing friends and obviously the acceptances. I also love it when I have finished a story. Editing brings me great pleasure.
Least favourite is the actual first drafting process for two reasons. Firstly, as I said earlier I am an awful procrastinator and it takes me ages to get going and the second reason is that my fingers don’t type as fast as my brain. I would love to just plug my brain in to the laptop and watch the words spill out on to the screen.
Morgen: You love editing? Wow. It’s one of my least favourite aspects, perhaps because I’m so thorough and I’d rather be creating. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Julie: It is advice that I should take myself. Write, write and write some more and when you are not writing, read. You are only honing your craft, even if what you write is rubbish. It is a learning process and you will only ever get better.
Morgen: Absolutely. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Julie: I would invite Ronnie Barker because he was a very funny man with an amazing ability to manipulate the English language to humorous effect. George Michael to provide the musical entertainment and Alan Rickman (remember the voice). Oh and Johnny Depp would be there too just so I could stare at him. My husband would do the cooking because he is a marvellous cook.
Morgen: Well, if you’re having four (plus your husband), I’d love to join you with a line-up like that. 🙂 If you had to choose a single day from your past to re-live over and over, what day would it be and why?
Julie: Far too many to choose from I’m afraid.
Morgen: That’s good. 🙂 Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Julie: I have a few but this one always makes me smile: Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. (Groucho Marx)
Morgen: It’s one of my favourites. Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Julie: I help run a writers group called Creative Minds with Nicky Peacock and we also have a book club at work.
Morgen: I belonged to a couple of books groups but had to pull out as I don’t get enough time to read what I want to read rather than read what doesn’t interest me. What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? 🙂
Julie: When I’m not writing or working I am usually reading or lazing in the hot tub or playing with my dogs. I am never bored. There is far too much to do. As for party tricks… now that would be telling 😉
Morgen: Do spill (I won’t tell a soul). Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful? (please include links where you can)
Julie: I love Goodreads and Listverse.
Morgen: I know Goodreads (and am on it) but not Listverse. Sounds interesting. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Julie: Twitter and my blog which I mentioned earlier. They are a great way of reaching people across the world. My blog is read by people in Japan, the Netherlands, Qatar as well as Europe and the USA.
Morgen: Isn’t it great. I love looking at the map we get with our stats. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Julie: On my blog http://julierkendrick.wordpress.com or on my Goodreads author page.
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Julie: I’d just like to thank you for these questions. It has be very interesting answering them and given me a break from writing about evil people ha ha.
Morgen: You’re so welcome, Julie. Thank you for joining me.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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