I’m so excited to have a fellow author & amazing friend on my blog today. She is an incredible person and a gifted writer. Welcome, Julie. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.
Last week, I did an interview with her character Ocean Banks from Siren Cove. Today, we will be talking about Julie’s new release.
So, tell us about your newest release.
My new release is FLAWED PERFECTION: A Collection of Winter Wishes. It is a holiday-themed anthology of short romance stories written by Simone Beaudelaire, Jude Ouvrard, Marnie Cate, Taylor Dawn, Savannah Morgan, and me, J.M. Northup.
What is the story about?
My short story is called UNWRAPPED GIFTS. It’s a tale about a career-focused lawyer, who turns to her gay best friends to father a child for her.
Who is the main character?
Tally Abram and her best friends, Lex and Ishkode Ackerman.
What inspired this tale?
I wanted to write a romance that encompassed a controversial current event mixed with the changing views of how a family is defined.
My goal was to show that love exists in many forms.
How did the story come to you?
I thought about the recent issues with polygamy and how the law defined co-habitation. This fit with my protagonist being a lawyer and it just grew from there.
Did you have to research for this novel and if so, why?
Yes. I needed to research Minnesota Law and news about court cases that affected legislation. I also needed to research terms and cultural aspects related to the LGBT community.
If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn and why?
I would have to say I was most surprised by the fact that a lot of laws seem to be written with the intent to hinder or dictate behavior instead of being put in place to protect someone’s rights – and I don’t mean in regards to sexual preference either.
EXAMPLE: Traditionally, custody can only be granted to 2 parents, so if both biological parents have guardianship then a step-parent cannot. This means a step-parent has no rights to sign for the child or to continue to be a parent to them if their spouse dies. Imagine being a child born into a family where one parent is already remarried, and you live with the married parent full-time, only seeing the other parent periodically. Suddenly, you lose that parent, which leads to you being taken away from your step-parent, as they no longer have a right to you. Messed up, right?
Thankfully, things are beginning to change, as my story explains.
Do you relate to your character?
Yes and no. I am purely heterosexual in a monogamous marriage so I don’t really relate to the LGBT aspects of the story. Still, I know what it means to love, having been married to my best friend for over 25 years, and love is love. I didn’t write explicit sex scenes because the story wasn’t about sex but rather the love between committed, caring partners.
Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
I think there are aspects of my person in every character I create, but overall, I would say no. I have a strong work ethic like Tally, but I’m not a workaholic. I am open-minded and accepting of others, but my personality isn’t as free and spontaneous as Lex’s personality. I’m dedicated to my family the way Ishkode is, but I’m not as fierce as he can be or as temperamental.
What made you write these characters; what made them important to you or made you want to tell their story?
I didn’t want to write a formulated romance. I wanted to write something that spoke about love in a deeper more profound way. The idea of the anthology was to have flawed women who were empowered by love. The struggles Tally has of trying to balance life between family and career seemed to fit the bill for me.
Is there anything specific you want readers to know about this piece of work?
Yes, I want them to know this is not about sex or sexual preference. It isn’t even about laws. This story is about love and family. It’s about understanding that we can’t fit everyone into one mold. There are so many different kinds of family units out there, and the only thing that matters is that they are healthy, happy, and consensual.
It doesn’t matter if a child has traditional parents, single or divorced parents, step-parents, two moms, two dads, or some kind of blend. What matters to a child is that they have a loving, nurturing environment with people who learn from their mistakes and accept unconditionally despite their flaws.
I know there can be an argument made about religious factors where poly-amorous relationships are involved, but the truth is you have to learn to live in the world which you exist in. Just because one person believes a certain way doesn’t mean another does. That’s why there are so many religions, variations of each religion, atheists, and agnostics. Regardless of what you believe or don’t believe, everyone has the right to love and be loved.
When will the novel be available for purchase?
The anthology is available now at the following link: www.amazon.com/Flawed-Perfection-Collection-Winter-Wishes-ebook/dp/B01N8QWBUK
I will be expanding the short into a full novel, but that won’t be released until closer to the end of 2017. I have a few other projects to complete first. J
Okay, let’s learn more about you, as a writer Who is J.M. Northup?
I’m a native Minnesotan who currently resides in Texas. I am a wife, mother, and now, grandmother! I am a HUGE cat lady and I can’t look at an otter without smiling J
I’m super casual. I prefer to wear socks in the house and tennis shoes outside. My favorite clothes are my many cat-themed pajamas, which must to be the best part about being an author – I get to wear them at work! LOL
What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing when I was very young as a way to cope with difficulties and to explore my feelings.
What is your favorite book you have written and why
Um, that’s a hard one to answer. There are things I love about all my stories, but I think I’ll go with FEARS OF DARKNESS because that was my debut novel. It is the most raw and organic for who I was and where I began.
When you are not writing, what do you do to recharge?
I read, watch movies or TV, crochet, go for walks, or spend time with my family. I am so in love with my granddaughter!
Are you an Indie Author or are you part of a publishing house?
I guess I’d have to say somewhere in between. I began self-published, but after only a few months I signed on with a small independent press called, Creativia. I have been with them ever since.
Do you read books within the genres you write?
I do. I love Young Adult/New Adult and have grown in my love of romance novels (thanks to my best friend, colleague, and best-selling romance writer, Simone Beaudelaire). However, my FAVORITE is historical fiction! (Though Simone writes amazing romances with historical settings, even she takes a backseat to my ultimate favorite authors, Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear).
Besides being an author, do you have a second job?
I don’t, unless you count blogging. LOL
What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I’ve enjoyed the people I have been privileged to meet. I have met and befriended some truly cool people. I feel like my life has been enriched by the readers and writers I talk to and that I have learned a lot from the relationships I have been blessed with. Oh, and the pajama thing! LOL
How can your readers connect with you?
Creativia Publishing Author Page: http://www.creativia.org/ya-fiction-and-dystopian-thrillers-texas-author-jm-northup.html
J.M. Northup’s Book Group on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/952331691462763
Google Pus: http://plus.google.com/u/0/104139479334700829684
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/J.M.-Northup/e/B00KKQVFI0