Alchemy - The Magic Of Words

books, reading, writing

Interviews & News

New!

 

 The Puzzling Brain Of Martha Tidberry

 Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity: Missive Three

The Box That Jane Built

Sorry, unable to upload pictures due to the maximum allowed on this site.

However, more details can be found on my other site:- Click here

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The Edge of Madness!

A new thriller /horror box set from Paper Gold Publishing...

 

Amazon links:-

UK

USA

Germany

France

Spain

Italy

Canada

Netherlands

Japan

Australia

 

Contents

CAPTIVE (BOOK 1 OF A NEW LIFE SERIES) — Samantha Jacobey
TROPICAL NIGHTMARES — Kelly Cozzone
NORTH BY NORTHEAST — Cherime MacFarlane
MY DAYLIGHT MONSTERS — Sarah Dalton
DUPLICITOUS — Stephanie Nett
DIRTY BUSINESS — Julie Elizabeth Powell
NO CALLER ID — Ruby West
A CRYSTAL SNOWFLAKE — Holly Barbo
BLOOD IS POWER — Ella Medler
LOST SHADOWS — Julie Elizabeth Powell
SPLIT — Michele E. Gwynn
SLOTS — R.E. Hargrave
BLOOD CROW — Cleve Sylcox
SECRETS ROOM — Kim Faulks
13 — Julie Elizabeth Powell

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NEW BOOKS & AUDIOBOOKS

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Gone, narrated by Nancy Peterson

 

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The Fairy In The Tale

 

Audiobook Sample

Narrated by Sybil Johnson

 

 

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Tales From The Cacao Tree -

new collection of short stories from the Mind's Eye Series (#4) this time based on chocolate!  Each story is based on a photograph.

This set includes three of my stories:

It'll Be The Death Of You

Another Window

Pleasing The Heavens

 

 

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Legacy - new fantasy box set which includes my epic fantasy story:

The Avalon Trilogy

 

 

 

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13

 

Narrated by Don Warrick

 

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Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity: Missive One

 

Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity: Missive Two

 

Weird 1 is also available as a audiobook

UK

USA

 

PGP - By Moonlight

Paranormal Box Set

Weird #1 & #2 included

 

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 Affairs of the Heart

Romance Box Set

Paper Gold Publishing

15 stories

Still only 99c /99p

Misadventures Of Fatwoman included:-

One of my stories is included:

Misadventures Of Fatwoman

 

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Listening Is Good For You!

Thanks to Darcia Helle for letting me post on her blog.

 

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 New Audiobook!

13

Narrated by Don Warrick

 

 

 

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New Audiobook - Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity: Missive One

 

Narrated by: Alan Weyman 

 

 

 

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New Audiobook - Three Into One

 

 Narrated by Phil Mayes

 

 

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 New Audiobook - Expressions

 

Narrated by Alan Weyman

 

 

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New Audiobook - Slings & Arrows

 

Narrated by Maddie Baylis

 

 

 

 

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New Short Story

Heaven: A Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy

 

 

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Audiobook!

Knowing Jack is now an audiobook, narrated by Joel Froomkin

Audible

Amazon

 

 

 

 

Audiobook!

A Murderer's Heart is now an audiobook, narrated by Melanie Fraser.

 Audible

Amazon

iTunes

Audiobook!

Christmas Past is now available as an audiobook.

Narrated by Don Warrick

Audible

 Amazon

 

 

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 Missive Three is now available:-

 

 

Weird: A Henry Ian Darling Oddity: Missive Two

 Here's Missive One

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Another interview, thank you, Lisa M Collins

 

An unusual way to interview - but fun!

 Interview coming soon...

 

Here it is!  9 April, 2015

My interview with I. B. Nosey

 

 

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A great way to promote your books with

BookHippo

 I've had several of my books on this site, especially when they've been on special offers and my recent publications.

 I've also been featured author and had my 'drabble' published (100 words story)

BookHippo.uk Drabblist

eBook bargains

eBook deals

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 An exciting new collection from the Mind's Eye Series - cover reveal.

 

 Read more about it on my Goodreads blog.

