Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Author Interview: Julie Bourbeau

Today we are privileged to have the author of The Wednesdays on the blog today! Welcome to Julie we're so glad you've stopped by. 

Let's get right to it!


 1) Why do you write for children?And what was your inspiration to create you debut middle grade book?

I never intended to write for children -- in fact, if you had told me ten years ago that I would write a kids' book, I never would have believed it. No, THE WEDNESDAYS came about quite by accident. I had just moved to Spain with my infant son, and I was struggling a bit with the combination of new motherhood and culture shock. Spain's mediodía (the custom of shutting down businesses and schools for several hours for an extended lunch period) was particularly difficult for me, because I never seemed to be able to adjust my timing accordingly. My son was always waking up from his nap precisely at the moment when my entire neighborhood, and all the shops I needed to visit, literally drew their shutters for three hours. 

One Wednesday afternoon I was pushing my son in his stroller and feeling a bit grumpy and lonely because nothing was open and no one was around. I had a bit of a mini-tantrum during which I decided that it was just plain creepy that my neighborhood was so deserted during the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of the week. To entertain myself, I began to make up a funny/creepy story to explain why an otherwise lovely city would shut down so completely during the middle of the week. And... THE WEDNESDAYS was born! In the process of writing it, I discovered that I loved writing for kids.

2) Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer.

I didn't start writing until I was in my thirties, which I suppose makes me a bit of a late bloomer. I was a new mother, living abroad, and I found myself without a job for the first time since I was a teenager. I was fortunate to be able to use the opportunity to do some soul searching -- to figure out what it was that I really wanted to do with my newfound freedom. I'm a lifelong bookworm (in fact, my first job ever was in a bookstore), so I decided to give writing a try. Once I discovered how much I loved it, I never looked back. I just wish that I had figured out how much fun writing is a decade or two earlier!  

3) Tell us about your process.
I fall halfway between the seat-of-my-pants school of writing and the disciplined-plotting school of writing. I started THE WEDNESDAYS with little more than an idea about the setting and the premise (a village halfway up Mt. Tibidabo that is forced to shut down every Wednesday). The characters came next -- Max is essentially the boy I imagined my (adorably) impish son becoming a few years down the road. Only then did the actual story start to shape up in my mind. 

My next book, KING OF NOWHERE, which will be out in 2014, evolved in a similar manner. I had only an opening sentence and a single, brief scene in mind when I started to write. Once I was a couple of chapters in I stepped back to sketch out a very rough outline -- basically just the beginning, the middle, and the end. And as I start each new chapter I take some time to figure out what I want to accomplish -- both in terms of character development and storyline. 

 5) What does a typical writing day look like?
  
Thinly-disguised chaos. Or perhaps that just describes my life in general, since I now have two very (VERY) energetic little boys in my household! Honestly, I require two things to write: silence and coffee. I wish that I could be one of those writers who can plug away while life unfolds around them, but I can't seem to do it. This means that I have to grab the moments of silence whenever and however I can. Perhaps when my boys are a little older I can achieve some sort of "typical", but for now I'm utterly without routine or consistency. 

 6) Where is your favorite place to write?

I write while sitting in a chaise lounge that is in the corner of my living room. My laptop is on my lap, and a cup of coffee is always nearby. The position is not ideal for spine health, I'm sure, but I've never been able to write at a proper desk. My little corner has lots of natural light and a view of a wooded area, so until my back rebels, I'm going to keep writing there! 

 7) What did or do you find most challenging in creating the story and getting it published? What do you wish you would have known?

I had no idea just how many years go into the making of books. Three years passed between the time my book was acquired by my publisher and my publication date. I have been terribly impatient waiting for my debut to finally come out!

8) What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

The advice that I most needed to hear (and that I most often need to be reminded of) is simply BIC (butt in chair). I'm very easily distracted by blogs, publishing industry news, online writers groups, etc. -- things that may be related to writing, but don't get me any closer to typing The End. There is no escaping the fact that a book requires many, many hours parked in front of a screen, with fingers on the keyboard...with NO internet access allowed! 

 9) Are you working on a new project? Can you tell us about it?
 
Yes! KING OF NOWHERE is a YA novel about a teenage daughter of the leader of an unnamed Middle Eastern country. When the rest of her family flees to the U.S., she is forced to come to terms with culture shock, poverty, and increasingly uncomfortable truths about her home country and her father's legacy. The book is loosely based on real events. 

 10) What advice would you give others that write for children?

Read your book out loud to a child who isn't afraid to play critic. It's amazing how quickly you'll stumble over awkward phrases or boring lulls in the action when you have a precocious seven-year-old rolling her eyes or yawning while you read to her! 

For more information about Julie, check out her website here.

Thanks to Julie for those thoughtful questions. The Wednesdays just debuted yesterday so be sure to hop over to Amazon and give it a like!



2 comments:

  1. What a fantastic interview. I haven't read The Wednesdays yet- but it looks great. I enjoyed hearing about how the author got the idea for the book (thank goodness she was living abroad). Also- it was interesting to learn about her publication process. It is hard to be patient! I wish her much success. :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  2. I always enjoy blog interviews. Thank you both.

    ReplyDelete

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