Please welcome Julie Flanders, author of Polar Night. Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat.
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Julie, tell me about Polar Night. What's it about and how did you come up with the idea?
First off, let me just say thank you for having me as a guest on your blog, Brinda. I really appreciate it!
Polar Night is about a police detective named Danny Fitzpatrick who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. Danny makes a connection between a woman who has just gone missing and a cold case he has been working on concerning a woman who went missing a few years earlier. His investigation into the cases leads him to the Arctic town of Coldfoot and an old haunted asylum that is now a tourist attraction for visitors to the Arctic Circle. The story takes place in the dead of winter around the winter solstice, so the atmosphere is very cold, very dark, and very creepy. In the end, Danny discovers that things he thought were merely the stuff of horror movies and old legends are actually real, and this turns out to be a discovery that endangers his own life.
I got the idea for the story from a dream I had where I was on an ocean liner in the 1920s and met a man who told me about a woman he loved and lost in Russia during World War I. The final story doesn’t bear much resemblance to the original dream, but if you read it you will see the connection.
I see that you contribute articles to the Cincinnati Animal News Examiner. How long have you been doing that and what's the most interesting story you've written about for them?
I’ve been writing these articles since December, 2011, and I’ve focused primarily on spotlighting animal rescues around my area. I have two stories that tie as my favorite, and both involve dogs from Circle Tail, which is where I adopted my own dog Clancy. Circle Tail’s primary focus is to train and provide assistance dogs for individuals with disabilities, but they also run a small rescue program. The two dogs I wrote about were rescued by Circle Tail but weren’t cut out for the assistance dog program, so they were adopted out. Now one is working as a canine ambassador for a pet-friendly luxury hotel in Pittsburgh and the other works at a funeral home in Northern Kentucky. I thought it was awesome that these two dogs found their place in the world after being lost and abandoned. If you’d like to read about them, you can find Edie the canine concierge here (http://www.examiner.com/article/local-dog-makes-good-pittsburgh) and Jackson the funeral home dog here. (http://www.examiner.com/article/rescue-dog-finds-his-calling-helping-the-bereaved)
What are the most important things a new writer should keep in mind before being published?
I think one really important thing to remember is to be patient. In my experience, the process of publication is definitely a waiting game. You sent out queries and then wait, get a request for a full or partial ms and then wait, and, once you’ve signed a contract, you wait again for the book to actually be published. So you really have no choice but to wait and then wait some more and it’s important to be patient and not drive yourself crazy waiting. I also think the most important thing for any writer to remember is to not give up! I think there are many amazing opportunities available for writers now, with several different paths to publication, so I think it’s important to do your research and figure out which path is right for you, then go for it and don’t give up until you’ve realized your goals and your writing is out there for the world to read.
Show us where you write!
My favorite place to write is on my couch. I love to stretch out with my laptop and write away. My dog Clancy and my cat Nate are my writing companions and, as you can see from the photos, I often find myself fighting them for space. But ultimately we work it out when I remind them who buys their food. :D
Thanks so much, Julie, for stopping by to visit with us today.
Julie's debut novel Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is now available from Ink Smith Publishing at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Find Julie online at her blog, and on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.