 Available for pre-order for only 99p /99c - price will be $3.99 when it goes live on March 16, 2015

 

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Podcast now available - my radio experience on Saint FM with Sarah Banham -  http://loveofbooks.co.uk/radio-podcasts

 

Interview with Fantastic Books

 

Interview with Nat Wood

 

Interview with Free Book Reviews

 

Interview with Maria Savva


 
In the next few weeks I will be introducing you to some of my favourite writers, many of whom I met here on Goodreads.

My first guest is Julie Elizabeth Powell, author of Gone, Slings & Arrows, The Avalon Trilogy, Knowing Jack and A Murderer's Heart.

I first met Julie here on Goodreads a couple of years ago when we swapped books for review. I loved her book Gone and since then I have become a fan of her work. I’ve read all of her books and we have also become good friends, and I met her for the first time recently at her wedding reception.

As well as answering my questions, Julie has very generously offered to giveaway copies of Gone, Slings & Arrows, The Star Realm and Knowing Jack. For UK winners these will be print copies, pdf copies for international winners.

At the end of the interview, I'll let you know how you can enter!

Here are Julie’s replies to a few questions I asked her about her writing career and her books:

Is there a particular author or book that inspired you to start writing?

No. However, I’ve always loved to read and dabbled with words. But the ‘push’ to actually keep the words that flowed into a book came from what happened to my daughter, Samantha.

That was the basis and inspiration for your first novel, Gone. Please tell us a bit more about that.

I wrote Gone after what happened to my daughter, Samantha, in 1984, when her heart stopped and she died but was brought back to be left severely brain-damaged. A question kept nagging at me – Where had she gone? I mean, her body was lying here, true, but what had made her who she was had just vanished… her memories, her character… everything! On one of those many ‘not able to sleep’ nights, this idea came to me…she must be somewhere else, what if?…and Avalon* was born. I just had to write the story.

(*Avalon is the fantasy world featured in Gone)

At first, writing the book was about satisfying myself... helping me understand her tragic life – and mine. Then, as I continued to write, the world I’d created evolved and I thought this could really help others too. Though I don’t know how many other people that have suffered these exact circumstances, in my experience I don’t think there are /have been many cases like Samantha (brain okay, then wiped, to put it crudely) that lasted for so many years. I thought this book might be an answer that could satisfy a sorrowful heart. Whatever the circumstances, for those left behind, loss is loss… and love gets so tangled; this was one way of trying to sort things out. After Samantha died the second and final time, things didn’t improve for me much (you never get over it), but writing definitely helped… and it’s a tribute to her now. I also like to think that it could be true. Imagine that!

The book was inspired by Samantha. When you read the book, you’ll maybe understand the mixed feelings involved in a relationship like that – but there is no denying, she was my inspiration for this book.

Whenever I choose a book to read, I tend to go for those involved in fantasy, mystery, magic… that sort of thing. So, anyone of a like mind will immediately appreciate the setting etc. and I hope enjoy the story. However, I feel sure that even those who don’t necessarily select this type of genre would be helped or maybe given a lighter heart, if they read Gone, even if they’ve never suffered loss. I know that many will relate to the themes of love, loss, hope, fear, guilt and so on – especially those who have lost a child – and understand the bonds of love and all the strands that can become jumbled. They will gain more than they could guess… I’m sure of it.

I think Gone is different from other books because, yes it’s a fantasy, yes it’s about loss and grief… and finding a way through those things, but this story is about following an identity, which has been stripped from its owner. While a withering body lies waiting to die, its essence, its character, its memories are seen in another place, a mysterious land found by a mother (who thinks she’s crazy, of course who wouldn’t!) where she tries to come to terms with the tragic circumstances of her daughter’s situation. It’s not about Heaven, although some may have that opinion, it’s not about death even, as no one has actually died in the true sense, it’s about life and what makes us who we are and how the bonds of love can never be broken. It’s a battle against fear and guilt, sorrow and all the other emotions put upon us in the wake of loss. I’ve never heard of another story quite like this, not least due to the fact it was inspired by an exceptional truth. It shifts from supposed reality to other plains of existence, not least the added, and most surprising, adventure (which of course is a test) where the mother encounters a talking flower who has trouble remembering jokes, goblins and fairies… just to mention a few. But, more importantly it demonstrates the embodiment of fear, which is a huge hurdle for her to overcome – like for most of us, I would say. I also think that it’s funny as well as sad, enjoyable as well as emotive and will, I hope, help others as well as entertain. I don’t think it’s ever been done in this particular way before. Yes, there are stories about ‘after death’ and there’ve been dramas looking into the effects of such things as Alzheimer’s and cases where people have been brain-damaged in other ways… but nothing like this – the whole unique package.


