Papi Talk

Papi Talk!… With Julie Israel

Welcome everyone! Here we are with another fantastic episode of Papi Talk! This week we have aspiring Author Julie Israel on the couch, let’s see what we can find out by probing and prodding, Papi Z style!

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule Julie! I appreciate it a great deal!

Papi Z- What do you enjoy most about the writing process?

Julie- I love the creative problem solving it entails. At every stage (brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revisions, etc. ad infinitum) there are creative challenges. These could be anything from what to call a character and what sort of quirks and motivations that character possesses to patching plot holes, figuring out how to get Character X from A to B and J and keeping track of what he knows along the way, to issues of realism: of tweaking aspects to comply with today’s institutions and norms, or what’s possible within the limits of modern science and technology.

I think it is this—this hacking the parts out from rock, and fitting all the intricacies together, and arranging and changing and tinkering until the seams of all the little pieces smooth together like honey—that I enjoy most.

Papi Z- What have you found to be your biggest struggle as an Aspiring Author?

Julie- Taking myself seriously (as a writer) while I remain in the unpublished, unagented stage. I take the work very seriously, but without that external validation from Someone Whose Opinion Holds Sway (and Could Lead to a Paycheck), it can be very disheartening when talking about your work with others. I think writers already face a stigma to begin with. When you add unpublished and unpaid to the mix it can make a writer very self-conscious about what she does, and how the world (most of whom are not writers) perceives her.

Papi Z- Do you have any projects you are excited/passionate about, yet are unable to finish them?

Julie- I have had The Good Karma Project, an illustrated book of ways to make the world a better place, on the backburner for several months now. It ended up there by necessity whilst polishing the manuscript for Shifters and preparing to send out to agents. I do fully intend to finish it, but to keep writing I want to get the ball rolling with Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index first.

Papi Z- Your first book, Shifters, is ready and being sent around to publishers {Julie-not publishers, but agents. I’m looking for a literary agent to represent my work because new writers have virtually no chance of getting their work read by publishers without someone in the literary industry to act as middleman and endorse them.} How is that process going?

Julie- Well, it’s still pretty early on. I won’t hear back from the first batch of literary agents from anywhere from two weeks to three months—if they’re interested. Some agents have a ‘no response means no’ policy. For the moment I have done what I can. My next move with Shifters—which could be anything from rewriting the query, revising the manuscript, or submitting to another agent to (divinity willing) something an interested party suggests—will depend on the reactions (or lack thereof) I receive. At any rate, I’ve tried to prepare myself for anything and am posed to spring whatever the outcome.

Papi Z- As an Aspiring Author, how many of your preconceived notions about writing have come true? How many have fizzled into thin air?

Julie- So, when I was in third grade I had this absurd vision of writing this terrifically haunting book about killer sharks (I had just seen Jaws), and how it was going to be this big hit and everyone was going to rave and marvel that it was written by a nine year old. HAHAHAHAAHA (although, given the popularity of Shark Week and Sharknado, perhaps nine-year-old me was onto something).

 An older and wiser me knows that a book is a lot more work than it looks like on the surface. Youthful dreams of fame and glory have long been outgrown, but basically everything else about writing—from daily practice to questions like whether or not it is a viable source of income—has been something I’ve had educate myself about or experience firsthand. There be Trial and Error here.

Papi Z- When did you decide to be a Writer?

Julie- This will sound cliché, but I’ve known I wanted to write pretty much since I could put coherent sentence on paper. I don’t feel that there was ever a defining moment in which I decided to be a writer, but there was a period in which I decided to let myself pursue writing wholeheartedly and without guilt or self-doubt: National Novel Writing Month of last year, when I wrote fourteen chapters (half of the first draft of Shifters!) in thirty days. When I saw that I could do that, I think there was no turning back.

Papi Z- Which fictional character would you most like to meet? What would you ask them? 

Julie- The first one that came to mind was Oscar from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I would ask to see his Stuff That Happened To Me book.

Papi Z- How do you write? Pen and Paper? Pencil? Computer, typewriter, or cave drawings? :D

Julie- Primarily on the old laptop, but I also like to get away from the screen and work in a journal (crude sketches occasionally included). I would LOVE to try a typewriter! Maybe when Shifters is finally published I’ll celebrate with a little vintage indulgence… :)

Papi Z- Have you given thought to self-publishing your book Shifters? If not, why not? If so, why?

Julie- Sure! But before I go that route, I want to make a sincere and full-bodied effort at traditional publishing. I think every writer dreams of being able to walk into the bookstore and find their work on the shelf (or perhaps more prominently featured). For me, such is simply the dream—that moon my teachers were always telling me to shoot for. But publication is my ultimate goal, and I wouldn’t hesitate to self-publish if Shifters is unable to find a traditional home.

Papi Z- If you could have a Literary career in the mold of a current Author, living or dead, who would it be, and why?

Julie- Ooh! Difficult question. Despite all the fantastic possibilities this prompt opens up to (all fame and riches and world travel and film adaptations considered), I think there is only one true answer: me. The writer’s journey is an intensely personal one. I don’t think I could trade mine for anything.

Thank you very much for the interview Julie! If you wish to contact Julie, follow the links below! Tune in next week when Papi Z puts (…) on the couch! Ooh, it’s a secret! Tune in and find out! Thank you for stopping by.


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10 thoughts on “Papi Talk!… With Julie Israel

  1. Everyone writes for different reasons but, in the end, they write because they get pleasure from doing it, creating something that wasn’t there before–something that is the best that they could do at that moment in time. I need to take issue with Ms. Israel’s need for monetary validation. The world of publishing is fraught with networking, nepotism, and gamut of what is acceptable by one reader/editor over another. I am by no means a purist, I’m a poet. Poetry is not a money making proposition for the most part in the publishing world. I already know that money is not an issue. But my validation happens everytime someone ‘Likes’ or comments on one of the poems I post online. To be honest there is more validation in that one to one response than not knowingwhat others think about your work. I only say this so that ‘aspiring’ writers don’t get the idea that being published is necessarily validation, or at least the only validation one can acheive if one writes seriously. I mean no disrespect to Ms. Israel. I understand her point of view and commend her hard work. I am familiar with her site and think she shows a great deal of dedication and skill in her craft. To my mind, she is a writer. Thank you. >KB

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