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Getting Witchy With It 2023
Interview with @littleredpandareader
Littleredpandareader: What takes most of your effort when writing?
Julie Vaid: I do not outline when it comes to writing my novels, so a lot of time goes into rearranging scenes I have already written, as well as connecting scene together. I am also terrible at beginnings, so I spend a lot of time on the first chapter or two, making sure it is engaging and giving the reader enough to get into the world and understand how it works.
LRPR: Have you ever considered writing with another author?
JV: Yes, absolutely! I actually have worked on a novel with a friend in college. It was based on his DnD campaign and the world that was set in. Truly a great experience! It was valuable to get instant feedback on the direction the story was going and the actions the characters were taking. Also, for a few episodes of the podcast I co-host (The Write Around Podcast), we did an exercise where one of us wrote the beginning to a story then the others finished it. It turned out to be a fun way to see the different writing styles we all had and directions we chose to go in. I think collaborative writing is a lot of fun and gives great perspectives into your own writing as well as others’ writing.
LRPR: What helps you relax while writing?
JV: Music! I love music and rely on it for inspiration and setting the mood for when I write. I have playlists for everything, and could not imagine writing (or doing anything really) without listening to something.
LRPR: What is the hardest part about getting out there?
JV: Imposter syndrome is huge for me. I absolutely love the stories I am writing, but there are days when I find myself comparing to others or doubting if anyone is going to enjoy my books as much as I do. I’ve gained a lot of inspiration from other authors on social media, as well as the responses I have gotten from my beta readers and critique partner so far. I definitely think I will continue to struggle because I am a perfectionist and nothing is ever good enough for me, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the journey, and I think struggling in the beginning is a way to gain confidence and learn lessons about what works and what doesn’t work for you.
LRPR: How would you describe your book's ideal reader?
JV: An Element of Darkness is a new adult fantasy adventure novel. My ideal reader would be someone who likes the Graceling realm or the Witcher series. Someone who likes magic systems, assassins, friends to lovers, good vs evil, and found families. It’s a very plot driven story, focusing on a strong female lead standing up for what she believes in, regardless of the consequences.
LRPR: Is there anything you would like your readers to know about you personally?
JV: As long as I can remember, I have loved to write. At first, I wrote as an escape from reality when I was a kid, but now it’s a deep passion for the art that drives me. Publishing my first book is a dream come true, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.
Interview with @mamabookowl.interviews
mamabookowl.interviews: You have a debut novel coming out in December. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about it?
Julie Vaid: Thank you! Sure, An Element of Darkness is a fast-paced young/new adult fantasy adventure novel that centers around the fictional country of Calgonia. In their country, all people have power over one of four elements: water, air, earth and fire. There is, however, a rare fifth power over darkness, which comes at a dangerous cost. Casey Callow - a prestigious member of the Protection Guild - is tasked with understanding this mysterious element plaguing her country. But not everything is as it seems, and she soon discovers the rival Assassin Guild may have a hand in Calgonia’s pain. In order to save those closest to her from falling into their clutches, Casey teams up with a former assassin, Noriko, and fights to bring down these assassins before it’s too late.
MI: What interested you in the events to write a story based on them?
JV: I have always loved fantasy and the adventure of it. The idea of possessing a magic power, especially over something so essential as an element, is so fun to me. I think growing up with Harry Potter and Narnia and all that made me love the idea of magic. Just the creating of a new and mysterious world that the characters get to explore is fascinating to me.
MI: So, you have a favorite element? Which would you choose for yourself?
JV: My favorite element in the book is air because it is the most versatile in its uses. For myself, I would choose fire, though, because it is the most destructive, and you would never need to worry about making a campfire again!
MI: So, do you have an influence that got you into writing?
JV: I have always loved writing since I was a kid. One thing that got me into fantasy specifically was learning about mythology in school, specifically Greek mythology. I loved the abilities and influences the Gods had over the worlds they were a part of. That was really the first spark for me as a kid, reading The Iliad, The Odyssey, and all the other stories that make-up Greek mythology. The adventure of it as well drew me to that type of work.
MI: How long have you been writing for?
JV: I have been writing since middle school, so 15+ years. The beginning ideas of An Element of Darkness really started back then as well. It was a completely different story than what it is now, but I’m so proud to have given life to the characters after all these years. It has been really awesome to see my writing evolve and become better over the years. I always strive to keep improving with each new story I write or edit I make.
MI: If you could have a conversation with any of your characters, who would it be, why, and what would you talk about?
JV: I would love to have a conversation with Cai. He is a side character in An Element of Darkness with a more unique set of powers. He is from the neighboring country of Traja and possess abilities that allow him to feel the emotions of anyone around him. I would love to hear about his view of life and interpretations of other people. I think he would be a good judge of character and see the truth behind the masks most people put on in life.
MI: Any advice you'd like to give to aspiring authors?
JV: I would say to take yourself seriously and don’t let others discourage you. If you wrote a book, no matter how long or how intricate, you are an author. For a while I told myself it was not possible for me to be a published author because I didn’t go to school for English or have any connections. I think that if writing and publishing your work is something you are passionate about then take it seriously, make a plan, get yourself out there and go for that dream. Don’t worry about what other people say or what your background may be or anything else.
MI: What's a random fact about yourself?
JV: I am a huge animal person and stop to point out every dog I see!
MI: Anything additional you'd like to add?
JV: I just want to thank everyone who has supported me on this writing journey and been excited with me. I think it is important to reflect on how far you have come in any journey, and I know my younger self would be so proud of where I am today. Also, I run a podcast called The Write Around where we talk all things writing, and I am very passionate about that as well. Make sure to check that out as well!