When did you discover your love of writing?

Always loved it but writing Gone, and then being able to have it published, awakened a need, as if a dam had burst and all those submerged ideas swam to the surface and gulped greedily at the air.


Do you have any tips for someone who is considering self-publishing their own book?

Journey Into The Unknown… And Beyond


When I first found Lulu.com it felt like a million butterflies had materialised all at once and fluttered wildly inside me… and when I published, well… For years I’d tried to find someone, anyone… please, I’ll do your laundry forever if you do… to publish my stories but sadly, as the stack of rejections in that drawer will testify, nobody was interested. Why, I wondered? Not good enough? No! Too old? No? (Well, not for writing). Poor education? No! Not…? The list was endless, of course.

However, it seemed, the only thing ‘wrong’, was the fact that I wasn’t already famous! I hadn’t invented some world changing ‘must have’ (though Gone, my first fantasy novel, was inspired by a life-changing event and would definitely make others think differently); I hadn’t climbed Mount Everest (despite the fact that my second book, epic fantasy adventure, The Star Realm, felt like it); I hadn’t landed on the moon, starred in the latest blockbuster nor had I appeared on any reality show exposing bits best kept hidden (mind you, submitting my books for sale does feel like offering my heart on a plate and asking people to ‘dig in’).

So, where did that leave me? Vanity Press? Hmm, need money for that! Become newsworthy? I couldn’t hurt anyone or steal or run around naked, oh we won’t even go there… well, you understand? But I had talent – I knew it! Ah, you’ve guessed it…self-publishing! But I had no money!

The beauty of Lulu is that it’s free! You do the labour of course but then what would you expect? After that, all you have to do is buy your own work and promote it and…

So what does it take?

A story – that tale that’s rummaged around your head for years or just popped into it while you stood ironing or aligning the brakes on the Mustang…(beware stereotyping… though I didn’t say who was under the car).
You write it!
And write it again… and…! (Sometimes it’s best to put it away for at least a month then…)
You proofread it. WARNING: this is harder than writing the story or, I imagine, climbing Mount Everest, but maybe not as difficult as stripping off in front of an audience? Depends on your point of view. Imagination is the key word here.
Then you join Lulu.

Do you know that term mind boggler? Well, that’s what it’ll feel like at first… just take it one step at a time. Joining Lulu is easy (email and password) and free (beware repetition). Go through the video – more than once. It’ll probably be easier for those really, really good with computers but even then, you learn…okay, I’ve taken on a little more grey hair, I’ll admit!

Then you choose your layout – a layout that you set up in your computer programme (Word, maybe) for your story (the most popular size is 6 x 9 novel). (Tip: don’t put in page numbers until you’ve finished everything else or it can ‘mess things’…as the extra lines on my face will show). Lulu will take you through all the stages but it’s all your choice. It may be an idea to join Lulu first then see your layout /write your story in the correct format from the start – yes, I know, I learnt this after too with my first book. Then save to where you’ll remember, because you have to browse it to uploaded it (seems obvious but you’d be surprised!) Look, I’ve already given away too much stupidity!

Just follow on-screen instructions for conversion /cover upload (I chose a Lulu cover template for all of mine because I’m still learning that side of things) and for those that have an up-to-date modern computer it should be fairly quick, depending on the size of your book (mine’s not quite stone age… well it wouldn’t be, would it… but you know what I mean? Anyway, I’m saving for a new one…). Beware waffle.

Oooh, then Lulu tells you that you have successfully published!!! Blaze of glory…trumpets, garlands… tickertape… pats on the back… butterfly waltz… this is where we came in.

Back to Earth… then the real work starts… re-editing (I told you about proofreading, didn’t I?) And of course promoting… a whole other ball game…

Good writing and don’t stop dreaming – if you want to do it, you will.

