I am so pleased to have as my very first guest, Julie Flanders. A rising author whose debut novel,
Polar Night will be released on February 7th.
Julie, tell everyone something about yourself.
I’m a huge animal lover and, while I’ve always loved to write, I didn’t start taking my writing seriously until I started volunteering as a writer for Best Friends Animal Society back in the summer of 2010. I loved volunteering for Best Friends, as I got to meet wonderful people doing amazing things for animals all over the country. The experience also helped me to gain confidence as a writer. I was a nervous wreck when my first article was published on their website, but I got such great feedback right from the start that it I realized I didn’t have any reason to be nervous. That was such a wonderful experience for me, and I’m still very proud of the articles I wrote. I’m also still a big supporter of Best Friends, as I love the work they do for animals. I’ve been around animals all my life, and can’t imagine life without them. I currently share my home with a goofy black poodle/spaniel mix named Clancy and a feisty tabby cat named Nate.
What was your inspiration for your debut novel, Polar Night?
I had a dream one night that stuck with me into the following day, and eventually it led me to the story of Polar Night. I can’t explain why, because the final story is nothing like the dream, but that dream was what started the ball rolling. The dream was about a trip across the Atlantic on an ocean liner, and the final story is about a detective in Fairbanks, Alaska. As I said, the two are nothing alike! But somehow one thing led to the other.
What was the time frame in perfecting your novel?
Polar Night took me about 6 months to complete.
How did you fare in the querying process?
Not too well! For one thing, I thought the query letter was the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to write. I can’t even say how many times I started writing only to delete the letter and start over again. When I finally had a letter written, I sent it out to a few agents to test the waters. I didn’t have any luck, so I started tweaking the letter. I finally decided to send it out to some small presses that didn’t require representation and that was when I finally found some success. I signed a contract with Ink Smith Publishing back in August of 2012.
Are you working on a project at the present time?
I am working on revising and editing the project I wrote for National Novel Writing Month back in November. The novel is called The Ghosts of Aquinnah, and takes place on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, which is located off the coast of Masachusetts. My father’s family goes back generations on the Vineyard, and I have been going there since I was a child. I love the island and it’s been fun to try to capture it in my new novel. I still have a great deal of revising to do on this project though before I am ready to send it out into the world.
Thanks so much Cathrina for having me on your blog today, and for helping me spread the word about my debut novel Polar Night!
Book Blurb: When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks' cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case.
The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny's instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems.
Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same.
Bio: Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Her debut novel Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is now available from Ink Smith Publishing. Find Julie online at her blog, and on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.