Friday, June 29, 2012

The Wild Wood

Today is a very special day for one of my really good friends: Julie Anne Nelson. It is her book's birthday!!! Happy Birthday THE WILD WOOD! (Well, technically, it was out a little early so it's birthday was a couple days ago, but for the sake of my post, it is today. TODAY.) 

THE WILD WOOD is available in print and digital form at amazon. Click on the image to check it out. 
Summary: In the town of Dunlowe, being different can be deadly. No one knows this better than the seven girls born on the exact same day, at the exact same time. From birth, they've been feared, judged, and controlled. And yet, still loved by their families. Still hoping for a future. Still believing that acceptance would one day come. As their seventeenth birthday approaches, events occur that leave Cecily Daye and the other girls grasping with the possibility that their oppressors might have been right about them all along. Maybe they are as evil as the town has believed. But without an answer, they must make a choice when the town turns on them: to die or to run to the one place no person would follow—they must enter The Wild Wood.

In honor of this special day, I asked Julie a couple questions about writing and her book. 

1. How long have you been writing?

Like many writers, I have been writing and creating story worlds since I was a small child, but four and a half years ago, I finally buckled down and focused on writing—and finishing—novels.  The Wild Wood was the first young adult novel I wrote after writing a commercial fiction series, and what can I say, I got hooked and every novel I’ve written since is YA.

2. Why do you write?

I write because only through the written word can I process my life and the world around me (both real and imaginary… yes, writers, you know what I mean).  Disappearing into fictional worlds and being the person who, through a series of finger motions, gets to set them down and hand them to others never fails to inspire gratitude.  

3. Where did you get the idea for The Wild Wood?

When I was a middle school teacher, I was so busy with creating massive battle activities and lesson plans, serving as the school videographer, and sponsoring a film club, I didn’t have the time or energy to write entire novels, so I developed what I would come to call the “Quote/Proverb Project.”  I would (mostly) randomly choose a quote out of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations or from a series of proverb books and write a few pages of a story.  The Wild Wood was inspired by a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley from The Invitation, “Away, away, from men and towns, To the wild wood and the downs—.”  I recently read the original story that I wrote and some names were the same, but the story took me in a very different direction.  The really wonderful thing about the project was after almost 200 different stories, that first, blank page thing that writers face doesn’t affect me at all.

4. What was the hardest part about writing The Wild Wood?

Because The Wild Wood was written and rewritten several times, I would have to say that the hardest part was finding the most authentic story to tell in what is the beginning of a fairly complex world/series.  I only write series, so knowing what part of the grander story to tell in each book is always a consideration.  Thankfully, I have a great group of readers to help me hone the story, and they were invaluable to the creation of this book.

5. What was your favorite part about writing this book?

The answer to this question is very easy: Dusty.  My main character’s brother delights me every single time I read his name, and happily, all of my readers have felt the same way.  In a broader sense, the characters are always what I love most and that feeling that I would know them if I bumped into them on the street (which would be a very bad thing because I really don’t want to live in the town of Dunlowe!).

6. Name 5 things (unrelated to writing) about yourself.

  • I love music in a big way and if I never saw another television show, it would be nothing to the idea of never being able to hear another song.
  • I am short and recently, to reach a high shelf, I put on a pair of my five-inch heels and successfully accomplished my goal, while feeling like a bit of an oddball.
  • I feel really blessed in my life and last year sought to balance the cosmic scale by becoming a platelet donor (like giving blood but a little more time-consuming), and I’m really fired up about the possibility that my blood is saving babies.
  • I am a bit on the OCD side of the force and if I cook you dinner, there is no worry at all that anything wasn’t washed, rinced, soaked in lemon juice, and then rinsed again (no ecoli here!).  
  • I love pretty dresses, especially prints, which means my closet should require a warning label and special glasses.

7. Since seven is such an important number in your book, we have to have seven questions, so what has been the best moment of your publishing journey?

I would definitely have to say that the high point was the fact that my thirteen-year-old niece read The Wild Wood like an addict and gave me her review, “Amazing.”  And she’s already pestering her mom to pester me about the sequel.  From six years teaching middle school, I know that middle schoolers won’t read a book that quickly unless it grabs them and the fact that it did made me feel like I honored the story I was supposed to tell.

Big thanks to Kasie for helping get the word out about my book and for all the support she gave me during its creation.  She’s pretty fabulous!

Thanks, Julie, for being on my blog today! I'm so excited that other people can read your book now!  


  1. Oooh, sounds like a good one! Great cover, too. Good luck to Julie. :)

  2. aw drops

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    EE-AW EE-AW!


    picks up jaw

    fixes eyes

    rolls up tongue

    buries face in ass


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