You have written 6 books in many different genres, fantasy, murder-mystery, children’s books, and non-fiction. Is there one genre that you prefer more than the others? If so, why?

That’s easy – fantasy! I do like to try various genres but my favourite has to be fantasy because I can do anything in it. If there’s a problem with a character or place or plot then I can manipulate, make it up or just have some fun – fantasy allows that. Though I don’t mind if it’s for children (although that can be even more fun and making new characters in bizarre lands is fantastic) or adults – it certainly allowed me to deal with a difficult subject and perhaps come up with acceptable answers in Gone. Though even if it’s not fantasy, in my writing, the ‘real’ world (for the most part) has to be tempered with something extra, whether it is strange, mysterious, extraordinary, and magical or... well, you get the gist.

Summarise Gone, your first book in three or four sentences.

Gone is about finding answers, especially: ‘Where had my daughter gone?’ after she was severely brain damaged at the age of two, only to suffer agonies for a further seventeen years until her second death. It concerns the exploration of the human condition. It is about hope.


Who are your favourite authors and what is it about their writing you like?

Dean Koontz, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Shakespeare and Chaucer

Taking the last two first – I love the language and the way they understood the ways of being, how people thought and felt. I particularly liked Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and King Lear and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – the Wife of Bath is fabulous... we could all learn good lessons from her!

Dean Koontz is my all time favourite, as he too understands people but his books always have that ‘extra’, that magical quality and a wonderful optimism. The dialogue between main characters is amazing and very funny. The Frankenstein and Christopher Snow series are my favourites so far though I really enjoyed them all. While Stephen King also gets to the nature of being, his works, for the most part, are far more negative and gruesome – though have some spectacular ideas. They may be more macabre but the best book of his, in my opinion, is Insomnia. Its plot enthralled me (I will not give away any spoilers) though I loved the Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon – three with a hopeful stance rather than the darker plots. I’ve enjoyed them all – too many to mention.


Is there a book you own that you’ve read more than once?

I freely admit that the Harry Potter series completes one of the best stories ever told. Brilliant – and yes, I’ve read them more than once.

If someone wanted to read your books, which would you recommend they read first, and why?

I can tell you that Gone will always be the most important book in my life but that’s not to say that every book I write doesn’t have my full attention and interest. Gone broke my heart and in a way mended it, and I love to think of Avalon being there ready and waiting for when my time comes, and welcome the idea that Samantha and I will one day be together.


What is the target age group for your children’s trilogy – The Avalon Trilogy? And Knowing Jack, your other children’s book?

Without generalising, I would say about 12. It would depend on the individual and of course I think that adults would enjoy them too. Here speaks a Harry Potter fan.

Which one of your books was the hardest to write and why?

There are two: Gone and Slings & Arrows. The first because of the truth behind why I was writing it, and the second because it was the harrowing truth. And strangely, I wrote Gone first. It took 24 years before I could write Slings & Arrows.

What was the last book you read?

Dean Koontz: Your Heart Belongs To Me
Wish I had more time to read.

Are you reading a book at the moment?

Dean Koontz: The Voice Of The Night

What do you think of ebooks?

Great idea and they can work out cheaper, though I have to say I love the feel of a book and being about to sit comfortably and let my imagination relish.

How important are reviews for you as a writer?

Vital, I would say, especially as a self-published author. Spreading the word is the only possible way of letting others know about your work. It also gives much needed feedback – even if negative (sigh). I’m always willing to learn. I’m extremely grateful to anyone that takes the time to read and review my books. It can help the ego too!

How do you go about choosing a cover for your books?

If I had the money, I would have my ideas professionally uploaded. Or, if I could understand how to do it, I would upload my own designs (even Photoshop for Dummies hasn’t helped). However, as I don’t /can’t, I search through the Lulu library and try to find the most appropriate. I’ve been lucky so far.

What are you working on now?

I have the last of the Avalon Trilogy waiting patiently for my head to ‘get on with it’, in addition to a short story & book where I hope to include short stories (obviously), poetry and pieces inspired by other books – amongst other stuff. It’s proving a good test of my abilities and it’s good to play around with other genres. It’s called Figments and I hope to finish soon enough so to help those poor children out of the predicament within which they’ve been left so that Secrets Of The Ice can at last be published. There are a few others things too, so I’m busy to say the least.



