Featured Author J. L. Willow

J.L. Willow’s Site

J.L. Willow voraciously read everything she could get her hands on as a child and continues to this day. She was inspired by the way words on a page could capture the imagination, beginning her journey as a writer at just six years old. When she’s not holding a pencil or a book, she can be found belting her favorite musicals or studying to become a mechanical engineer. Days off are spent relaxing with her family in New Jersey.

 

Would you please introduce yourself to my readers and share something about your life.

Hello! My name is Julia. I write under the pen-name J. L. Willow and I published my debut novel, The Scavenger, last November. I started writing when I was in first grade, and that dream that first encouraged me to learn how to type continues to inspire me to this day. I’m currently studying to be a mechanical engineer, and I use writing to help balance my life.

 

What is something unique/quirky about you?

Most people would consider me a pretty bubbly and optimistic person, but I love everything spooky and macabre. If you read my work, you’ll see that I definitely write dark. I believe that any day is a good day for a horror movie and my favorite overall film is The Silence of the Lambs.

 

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

I don’t think I could decide . . . it’s like choosing a favorite child!

 

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

I don’t think I could decide . . . it’s like choosing a favorite child!

What inspired you to write this book? 

My newest book, Missing Her, which is being released this May, started off as a short-story. I got this picture in my head of a women on the run from the police with her children. I started thinking about it, expanding it, fooling around with changing the characters and the sequence. The more I explored, the more I realized how much potential there was. Next thing I knew, it had grown into a full-length concept for a novel and the original short-story became the prologue.

What can we expect from you in the future?

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure myself! I have quite a few ideas I’m bouncing between right now, ranging from science-fiction to horror to contemporary coming-of-age, so I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in central New Jersey. Although most people think of the urban, Trenton area when they think of New Jersey, I come from a pretty rural area and grew up surrounded by farms.

Describe your writing style.

I write what I like to read, so I try to make my style very smooth and have an easy reading flow. I don’t want my readers to feel like they have to force themselves to keep going. The words should weave together effortlessly, and the goal is to get lost in the work. There’s always room for improvement, but that’s what I’m attempting to emulate.

What makes a good story?

A good story is something that appeals to people from all walks of life. I love stories that I enjoyed as a middle schooler, then was able to reread and appreciate on a new level years later. A story that can speak to people of varying ages and backgrounds is something that I look for in the books I read and something I strive to create myself.

What are you passionate about these days?

In addition to writing, I’ve always been a theater girl. I find that theater has really helped me delve into the mind of different characters. I’m then able to use that skill to develop my own characters. It’s a fun way to tell stories in a format other than a page.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

Funny enough, since I’m still in school, I actually write to unwind and relax. It’s not exactly the most calming hobby, but it’s something I really enjoy and it brings me a lot of joy.

 

Describe a day in your life as an author?

As I have school during the day, I don’t really have a set schedule for when or where I write. I just try to squeeze it in whenever I can. I try not to waste a single moment — I’m always working on something, whether it’s my Instagram, blog, edits, etc. On the rare occasion that I have a free day, I take the time to carve out some time specifically for writing. But at the moment, my studies come first, so I make sure that I take the time to complete my studies before I throw myself into my work.

Advice you would give new authors?

Don’t get caught up in the “comparison game.” It’s so easy once your book is published to compare review stats, blog hits, or YouTube views. We’re all on our own journey, and some of us move faster than others. Don’t get discouraged. You’re right where you need to be. Keep working, and you’ll hit your goal eventually.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon. I absolutely love it so far, so definitely check it out!

How long have you been writing?

I started writing my first “book” when I was six. It was called “The Apocalypse Chronicles.” Looking back, I cringe pretty bad when I read it, but I had to start somewhere. I continued writing in my spare time over the years, but I didn’t seriously work on a project until I started The Scavenger in my sophomore year of high school. And the rest is history!

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

I generally outline first before I start, but as I mentioned before, Missing Her began as a short story, so I had to work a little differently this time around. Even so, before I started drafting Missing Her, I sketched out all the major plot points and how I was going to break up the book into different parts.

 

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

To be honest, it varies story to story. For The Scavenger, I had to do a lot of research into the police force and the distribution of marijuana in New York City. It was different for Missing Her, as the concept was pretty out-there, so most of my research was completed to ensure that the story was realistic for the scenes it needed to be. There was one 911 call in particular that I wanted to make sure was spot-on. Nothing bothers me more than a story that’s moving quickly and then one stilted conversation pulls me out of it.

 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed the creative outlet that Missing Her allowed me. For The Scavenger, I felt like there were some boundaries that I had to work around in order to keep the story realistic. For my second book, because it was a paranormal story, there were more opportunities for me to really mold the story and the characters to my liking. It’s kind of hard to describe, so I recommend you read Missing Her to fully understand what I’m referencing.

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

The protagonist of Missing Her is a high schooler named Vanessa. She’s devastated by the disappearance of her best friend, Eliza, and is doing all she can to find her. In such a turbulent time, the one thing that she finds she can always fall back on is her love of classic rock. She consistently comes back to it throughout the story, and I even included a list of her favorite songs at the end of the book so the reader can listen to her favorite playlist.

Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

My biggest piece of advice is to finish the first draft. Don’t think about whether or not the words you’re writing are perfect or if the tone is exactly the way you like it. Once you finish the first draft, you separate yourself from a much larger pool of aspiring authors into a much smaller group of people. It’s much less daunting to start edits when you actually have something to edit.

 

Purchase on Amazon

THE SCAVENGER 

“IT’S NOT SECRETS THAT ARE DANGEROUS. IT’S WHAT SECRETS MAKE PEOPLE DO.”

When a number of teen drug overdoses disturbs the NYPD, an investigation is quickly formed to uncover the forces behind it. Four people with no previous connection soon find themselves the object of scrutiny as the case moves forward.

Catherine is a freshman living an unfulfilled high school life. After a gentle nudge from her best friend Eve, she begins searching for more. A boy named Samuel may be the answer to what she’s looking for, but not everything is what it seems.

Samuel has connections to the investigation in more ways than Catherine realizes and carries more secrets than he cares to admit. His decision to take a risky bet with a man named Frank seems like easy money but instead causes his life to quickly unravel.

Frank is a drug dealer living in New York City, best known for his heinously addictive strains of laced marijuana. With the NYPD closing in and pressure slowly building, he discovers the life he’s carefully built for himself in danger of collapse.

Nathan Tawallis of the NYPD is lead investigator of the case. Much as he tries to ignore it, long forgotten memories begin to surface and past connections to the drug network quickly become too hard to ignore.

With lives becoming inexorably entangled, The Scavenger weaves a tale of suspense and finding family in unsuspecting places while simultaneously delving into the dangers and alarming nature of the illegal drug trade.

 

J.L. Willow’s new Book…

missing-her-ebook

MISSING HER

Vanessa Stockton and her best friend Eliza are inseparable. They’re living the best years of their lives, enjoying high school, boyfriends and planning for their futures. All that changes, though, when Eliza goes out to a party and never makes it home. Months pass without a break in the case, until one day Vanessa wakes up . . . in Eliza’s mind. Even more disturbing, she discovers she’s woken up two days before Eliza goes missing. Vanessa has no choice but to relive her best friend’s memories leading up to the disappearance and discover the truth about what happened before time runs out. But is the past set in stone? Or can Vanessa save her friend from an unspeakable fate?

COMING SPRING OF 2019

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