Julie Ann James lives in Sarasota, Florida. Her passion for words came at an early age and has inspired her to plant seeds literally all over the globe. She is the founder of the Peppertree Press book publishing company and The Pepper Tree Literary Magazine, an avid public speaker, a published children’s author and novelist.
Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
A writer since I was ten years old, it seemed only natural that I would continue writing as an adult. I started out like most writers submitting short stories to magazines, hoping for that byline and then venturing off into creating children’s book stories for early childhood level. After becoming a publisher, I was surrounded by amazing talented writers and challenged myself to write a novel. My first book, Haunted Echoes was a paranormal mystery and from that book forward, I was hooked. I am in the process of writing my third novel and the fourth is swirling around in my head, getting ready to put pen to paper.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
There is nothing like turning an idea into a creative masterpiece. Yes, it is completely worth it to write, publish and promote my books. I cannot imagine not writing. Since I sit on both sides of the desk as a writer and a publisher, I so get and understand the desires that writers want and expect. Expectations do run high at times and keeping yourself grounded in this writing experience is so important.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I have always wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old. I didn’t actually start writing seriously until after my children were in middle school. All I really wanted is to get a byline and not necessarily be paid for it. I submitted many short stories for parenting magazines and then switched gears and started writing children’s books. I can recall my first published piece which means that was my first byline. I received a check for $25.00 and because I was so excited, never cashed it. I later submitted many children’s stories to what I refer to as the “Big Houses” most of their offices are in New York, and they filled my mailbox with those dreaded rejection letters. I later found a self-publishing company online and published two books with them.
I have learned so much in all these years, especially after self-publishing. With that said, during this process I decided to start my own publishing company and offer the personal touch that writers so deserve. I have learned that you don’t have to be traditionally published to become a successful author as long as you love writing, work hard and get the word out, literally. It is important to keep yourself grounded and keep your expectations in check at all times.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
I am very fortunate that my family and friends are so supportive with my writing and the writing process. They are amazing sounding boards for when my creative juices are flowing and know when to keep quiet and exit the room when I don’t respond right away to their questions. They know I am in the writing mode and to not bother me. Since I am a night owl, I write when everything is quiet anyway so it is just me and my characters in the room.
This is for pet lovers. If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
My Abby Girl is a 5 year old Aussie and she herds me to the treat counter no matter what my urgency is, so with that said she rules! I would not be able to write unless her belly is full.
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
Again, since I write at night it really doesn’t interfere with my family life or my work schedule. When I write, the television is on softly as background noise and my fingers are flying on the keyboard.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
Of course there are amazing blogs out there that are fun to send out messages to fellow writers and readers. There is the infamous Facebook that is great for creating events for my books. I can recall stalking my own event daily just to see how many people were going to come and get a signed copy of my book.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
I have just hired an amazing book publicist (Maryglenn McCombs) and she is doing a remarkable job sending out press releases and promoting my book, Irish Jewel.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
I would love to share with the world that my press releases went out today on St. Patrick’s Day and I am extremely excited to see the results.
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I love being creative all the times. I suppose you can say that I wear many creative hats, and writing is my greatest love. I cannot imagine not writing on a daily basis and wish I had more time to do so..