Where can people buy your books?

Julie's Lulu Storefront

You’ll find Gone on Amazon
Gone
Quite few sites carry it, however.

Do you have your own website or blog where people can read more about your work?

I had a website until recently but unfortunately the company (and my site) vanished. However, I have been putting together a new one:
Julie's website

It's a work in progress, but there is info about me, my books and maybe some tips that some may find useful. I will add more as time allows.

Do you have anything you’d like to say to your readers?

Wow… thank you so much for buying my book… I really hope you enjoyed it… and that it made you think differently about things. I hope it helped too, if you needed it. Sorry if there are any mistakes but I’m editor, publisher, designer and writer so I might have missed something. And you never know, earlier prints with errors might be worth a packet one day! If anyone wants to talk to me about any of the issues email me at julizpow (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk
Oh, and… please be kind!!! Thanks.





Interview with Darcia Helle about A Murderer's Heart
 

My guest today is author Julie Elizabeth Powell. I recently had the pleasure of reading her novel A Murderer’s Heart, which is a crime story, a drama, and a story of psychological suspense. While about murder, Julie doesn’t include gory details and doesn’t use language that might offend some readers. This is one of those books that will appeal to a wide audience.

Of course Julie has been subjected to my never-ending questions. But, first, let’s get to know a bit about her:

My name is Julie Elizabeth Powell with a passion for words and six books published…all thanks to www.lulu.com, much hard work, sleepless nights and a very understanding and supportive husband.

My eldest daughter has flown the nest and is married to a man who doesn’t mind his mother-in-law though my son is still fluffing his feathers.

My middle child is off on a mysterious adventure, the like of which I can only guess…and tried to do so in my first book, Gone.

I love to read and am looking for ways to double time so to indulge in the mysterious and wonderful and delicious and strange…my favourite kind of story.

Writing takes up most of my days (and nights) though I enjoy creating handcrafted cards, making jewellery and dabbling in encaustic art whenever I can.

Oh yes, I used to teach or mark exam papers and have a BA (Hons) amongst other qualifications and hate all those necessary domestic chores that would, for me, be included in the Rings of Hell!

I have ten books available. In print:

www.lulu.com/julizpow
www.lulu.com/spotlight/JEP

And Kindle editions on Amazon.

***

Now for a look at the book we’ll be discussing:

Anne Blake, psychiatrist, is good at her job and believes that even the most sick at heart can be cured…or at least saved enough that they can lead a better life. But maybe she’s wrong? Maybe within a murderder’s heart, evil lurks and nothing can be done except to save yourself?

***

And now for a chat with Julie:

Anne Blake, your main character in A Murderer’s Heart, became a psychiatrist because she was intrigued by how the mind works and what triggers emotional problems. Is this an interest you share with your character?

I have always been intrigued with how the mind works, especially how the emotions are linked. If I had time, I would like to study it in more detail, but for now have to be satisfied with basic research. I have suffered with depression for many years and I know it’s connected to what happened to my daughter, although I fight it and find that grabbing onto any happiness is the best way of keeping it at bay most of the time. Writing helps.

I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. I have immense respect for all you’ve accomplished, and the way you express yourself through writing. After I read Gone, which is the book inspired by your loss, I hope you’ll come back and discuss this further.

An underlying theme of this book is that we shouldn’t take people at face value. Not everyone is as they appear on the surface. Your characters, like people, are multi-layered. Do you spend a lot of time on character sheets, creating histories and personalities for your characters? Or do they come to life as you go along?

I would say the characters in my books, on the whole, come to life as I write. Something magical happens when I am typing, and I often find that they tell me what to do. Having said that, I can see someone in the street and it can spark an idea, or I use a mannerism I’ve spotted. Everyone is multi-layered and it’s important to relay that in stories – that’s why I constantly write how they feel and think and why they say and do. Descriptions are useful but these other ways bring the character to life much more. And I would always say that’s it is vital not to take anything at face value, either in ‘real’ life or imaginary.

There are quite a few twists in the plot. Do you outline ahead of time or did these twists kind of create themselves as you wrote?

