Interview With Julia Maiola

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ProfileSmallWhat made you want to be a writer?

img_2175I’m not sure if there was a defining moment that made me realize it was something I wanted to do. I do know that I had wanted to be one since I learned how to write. Kindergarten must’ve been when I learned the alphabet. Reading was something that came easily to me and I learned quickly. I loved stories, and especially historical fiction books. Being transported to other worlds was amazing — going back in time, going on adventures, and meeting all sorts of people, and I still love it. I think the understanding that writing would allow me to create my own stories was what was most appealing to me. Once I learned, I told myself that this was something I was going to pursue. And somehow I’ve stuck with it all this time.

Pictured are a couple of stories I wrote when I was really little. You can click on them to enlarge them. They’re hysterical! The first one doesn’t even have a proper ending, that’s the entire story on that one page! My parents saved almost everything I wrote, whether it was for school or for fun.


How important has reading been to your writing?

It’s probably been the most important part. Honestly, I don’t think anyone can write well without reading. Just like musicians must study music by listening to compositions, writers must study writing by reading.
historical fiction boooksI have always been an avid reader. In elementary school I would read the most advanced books, books meant for students in higher grade levels. I enjoy it, but it’s also a way to learn and improve my writing. And I love learning just as much as I love reading. There is always more to learn and practice to be had.

I am excited by the idea of being able to sit down and write a book of my own that I would enjoy reading. And as I write it feels the same as reading. Even though I’m the one recording what’s happening in the story, and even though I plan my stories extensively, I’m just as eager as any reader to know what will happen next.

Has anything else driven you to create stories the way reading has?

While not to the extent that reading has, I think playing make-believe as a child has had a pretty large impact. I’d play with action figures, stuffed animals, and dolls like any kid. But I’d create these elaborate story lines and act them out with my action figures. Looking back now, this was writing without putting down any words. These stories would have a beginning, middle, and end. They’d have a conflict. The action figures would be dynamic characters and have complex relationships with each other. If reading is where my desire to write came from, then playing make-believe is what grew the necessary imagination. I love stories, and I love writing, and so the two of those form my passion of creative writing.

Why do you specialize in historical fiction books?

I have a love of history that writing allows me to explore. We have letters and diaries, photographs and films that have been left behind for us to read and look at, but historical fiction books are the one thing that can actually transport us back in time and experience history for ourselves. Other mediums can accomplish this too, like movies, hands-on museums, and reenactments, but books have no limitations other than imagination and allow readers to go back in time in their own head. I hope to eventually write an entire collection of historical fiction books.

What other activities do you enjoy?

Aside from writing and reading, I also love to game. Some games have these amazing stories, characters, and visuals, and it’s so easy to become engrossed in their worlds. Playing them can be an experience similar to getting lost in a book, and they sometimes even serve as inspiration for my own story ideas. My absolute favorite story game is Dishonored.

I’m also a fan of competitive gaming and esports. A lot of my game time is spent playing Rocket League and I invest quality training time into it just as one would with a traditional sport. I follow the professional scene closely, watching the matches online, and rooting for my favorite teams. I suppose “Rocket League” would be a suitable answer to any questions having to do with sports.

What kinds of books and movies do you enjoy?

Books: Fantasy is my number one genre of books. My favorite subgenre of fantasy is grimdark. My number two is historical fiction books (though that is my favorite to write). And I enjoy the odd science fiction once in a while. Time travel is the BEST. My favorite books and authors are always changing, and if you ask me what they are, I will answer with whatever I most recently read that I liked a lot.

Movies: I love action! Sword fights, chases and running, cars and motorcycles driving super fast. If there’s danger involved then I will probably enjoy it no matter what the genre is. With that said, my all-time favorite movie is The Secret Like of Walter Mitty and I highly recommend it to all people. The visuals are amazing, the message is thought-provoking, the humor and emotions are spot-on, but most of all, I relate to the ideas in it.

What kind of music do you listen to?

Classic rock is boss. Aerosmith, Foreigner, and Bon Jovi are some of my favorites, as well as Italian classics. I enjoy the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I enjoy some musicals, such as The Phantom of the Opera and The Greatest Showman, though I’m not much of a musical person. Video game music is enjoyable too and I’ve recently been branching out more and listening to different types of genres.

