Today I’m interviewing Julie Hutchings: black belt, beer drinker, harpy, and at least fifty percent of the Undead Duo. When she’s not doing those things, she’s a horror and urban fantasy writer, and one of my very favourite people on Twitter. Welcome to Aussie Owned and Read, Julie!
Your debut, Running Home, came out in August this year. When I read the blurb (which totally made me order the paperback from Amazon, by the way), I thought it sounded like vampires mixed with wasabi and tears. How would you describe it? And are you going to break my heart?
Thank you for having me on Aussie Owned and Read! And for buying my book. 🙂 Oooooh, I really do like that description! But it’s better suited for the sequel which will take place in Japan. Running Home is more of a warm, fuzzy Christmas story but with blood, and terrible choices to make, and it should probably be scratch and sniff.
I will probably break your heart. BRACE YOUR HEART.
You have two boys (and husband makes three!) and yet still find time to write. What is your secret?
It’s the only other non-negotiable in my life, and they all three know it. The happiness of my family and writing go hand in hand. They understand when I need to write every day. Also, I get up for 5am Writer’s Club on Twitter an awful lot. It’s my freshest, most inspired time, and I’m ALONE. But I make sure to write in 15 minute spurts if I have to, and that I have a requirement each day of myself. It’s equal parts sticking to a schedule and knowing when to blow it off and write in spurts between playing Candy Land and feeding growing boys. But it’s my passion, and it’s crucial that my family knows I pursue my passion, that it isn’t something I can set aside because the day got busy.
You are lucky enough to have what seems like the most awesome of crit partner deals: a childhood friend who also writes, lives near you and has you over in your PJs for coffee-fuelled writing sessions. Have you and Kirsten ever contemplated co-writing a novel?
We’ve written a bunch of short stories together, but no, we never really thought of writing a full novel together. We write so very differently. Our processes are entirely different, our style, our language…. It would be a helluva journey.
Dogs or cats?
Small dogs, big cats. I like both.
Coffee or pizza?
I cannot believe you would make me choose between coffee and pizza. I can’t believe I came up with an answer. I thought pretty hard on it, too. Pizza gives me an emotional high akin to what crack addicts describe, and it is the most comforting thing on the planet in my eyes. And it reminds me of karate, because every good karate school is next to a pizza place. But coffee. I tried to quit when I was trying to have our first baby, and I fell asleep standing up a few times, once at work. And God, was I a cruel pig. So, coffee it is.
Also, coffee won’t make me as fat.
Angel or Spike?
Spike. No contest. Spike all day and night. Spike, baby. Lord almighty.
What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you and they never do?
Hmmm. Nobody has ever asked me who my heroes are. SO, NOW I SHALL TELL YOU. My dad showed me books, and how being quiet was the loudest and strongest thing you could be sometimes. He understood my sense of humor, my weirdness, my weird strength when I didn’t feel strong. He saw what I could be when I was just awkward, had no place. He knew me, and made me feel like there was something more to me when I wasn’t so sure myself. He would be so proud of what I’ve done, and of my family.
And my Sensei, Mafia Holloway, is the man who showed me what I was capable of. He pushed me to do things that I would never have tried if someone hadn’t believed in me. He’s got more confidence, self-assuredness and compassion in his pinky finger than anyone I know, and yet he isn’t afraid to be wrong, or imperfect. He pursues and never stops, and because of him, neither do I. He trained on Christmas and Thanksgiving, and would have me do the same. When I asked why, he said because you’re competition isn’t. That persistence and drive never left me. When I needed a friend, he was there. When I needed a teacher, he was there. And when my dad passed away, he was there every single day, picking me up at home and bringing me to the dojo, or to the mall, or to anywhere just to make sure I felt that he cared. He made sure I didn’t sink into myself.
That was the best question I never thought of! Thanks for stopping by, Julie.
Want to win a copy of Running Home? Julie is very kindly donating a copy, and I’m throwing in another. Double the fun! CLICK HERE to enter!
Or if you’re like me and SO IMPATIENT YOU CAN’T WAIT, you can buy it on Amazon.
Death hovers around Ellie Morgan like the friend nobody wants. She doesn’t belong in snowswept Ossipee, New Hampshire; she doesn’t belong in the frigging gift shop she works at, she doesn’t belong with people that death will always take from her, and she definitely does not belong at this black tie party with Kat. But that is where she is, and where he is. Nicholas French, the man who mystifies her with a feeling of home she’s been missing, and impossible knowledge of her troubled soul.
Nicholas followed an abomination that is one of his own, but soon finds fate has driven him to New Hampshire as more than a bystander. He reveals himself to Ellie as being of the Shinigami, a heroic vampire order that “save” their victims from more tragic ends. He knows why Ellie is human repellent, and why physical agony grips them when apart. The Shinigami are cornered into isolated human lives, plucked out when they have no one left to be created for their higher purpose. Ellie is destined to be a legendary Shinigami, and Nicholas her creator.
Nicholas and Ellie’s fates intertwine closer when his latest victim in waiting turns out to be the only person who tethers her to this world, Kat. Fate will not be ignored, and in the only real choice Ellie has made in her life, she must determine a horrifying path; let the vampire who would make her a hero wither to shreds or sacrifice the life of her closest companion.
Julie’s debut novel, Running Home, an Urban Fantasy giving you vampires with a Japanese mythology twist was published by Books of the Dead Press on 22 July. Now the Muscle and Wildcard of the Undead Duo is working on the sequel, Running Away, and a new and fun freakshow called The Harpy. Fear not, the Egyptian sex god The Animal patiently awaits a second draft. Julie revels in all things Buffy, has a sick need for exotic reptiles, and drinks more coffee than Juan Valdez and his donkey combined, if that donkey is allowed to drink coffee. Julie’s a black belt with an almost inappropriate love for martial arts. And pizza. And Rob Zombie. Julie lives in Plymouth, MA, constantly awaiting thunderstorms with her wildly supportive husband and two magnificent boys.
In addition to Running Home, you can also read her stories at Elephant Press and Opening Line Magazine.
How to connect with Julie:
Cassandra Page is a young and new adult urban fantasy writer who wishes she was half as cool as Julie. You can find her here.