The plot came to life as did the characters, as if the story was inside my head all the time and I just plucked it out (like all my work). Although, when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it, especially at night when I’m supposed to be sleeping – and that’s usually when I think, ‘Ah, now what about if…? and, ‘Oh, yes, now that would be better!’ (I frequently write at night, as the urge is just too strong to ignore.) The trouble with twists though, is remembering why, when and how etc.

I do that same thing at night, when I should be sleeping!

You’ve written a lot of books, but I believe this is your only crime novel. What inspired you to take on this genre?

I don’t usually write this genre, but as my mother loves a ‘good murder’, I thought I’d have a go. She enjoyed it! I do prefer writing fantasy, but like to try all manner of genres.

Why this particular story?

I have a keen interest in the mind and how /why it works the way it does and so I wanted to explore how /why it becomes broken. And no matter what point of view, there are always questions. After I’ve finished my current work (the last of the Avalon Trilogy)…phew…I want to write more about the mind – the effects of memory /lack thereof and how it makes us what and who we are. If I can make it work, it’ll answer many questions that many people may have. I love to question everything!

What is your writing environment like? Neat or messy? Quiet or noisy?

Usually neat, although, when I’m writing notes (scribbling, more like) things can tend to become rather untidy. It’s quiet though (and my lovely husband understands and he actively encourages me to write…even nags if I’m slacking.) I wouldn’t be without my computer, and delight in the process of creation.

When you’re not reading or writing, what is your favorite thing to do?

Going to the cinema with my husband as often as possible – I absolutely love it, though I’m often disappointed in the weak storyline, the big screen is wonderful. I also create handcrafted cards and jewellery, dabble in encaustic art, drawing, painting, scrapbooking – anything creative. I also like walking on beautiful days and gardening. I’d like to read more, but with writing, posting reviews for others and all the other things I have to do, time flies. I’m looking forward to a break, however, where I’m going to read all those Dean Koontz books I’ve been saving.

A psychic has just told you about your past life. Who were you?

I’ve no idea. Ideally, I would have loved to have been Leonardo Da Vinci – what an incredible mind! Or Shakespeare – all those wonderful words! Though thinking about it, my handwriting is so bad that nobody would have been able to read my work. And just think of all the quills and parchment I would have destroyed. Well, maybe someone beautiful and rich and…well, that’s another story…

Who knows, Julie. Maybe you were Da Vinci or Shakespeare in a past life! Thanks for joining us here!

***

I hope you will all take the time to get to know more about Julie and her writing. You can find her in all sorts of places on the Internet:

Websites:
www.freewebs.com/julizpow
www.alchemyuk.yolasite.com

Email:
julizpow@yahoo.co.uk

Goodreads:
www.goodreads.com/author/show/1349023.Julie_Elizabeth_Powell

Facebook:
www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1033399808

Lulu Book Review for Julie’s Quick Picks
www.llbookreview.com

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/#!/starjewelz

Bestsellerbound:
http://quietfurybooks.com/messageboard/index.php

 

An interview with Darcia Helle about Gone

 

My guest today has experienced the worst imaginable tragedy – the loss of a child. I hope you’ll read on, because Julie Elizabeth Powell is an incredible woman and she’s sharing her gift with the world.

Hello everyone. If you haven’t guessed by now I have a passion for words and have ten books published…all thanks to Lulu and Kindle, much hard work and sleepless nights.
My eldest daughter has flown the nest and is married to a man who doesn’t mind his mother-in-law though my son is still fluffing his feathers.

My middle child is off on a mysterious adventure, the like of which I can only guess…and tried to do so in my first book, Gone.

I love to read and am looking for ways to double time so to indulge in the mysterious and wonderful and delicious and strange…my favourite kind of story.

Writing is my passion, though I enjoy creating handcrafted cards, jewellery making, scrapbooking and dabbling in encaustic art whenever I can.

Oh yes, I used to teach or mark exam papers but now concentrate on writing and enjoying my new life, which materialised, as if by a miracle. Though still dislike all those necessary domestic chores that would, for me, be included in the Rings of Hell!

That’s it. Thank you to anyone who reads my books…enjoy the flight!