Now, I cannot write with music playing. When I write, it has to be dead silent or I can’t concentrate. Once in a while I’ll put on some atmospheric soundtrack from video games, but even then it has to be on low and only when I’m planning or writing quick, short drafts. If I’m going to have a productive writing session where I write a few hundred words in one sitting, then it needs to be silent.

Do you outline before you write?

I outline as much as I can before I write. I usually have the entire story mapped out. And I continue to outline even throughout my writing. Notebooks are my best friends. I even have mini ones that fit in my coat pockets so I can take them everywhere with me. If I randomly get scene ideas then I’ll write them out in detail to save for later, but if I don’t have ending in mind for a novel, then I won’t officially start writing it. In the plotting versus pantsing debate among writers, I am firmly on the plotting side.
historical fiction books

How do you get your ideas?

It’s hard to explain, but basically, just from living and letting my mind wander. Watching movies, reading books, playing video games, and especially learning about history all play a large part. My mind tends to linger on things that I’ve heard or seen if I find them interesting enough. I’ll daydream about it or think about it. It might be days, weeks, or months later when something might start to form. If it’s been months, then what I’ll be thinking is nothing like the original movie or book that started me on this train of thought.

Whatever I’m thinking, though, it’ll sort of play out like a movie in my head. Which ones I write down will depend on whether or not I recognize it as such. Sometimes, it’ll just be sudden, like, “Whoa, I have a great idea for a story.” Or it’ll be more gradual, like, “Hey, I think this might make a good story.”

Is your family supportive of your writing?

historical fiction booksMy family is very supportive, and I’m very grateful. I’ll give them updates on my progress here and there and especially let them know when I’ve started something new or am finishing something up. But I don’t tell them much about the content of what I’m writing, not until I’m well into it. They don’t read anything until at least the first draft is done, unless I need help with a scene or a sentence. Or a word. They always share my enthusiasm and are willing to help where they can. Even my extended family is supportive, sharing writing articles with me and asking how the writing is coming. My closest friends get the brunt of it. They’re the ones I spill everything to and ask the most for help. If they’re tired of always hearing about it, they don’t show it. Guys, if you’re reading this, sorry, but also thank you. My family and my friends are probably my greatest blessing.

Do you have any pets?img_0241

I have one orange cat named Jack. He knows some dog tricks: sit, spin, shake, lay down. He’s very talkative. Seriously, you can have full-on conversations with him and he’ll look you right in the eye and respond to everything you say. When he’s not talking he’s sleeping. But when he sleeps, he purrs very loudly. Or he snores. So really he’s never silent. And he follows me everywhere. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do you write full-time?

It sure feels like I do. There’s always something I’m working on. Even if I’m not actually writing, there’s always something writing-related that needs to be done, whether that’s researching, outlining, updating social media, or making business inquiries. This takes up a lot of time. And even if I’m not doing physical work, I’m always thinking about what I will write. The stories are always playing out in my head. Scenes are constantly developing. So in that sense, yes, it is full-time, and the amount of time I put in every day is certainly full-time. But I do have a full-time job as a digital marketing specialist. My dream is become a full-time author someday.

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

I’d love to be able to go full-time without having to wonder how I will pay the bills. It’s not a worry at this point in my life, but it is something I work toward with everything I do, and it’s my dream. My number one goal is to be read. I want people to read my work, historical fiction books and others, and enjoy them enough to come back for more. There’s really no way to measure this goal as it doesn’t have anything to do with numbers.

However, there are ways to progress toward it, which is why I’d like to encourage everyone who has read my work to share it with friends and family. If you have a paperback, let them borrow it. Donate copies to your local library. If you downloaded an ebook or audiobook edition, loan it to your friends and family. img_2156The more people tell me that they’ve read my work, the more encouraged I become to keep working at my passion. To write more, to learn more, and to create stories that readers want to read. It all brings me closer to achieving my goals and dream.

Keep an eye out on my Amazon author page for new releases and discounts!

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