Saturday, 9 May 2015

Blog Tour + Interview + Giveaway - Forever Julia by Jodi Carmichael

Find the tour schedule here.

Title: Forever Julia

Publication date: May 1, 2015

Publisher: Great Plains Publications

Author: Jodi Carmichael

Six months ago, Julia's life was perfect. Then her dad died. Now she lives with her grieving mother and sick grandmother in a puny apartment above their bookstore. After a dark bout of depression, Julia is fragile, and mourns both her father and her old life. But she has one thing to be happy about: Jeremy, the most popular boy at school, has chosen her. Jeremy's love for Julia is passionate, even obsessive. As she grows closer to Jeremy, Julia pushes her disapproving friends and family away. But Jeremy only becomes more controlling and Julia has to decide what lines cannot be crossed.

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When did you start writing?

My dream of writing first took seed in 7th grade when I wrote an ongoing serial, “Too Young to Die.” My classmates loved the melodrama and I loved the instant feedback.
I continued on writing poetry and short stories throughout high school, but shelved my hopes of being a career writer as I was worried I wouldn’t earn a living. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own and started making up bedtime stories that I revisited my writing dream. My mother, who’d always insisted I was born to write, enrolled me in my first writing course pushing me to take my first tentative step.
And it was love at first word. It was as if I finally unlocked another piece of me that been hidden away, nearly forgotten, and I felt whole. At peace.
Eager to hone my skills, okay develop some skills, I took course after course, workshop after workshop. Wanting to know if I had a future, or if I was an untalented hack, I submitted a manuscript for review at the SCBWI LA conference in 2007. I was thrilled when it was nominated for The Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award.
Now, writing is like eating or breathing. It must be done or I become cranky and restless. Sounds a bit like an addiction, and I suppose it is, in a way. I think most writers feel that way.
I still take workshops, seminars and conference because with writing, as is true for so much in life, there’s so much more to learn.

What makes you want to write?

It is a compulsion. I have tried quitting but characters and new story ideas keep coming and they won’t be ignored! lol

Do you ever get writer's block and what do you do to get over it?

Unfortunately it happens. To force myself through it, I write a blog post, or a series of blog posts. I do more writing exercises, read more books, read inspirational writing books. Whatever it takes to get to the other side of “The Block.” I actually wrote a blog post about writers block back in 2012. I like to revisit that post when I am wordless and to remind myself that I I’ve had two books published since then. It motivates me to work through it. You can read it here.

Do you have a special way of going about writing?

I write by the seat of my pants – a Pantser – but I like to think I am in recovery and am attempting plotting to stay away from massive rewrites. I love to write dialogue and it flows through me fast in the first draft and then I fill in the scenes with setting, senses, emotions, character movement, etc. I let the characters drive the story, but reign them in when they go to far off the grid!

Do you have any works in progress?

Yes, two in fact.

I am in the midst of writing a middle grade novel; Ford and Ellie: Family of Spies. It is loosely based on the mystery of my Grandfather's still sealed World War II records. Few facts are known about his RCAF years, but family legends of spying with William Stephenson, covert flight plans, and code breaking abound. In my novel, Ford and Ellie, two 12-year-old cousins solve the mystery while retracing their Great-Grandfather's SOE footsteps. Set in Paris, it is a current day James Bond meets Spy Kids.

My other novel is a teen speculative fiction called Gemini and it is the first in a trilogy. It’s about twins who are charged with saving the world. That may be the most vague book description written! It is still in the story concept development stage.

What are your hobbies? 

Reading, cottaging, walking.

How did you choose the character names for Forever Julia?

Julia came to me as Julia, but Jeremy took a bit of work. Since he is the third in his family I wanted a name that has been around for a bit. Jeremy actually dates back to the middle ages, so that it was perfect! Annika is a favourite name of mine and I wanted something as unique as she is and “Annika” fit the bill. Tyler used to be two characters, which I morphed into one. It was a huge undertaking and the “new and improved” character’s personality suited the name Tyler, best.

Who is your favourite character in Forever Julia?

It is a close tie between Julia and Annika. Julia because she comes so far by the end of the book and Annika because she is every cool girl I wish I had the guts to be in high school. She is confident, fearless, creative, and compassionate.

How did you get the idea for Forever Julia?

It started as a short story assignment and I loved Julia so much I wanted to know more about her, so I kept writing.

What was your favourite part of writing Forever Julia?

That is a hard question. I love exploring relationships so developing all of those; between Julia and her Grandma, Julia and Annika, and ultimately the tumultuous relationship between she and Jeremy was extremely satisfying.

What are you currently reading? 

I have two on the go; The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie; A Flavia de Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

What is your favourite book? 

Just one?! That is crazy. Ack. Today, at this very second I will pick A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving because when I read it, it changed the way I thought about literature. But a very close second is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This may be my actual current top pick. “Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.” Those are words to live your life by and I think of them almost daily.

Tomorrow, I would give different titles because books are like fruit: a banana is not better than an apple, they are merely different and one book is not better than another: they are just different.

Who is your favourite author? 

Hmmm, again this is super hard. I like these authors a lot right now: R.J. Palacio, John Green, Alan Bradley, Anthony Doerr, and Margaret Peterson Haddix.

What is your favourite film?

Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Café. I saw it again recently and it brought back so many memories of when I saw it the first time. I also love Blade Runner. A lot.

What is your favourite TV show?

I don’t watch a ton of tv right now, but I PVR New Girl, The Voice, and my guilty pleasure is Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles.

Quick-fire questions:

Chocolate or ice cream? Chocolate, no question.
Paperback or ebook? Paperback. Ebooks do not do well in bath tubs.
Dogs or cats? Dogs. Cats are not to be trusted.
Go out or stay in? Depends. Can I say that? HAH! I just did! Warm summer day - out. Cold winter night - in.
Summer or winter? Summer. Winter sucks tomatoes.

About the Author

JODI CARMICHAEL lives in Winnipeg where she can often be found dancing in the living room with her two wildly imaginative daughters, her patient and supportive husband, and a scruffy Border Terrier named Zoe. Jodi’s previous book for young readers, Spaghetti Is NOT A Finger Food, won numerous awards and has been a multi-week Bestseller.

Visit Jodi Carmichael at

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