***

We’ll be discussing two of Julie’s books – Slings & Arrows, the nonfiction account of Samantha’s life and death, and Gone, the magical tale inspired by Samantha. Here’s a look:

Nobody expects to lose a child but when it happens what can we do? In the sea of grief that seizes the soul how can we swim against the tide? But when that loss is compounded in each minute of every day, what do we do then?

Slings and Arrows is a story about the consequences of a moment, a moment, which separates a mother and daughter in ways impossible to imagine.

It charts their parallel lives, each suffering, one knowing, one not.

It is brutally honest; an account filled with bewilderment, guilt, anger and pain yet it also holds the key to hope. That whatever happens, the bonds of love can never be broken.

***

After Charley dies in her office chair, how is it that she finds herself propelled into the mysterious world of Avalon?

Upon encountering an essence, which insists is her daughter – the one she knows she left behind – insanity battles with fear inside her mind.

The further she delves, the more puzzling things appear, especially after she rises into the Orb of Caprice – a realm of fairies, talking flowers and goblins…and something else, something that lurks in the shadows ready to swallow her whole.

Can she realise in time what it is she must do…or has she left it too late?

Gone is a story inspired by a true event.

***

Little input is needed from me here. Let’s get right to my chat with Julie:

Before we talk about the books, please tell us about Samantha before the tragedy.

Samantha was born (1982) with transposition of the main arteries, two holes in her heart and a blocked valve. When she was eight months old she had corrective heart surgery and all seemed fine until her heart stopped and she died for the first time…leaving her severely brain damaged. I will say that before she ‘vanished’ she was brave, intelligent, funny, loving and kind, and I imagine that without the tragic event she would have attempted to conquer the world!

Let’s start with Slings & Arrows. Samantha was born with a heart defect requiring surgery. My older son was very sick and had major surgery at 27 days old. While I can’t even begin to compare my situation with yours, a couple things that stood out for me were the guilt and the fear. We can’t help but wonder if we are somehow responsible for our child’s defect. How did you cope with that? Is it something you’ve been able to move past?

It’s every woman’s nightmare that something terrible should happen to her child and I’m sorry that any must suffer – and it’s good to know your son is okay. However, guilt and fear do play a major part in times like these and yes, speaking for myself; I did take on the responsibility for what happened.

Having said that, knowing of my ex-husband’s heart disorder, we consulted a doctor and we were told that it would be impossible for it to be passed down to children because his was caused by his mother catching German measles during the first three months of pregnancy, therefore… How wrong they were. We didn’t find out until many, many years later that Samantha had indeed the very same defects as my ex-husband.

Although that didn’t stop me from taking the blame. I do still carry the burden, although since being with my present husband, he has helped me enormously in the healing process. He is understanding, and never minds how much I talk about her…in fact encourages me. I now try to celebrate her life –those two years before she died the first time – and keep in my heart the precious memories of how wonderful she was. I will never ‘get over it’ but with the right person in my life, it has made me feel that I deserve to live, despite my powerlessness and guilt in allowing her to suffer the way she did for seventeen years.

Writing the books have helped me address some of the issues, although I wrote Gone before she died the second time (trying to answer the ‘whys’) and Slings & Arrows I couldn’t write until after she was finally at peace. Though I will add that fear still remains, especially for my other two children (now grown), that something may happen and I will lose them.

I can only imagine how that fear lingers, regardless of how old your children are and how many years pass. And kudos to your husband! I’m glad you’ve found the love and support you deserve.

I admire your unflinching honesty in telling this story. You talk about how, after Samantha died the first time and was brought back to live in a vegetative state, you sometimes wished her dead. Some readers might initially feel this is a selfish, even horrifying, thing for a mother to feel. I actually think it’s the most humane reaction a mother could have. In situations like Samantha’s, do you think a parent should have the option of ending the misery in a safe and gentle way?

Yes, I wished her dead. And yes, many will be shocked by this statement. However, I can only say that after years and years and years of watching my daughter suffer, as her body and limbs twisted out of control, as her mind remained lost, with no understanding of whom I was or what was happening to her or why she had to suffer so, I could only wish for her torment to end. If that sounds selfish then so be it. In my opinion there are far worse things than death.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Do you have any advice for a parent who has lost a child, or is going through something similar to your family’s experience?

