Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tooting the Horn Tuesday: Interview with Julia Karr

 I had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Karr, author of XVI and member of The Class of 2k11.  First, for those of you who haven't read it, here's what it's about.

"In the year 2150, being a girl isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when your sixteenth (read sex-teenth) birthday is fast approaching. That in itself would be enough to make anyone more than a little nuts, what with the tattoo and all – but Nina Oberon’s life has taken a definite turn for the worse. Her mother is brutally stabbed and left for dead. Before dying, she entrusts a secret book to Nina, telling her to deliver it to Nina's father. But, first Nina has to find him; since for fifteen years he's been officially dead. Complications arise when she rescues Sal, a mysterious, and ultra hot guy. He seems to like Nina, but also seems to know more about her father than he’s letting on. Then there’s that murderous ex-government agent who’s stalking her, and just happens to be her little sister’s dad."

Here's our intereview:

Dystopian novels are really hot right now.  Was it the market that inspired you to write dystopian, or did you have other reasons?

When I wrote XVI (in 2005), dystopian was not hot. (The Hunger Games came out in 2008.) XVI evolved into dystopia as I was writing it. 

Do you write in other genres as well?

I have books I am working on in other genres, namely, Contemporary, Mystery, Fantasy, and Historical Fiction. Whew! That sounds like a lot of writing. I'd better get on it! :)

What writers influence or inspire you?

I get inspired by pretty much every good book I read! As far as influence - I didn't read any dystopian fiction as I writing XVI and the sequel, because I didn't want to be influenced by another writer's style. 

With the way society is influenced by media, do you see the world in XVI as a foreseeable future?

I sure do. I honestly think if people don't wake up and see what's happening in the way young women and girls are portrayed in media, that women will have a hard time ever truly reaching "equal rights." As if the photo spread in the January issue of French Vogue wasn't enough to creep me out (http://live.drjays.com/index.php/2011/01/06/has-french-vogue-taken-child-models-too-far/) - just today I read an article about padded bikini bras for 8-yr-olds! Gah! What is wrong with people? Anyway… yes - unfortunately I do see a version of XVI as a possible future.

Of the characters in the novel, which one do you relate most to and why?
 Probably Nina, because I spent so much time with her!

Have you known people like Nina’s horrible step father in real life?  If so, how did you deal with that?
I have never known anybody that disgusting in real life - thank heavens. If I had, they would be in jail now! I have peripherally known some people who were overbearing jerks - and borderline abusive - but not anyone with Ed's sicko bent.

Was there any time in writing the book that Derek was going to be Nina’s love interest?
Nope. He wanted to be, but that was not going to happen - ever.

What’s the one book you wish you would have written?
Dickens' A Christmas Carol

What book are you currently reading?

What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

Are you planning a sequel?  If not, what are you working on?
Yes. I'm working on the sequel. The title is TRUTH.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

About Julia Karr:
Julia Karr was born in Indiana, and moved to Chicago when she was fifteen. After the initial culture shock of going from quiet, small town living to Carl Sandburg’s, “stormy, husky, brawling,” metropolis, she fell madly in love with the city. Her schooling in the art of writing came from reading, voraciously. While students were being forced to read the classics, Julia was busy going on author binges. As a young mother, reading books to, and eventually with, her daughters, she fell head-over-heels for children’s literature. Not a far stretch for someone who has loved reading since the age of three. While still working a nine-to-five job, after hours Julia can be found at home, sitting on the couch tapping out stories on her laptop, with one of several cats draped behind her and her dogs sleeping nearby.

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John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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