Author Spotlight: Julie Higgins
On our author spotlight segment this month we had a wonderful chat with Julie Higgins. Julie is a mystery/thriller writer based in the UK. Her debut novel, Finding Ruby, was released in 2019. The sequel, A Long Time Burning, is a Christmas mystery that will be released near the end of this year. We had an engaging conversation with Julie about the process of writing mystery novels, her inspiration, and her writing journey so far.
Author Spotlight – Julie Higgins
Tell us about how you first started writing, and when you decided to pursue it more seriously and started thinking about getting your book published.
Julie has been interested in writing since she was a child. In her early years, the headmistress would read stories after school which inspired her love for reading and led to her wanting to write her own stories. Later, she started seriously pursuing it after doing a course on writing which helped her to learn how to write. She took ten years before she finished Finding Ruby, because she just kept tinkering with it. Eventually, Julie decided that it was now or never: she needed to ‘get it out there’.
When you first started how did you better yourself as an author? Classes? Podcasts? Youtube? Novel writing books? Are there any particular recommendations you have?
In addition to the previously mentioned correspondence course, Julie also completed a creative writing course at night school in her twenties. The style of writing wasn’t to her taste, but she did get some very useful learning out of both these courses.
How do you juggle writing with life/work/your other creative projects?
Julie works in a hospital as an auditor, processing data and working with spreadsheets. She doesn’t have the luxury of only writing when the muse strikes, and so takes advantage of any time she can. She always has a notebook on her, so that she can write down when ideas strike. She also uses her phone as a dictation device. She tries to write or edit about two hours a day after returning home from work.
What is your writing process? Plotter/Pantser?
Julie is more of a pantser than a plotter. She starts with characters, working out what journey they’re going to take. She follows a loose plot, often times abandoning it and changing course, depending on different places, events, and people who inspire her. She doesn’t always write in sequence but rather will write small pieces which she then sews together with the primary storyline.
Tell us about your publishing journey.
When Julie started writing, the indie author publishing movement was still growing. When Finding Ruby was eventually published, it was exciting that there is now a way for indie authors to get their books into the world. Still, Julie decided to get help in publishing with a hybrid press. For a fee, they provide the editing and cover design for the book much as a traditional publisher would. However, it is still selective and chooses only the books they see as marketable with the aim of producing a professional product, rather than a vanity press which allows the author full control. Although this was a great learning experience, for her next book, A Long Time Burning, Julie is planning to self-publish it directly to retailers. Note: If you are interested in how a hybrid press differs from a vanity press, check out this Wikipedia entry.
Tell us about your book, Finding Ruby.
A Nell Montague Mystery, and a Page Turner Awards winner. It follows the life of Nell, a young woman who must confront her traumatic past to save a young girl, but who soon discovers that nightmares don’t always end when you wake up.
What have your biggest challenges been?
Julie identified her biggest challenge as being imposter syndrome. Julie theorized that maybe this ‘voice’ starts as children, when someone criticizes our work, and this ‘voice’ becomes ingrained in our psyche as adults. But for whatever reason, the self-doubt that comes along with being a writer is hard to shake.
Other projects on the horizon?
The sequel to Finding Ruby, titled A Long Time Burning, is a Christmas ghost story and follows on from Finding Ruby. This should hopefully be out by November and is ‘proper spooky’! So keep an eye out for that! While writing this book, Julie did get a little stuck. So, to help the words flow again she wrote four short stories which are all Christmas themed. She grouped these into an anthology, Three Spells for Christmas, which is now available on Amazon.
Where can people find your books?
The easiest place to find Julie’s books is on Amazon and it is available here as an ebook or paperback. You can also find it on Apple iBooks.
How can people get in touch with you?
The best place to get in contact with Julie is through her Instagram.
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