Advice? I think that’s impossible. All the emotions are real and you’ll feel and think some terrible things. All I can say is try to be kind to yourself, ignore the protestations /condemnation of others and do what’s best for you and your child. And it’s good if you have support and can talk things through. Being isolated is extremely difficult. And keep hoping.

Gone, a magical tale inspired by Samantha, takes place in a fantasy realm called Avalon. Tell us about your creation process. Did you sit down and purposely outline what Avalon would be, or did you go on the journey along with Charley?

I had no idea about Avalon until one night I thought, ‘if she’s not here then she must be somewhere’ so I began to write. Avalon was created in the moment and grew as my fingers typed the words. I had no idea where it would lead. It has become a very real place for me and Charley brought it alive – yes, I journeyed with her and just waited to see what would happen next. In fact, I loved the ‘world’ so much that I couldn’t let it go to waste and so began the Avalon Trilogy with The Star Realm – an epic fantasy adventure supposedly for children (12+?) yet, I love children’s stories. :)

Oh, that has to go on my to-read list! I loved Avalon!

I loved all your characters! From Penelope the talking flower to Brogan the Goblin, each has a unique personality and they felt so real I expected them to jump off the page. What sparks the creation of each of them? Do you start out with the intention to create a specific type of character/creature, or does each come to you at the point in the story where they are needed?

Thank you – yes, I love the characters too…there’re like old friends now. The spark of their creation comes from my mind, as if they were there all the time and I just needed to pluck them out. And it’s weird – they take charge! I don’t know when or where they’ll appear (as in all my books) but when the time is right the character says, ‘here I am; now we’re off’. Sounds odd but it’s true and I love them all (even the baddies).

A big part of Charley’s journey involves confronting her fears, learning acceptance, and being able to forgive herself. While this story is fiction, I couldn’t help but think only someone who had experienced this type of personal journey could write about it so eloquently. Obviously you didn’t travel through a world like Avalon (at least I don’t think you did!), but did you go through your own journey of discovery on your way to acceptance and forgiveness?

Hmm, Avalon is a wonderful place and I’ll never tell if I did or did not! ? Yes, there was certainly a journey and through Charley I did address many of the issues, even if I didn’t at that time feel more at peace, as I do now. Nevertheless, it did help bring to light the tangle of emotions that needed expression. I quote from the Author’s Note at the end of Gone:

I’ve written so much over the years, but this story is the one most prized…for obvious reasons. I often wonder if it could be true and the wishes in my heart thrill at the thought.

I suppose I ought to say my favourite authors are Shakespeare, Dickens and Chaucer (and that’s not to say their writings aren’t absolutely brilliant) however, there is nothing I like more than settling in a quiet corner to read Dean Koontz, Stephen King and (yes, I’ll admit it) J.K. Rowling’s perfectly scrumptious exploits with the Prince of Magic himself, where my mind can dwell on the mysterious and wonderful and delicious and strange.

But for now, to those who have read this story – thank you, and to those it helped – I’m glad.

And for those who have lost a loved one, especially a child – long may Avalon reign!

Do you believe in destiny?

I think that destiny awaits our choices. There are certain things we can do when opportunities arise but we can choose to ignore or go forward, although we might never feel complete if we do close our eyes.

What is your favorite…
a) song?
b) dessert?
c) time of day?

a) Song = Over the Rainbow
b) = Chocolate
c) Whenever I’m with my new husband, he definitely makes life worth living.

What are you working on these days? Do you have something new in the works?

My current work (Lost Shadows) investigates memory. It’s a fantasy, and somewhat darker than the previous ‘adventures’. I’ve always been fascinated with the mind and so… I’m about ¾ through but it has many characters that all vie for attention, as well as the plot and the ‘world’, so I’m busy!

I can’t wait for this one!

Thank you very much for your interest in my work and to all the readers – I hope you enjoy and become as embroiled in it as I do. Thank you all :)

Thank you, Julie, for being with us today, and for your honesty. I have no doubt your words will help countless others.

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Julie has graciously offered her email address for anyone who has questions or would like to talk about this difficult topic: julizpow -at- yahoo.co.uk.

You can also connect with Julie in the following places:

Website: www.freewebs.com/julizpow

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1349023.Julie_Elizabeth_Powell

Twitter: www.twitter.com/starjewlez or @starjewelz