With a background in paediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories to encourage and entertain them.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, Danny and their little girl, Giselle
What inspires you to write?
I worked with sick kids for a long time before writing. I realised that no matter how unwell the kids were, they always enjoy being entertained. That is when I decided I wanted to write stories that children, where ever they are, whatever the circumstance, would be entertained and inspired to read.
Tell us about your writing process.
My initial idea usually starts with the name of a character, then I decide what kind of story that character would be in. I start brainstorming the world they would live in, then I create the story, or mystery around that.
I jot down story threads, ideas, twists I want to include, then from there on in, its just a rollercoaster of words.
I use Dragon Dictate, to help get those words down on paper, which also helps to hear how the dialogue sounds.
After the first draft, I send it to my sisters, who are super at picking up plot holes and inconsistencies.
Then it’s off to a group of beta readers, before I even allow my editor to have eyes on it.
After editing, I usually go back to my beta readers, and then it’s final edits, proofing and voila, a story is born.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I guess I do talk to my characters, because I dictate the story. I may occasionally even add in some quirky voices.
What advice would you give other writers?
Start with an idea, get it on paper, then be prepared for a wild ride that will often involve joy and tears, as you hone that story into a fabulous journey that your readers will hopefully enjoy.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Initially, I used a manuscript service to get an idea if I was going in the right direction in writing. That was incredibly helpful, but also an eye opener. I had a lot to learn about the writing process and I am still learning, but it gave me direction as to how to proceed to make my story better. I did the rounds of agents and publishers, and even had one interested but it was not to be.
I began researching self-publishing, and I eventually found a fantastic community that was willing to support, encourage and offer information on the publishing journey. I decided that my words were worth the time and investment, even if a publisher hadn’t taken a chance on them.
I self published, linked into the kidlit community and found an audience that enjoys my books over four years ago now. I enjoy the freedom, responsibility and creativity of self publishing. I can commission covers and inside illustrations to fit my story perfectly, which I believe are very important in making your book a success.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I would love to become a hybrid. I am keen to be involved in all aspects of the publishing industry, so I will continue to self-publish, but I would also like to have a traditional book publisher take on some of my picture book ideas. I think adapting to the ever changing publishing industry is the only way forward. If that means I self-publish some of my books, and collaborate with a publisher on others, than I believe that is a great step forward.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Middle Grade Science Fiction, Midde Grade Mystery
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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