MA: First things first…HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! Please help me welcome my special guest today, paranormal suspense writer, Julie Achterhoff! Julie has lived all over the United States. She is the mother of five, one still at home. Julie started writing when she was very young, and kept a few teachers up at night with her horror stories! Attending college later in life, she took every writing class offered. Quantum Earth is her debut novel.
Now, you told me an interesting story about how your children came into the world. Please tell my readers.
JA: I was a stay-at-home mom to five great kids for most of my life. I was also a homebirth midwife. I delivered babies at home. Both of these endeavors were extremely gratifying. Then I turned to writing.
MA: I have three kids – a handful! Five have to be a lot of work. I’m surprised you even have time to write! So why novels? With such a large family, do your own children have “bit roles” as characters in your stories?
JA: I guess I chose novels because I love to write about all the crazy thoughts that run through my head. I also love to read, and thought it would be just the creative outlet I needed as my children grew up and moved out of the house. So far my writing doesn’t have many kids or births in it. I think some of my characters are based on parts of different people I’ve interacted with through the years.
MA: Please tell us about your first story.
JA: My debut novel is called Quantum Earth, and it is about a ragtag team of metaphysical scientists interested in what is happening up to the events of the ending of the Mayan calendar on December 21st, 2012. They formulate a theory that perhaps it is human thought that is creating the increasingly devastating storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, etcetera. The genre is paranormal suspense.
MA: That sure has been a hot topic lately. There was that movie about the Mayan prophecy a couple months back, 2012. So who ends up being the hero or heroine in the story?
JA: Well, I was interested in the whole 2012 scenario and began to have dreams about it. From there I started taking some notes and formulating a plan for the novel. My protagonist is a strong, but slightly confused character in the story. He is softened by the main female lead character. They work very well together and re-think things a lot as things change; which they do at every turn. Of course they are also lovers, so there are some fiery scenes within these pages. At first it’s a secret, but they finally let the world know they love each other. The hero is a real down to earth guy who tries to do the right thing. The problem is that the right thing becomes less and less clear as the story unfolds, especially around some of the convoluted corners.
MA: A doomsday love story! Now that’s a touching angle to an otherwise frightening story premise. Other than the world ending – which is bad enough – is there a special antagonist in the book?
JA: My “bad guy” had to, of course, have childhood issues. He was an outcast until he stumbled into the occult. He becomes very powerful because of an unlikely negative spirit that has latched onto him. This spirit will stop at nothing to get the team to do his bidding and keep the Earth just the way it is so it can reincarnate to unleash its terrible vengeance.
MA: And what comes after you finish off the world? Any future writing plans?
JA: My second effort, called Deadly Lucidity, is in the editing phase with my publisher right now. It should be out within the next couple of months. I really love the storyline in this novel because it’s about actual dreams I’ve had. I keep a dream journal, and definitely have some wild ones. The book is about a woman who has learned to lucid dream, which means she is completely aware during her dreams as if she were really awake. Only it seems she begins to get stuck in one particular dream that keeps coming up. She meets a man who is a ranger who tries to help her. There is also a very nasty, beastly man who is on her tail. Whatever she does she can’t seem to escape. Luckily, she runs into a few people who unwittingly or not are able to point her in the direction of a great castle where she is told she has a chance of breaking the spell. The problem is we don’t know exactly what’s really going on until the very end. My next book will be about a magician-turned private detective. It is as yet untitled. But I’ve written down several notes and am pretty excited about it.
MA: With such fantastic story ideas, it sure sounds like you enjoy writing a lot.
JA: Writing is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I would do it for free if that were the case. In fact, it almost is the case. It’s tough competition out there and no matter how much publicizing you do, it’s never enough. For instance, I still don’t have any reviews on amazon.com even though I’ve done everything I could to get my book in the public eye.
MA: Well, I want to thank you for guest-blogging with me today, and my very best to you as you pursue your writing dreams. You can learn more about Julie at her blog: http://earthwalkr.wordpress.com/