Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with John Keats.
What authors have most influenced your own writing?
I have five authors listed under ’Influences’ on my Goodreads profile. The space didn’t allow for more than five, but that’s a useful way of forcing me to focus! Looking at the list now, I think they have some things in common. All are masters of their craft, and use language very cleverly, very precisely. All create memorable characters and tell memorable stories. And all are capable of creating a vivid, visceral, and ultimately uplifting kind of art. They are, in order of birth, Jane Austen, John Keats, Salley Vickers, my younger sister Bryn Hammond, and Joss Whedon.
Bryn – who I find is literally one month older than Whedon – is a brilliant writer. I doubt I’ll ever write anything that approaches the same brilliance, but I love being her #1 Fan – and she reminds me of what’s possible, given the right combination of author and subject, and a great deal of passion, commitment, and sheer bloody hard work.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a good question! I did heaps of writing through my twenties, including original stories (only one of which was published) and fan fiction. I also produced fanzines. However, it wasn’t until I was a significant way into writing what would become The Definitive Albert J. Sterne – my first attempt at a professional novel – that I presumed to consider myself a writer. (Very quietly. In my own head.)
Mind you, I am rather a hypocrite about this. When other people fret over whether they are worthy to be considered writers or not, I always encourage them. If they’re writing, they’re writers, that what I say, and I absolutely mean it. But I should probably take a step back and remember that it was only when I was far enough into a pro novel – far enough that I knew I’d finish it – that I felt myself entitled to the title ’Writer’. Thanks to a friend, I even have a little pin that says just that – not that I wear it, but I keep it on the bookshelf nearby to remind myself I am not the only person in the world who thinks so!
Describe your writing space.
Too messy for comfort! Ideally I would like my study to be neat and tidy, but I just have no time any more for such niceties. It is clean, but that’s the bottom line, I’m afraid. Also, there is no room left in the bookshelves, so I have piles of books teetering everywhere.
Seriously, though. I am lucky enough to have a ’single’ bedroom in our flat designated as my study. It has a Winnie-the-Pooh sign on the door saying ‘Julie’s Room’, just to prove it! I write on a laptop with a second monitor and a separate ergonomic keyboard. I have an Oxford dictionary in easy reach on my left, and at present a pile of Jane Austen books on my right, just in front of my purple lava lamp! (What would she make of that?)
I have the luxury of a nice comfortable chair in the corner, in which to read – but it’s currently piled high with things I simply haven’t put away yet… I am currently on leave from my day job, and it occurs to me as I type this that I really should put ‘tidy my study’ on my To Do List!
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
You’ve no idea how I wish I were interesting enough to have writing quirks.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Are we ever not writing…? I ask that with tongue in cheek, but actually maybe it’s a point to consider!
What with my day job, my writing, and my involvement in helping run Manifold Press, I think I have forgotten how to relax, how to do things just for fun. I wanted to take the day off yesterday, and found myself at quite a loss as to what to do! What I love doing is … well, I love writing most of all! But I also love reading (both fiction and non), watching films and television, photographing beautiful things, and knitting. I don’t find travelling easy, but I do love seeing different places, beautiful countryside, old castles, and so on – and being in places where my heroes have been. One of the thrills of living in England has been to follow John Keats around – though I am not quite game to take a walking holiday up through Scotland!
Any or all of these activities, however, can provide ideas and inspiration for writing, and so we come back around to my initial thought … Maybe writing is something that is so intrinsic to the writer as a whole person, that we’re never not writing. I’m trying to decide whether that’s good or it’s scary. I suspect it’s good.
Jules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.
On the Wednesday, Jules ended up confessing all to his colleague Ryan while they were making mugs of what passed for coffee at the office. “So, anyway, I know it’s such an extravagance … ” Jules finally concluded.
Ryan nodded thoughtfully, and pondered through a moment’s silence, but then he said, “That’s the perfect piece of memorabilia, though, isn’t it? I mean, seeing as you love the guy’s writing so much.”
“Yes,” Jules gushed. “Yes, I thought so!”
“That’s just awesome. Well done,” Ryan added. And he nodded again, with what felt like respect.
Jules just beamed at him. Honestly, they were complete opposites – Ryan was straight and subtle and sensible – but they’d started at the accountancy on the same day, and provided each other whatever support was needed whether moral or im. Every Wednesday when they met at the office, they made a point of catching up with each other. Jules thought it was sweet. He assumed Ryan felt likewise, though of course he’d use a word such as ‘cool’.
Ryan’s support saw Jules through the rest of the week and into the weekend. The fact that Jules had already made a full confession also helped when Jem started poking and prodding. “What’s got into you?” she asked. “You’re hatching some scheme, aren’t you?”
He tossed his head in as dignified a manner as he could manage. “And what if I am?”
“Come on, give. You know how bad you are at keeping a secret.”
This was true, but Jules could feel a misgiving or two settling in his stomach. It was sheer cowardice, he knew, but he didn’t want to tell Jem or Archie about the typewriter until he had the thing in all its meaning and glory. Jules tried a flank attack. “What if it’s a surprise for you?” he asked – though it wasn’t her birthday for three months, and Christmas was longer away yet. “What if it’s a present?”
Jem took this seriously but also doubtfully. “Is it?”
Jem rolled her eyes. “Get it out of you sooner or later,” she muttered, heading off and leaving him be.
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