Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Book Review and Interview with Author Julia King

Julia King’s Félicité Found is a Romantic Trip Down the Seine

It is fairly safe to say that plenty of women fantasize about running away to Paris, the city of love, on a conquest to capture the heart of the gorgeous boy they have fallen deeply and undeniably in love with. Fortuitously, Julia King’s Félicité Found is a much less expensive way to experience this type of aching bliss.

King’s debut novel tells the story of two young teens in modern day Paris who meet under the most gruesome circumstances. Seventeen-year-old Pierre witnesses Félicité jump from a bridge in Paris in an apparent suicide. Pierre is able to rescue her, but she is unable to explain why she jumped in the first place. In fact, the girl he just saved has no memories of her past at all.

As Félicité tries to recall her memories, she experiences horrifying dreams that take her far away from modern-day Paris and into the home of a sinister man. It is when Félicité finds out who she is that she also risks losing everything that she has worked for in her new life – including Pierre.

Félicité Found stands out among its young adult peers. King has interwoven the paranormal beautifully with a young adult romance. Her writing is unpretentious and the language is clear and easy to read. The plot is original and seamless, with unexpected turns and twists on the norm. Félicité is a strong female character, Pierre is swoon-worthy, and the villain is perfectly evil. King keeps readers guessing at how all the pieces will come together. Perhaps most importantly, her novel shows the dark side of humans and the courage it takes to overcome it.

Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
Where do I start? I am a thirty-something gal from Utah. A friend of mine once told me I’m a big ball of love. Well, I love traveling, reading, writing, music, family time, chocolate, hiking, dogs, and Netflix. Yup, love is in the air when it comes to me. I graduated with a degree in Anthropology. I work in the medical research field by day and write by night. Just call me Renaissance woman. Yes, I’m all over the place and love it!

Where did the idea for Félicité Found come from?
I thought it only fitting to treat myself to a nice college graduation present. A vacation to Paris, France was the perfect gift. I fell in love with the “City of Lights”. The amazing city, full of culture and aesthetically pleasing sights, found its way into my dreams countless times after I came home (it still does). Fast forward a few months to the epic writing idea cliché. The dark and twisted Parisian dream that inspired Félicité Found wove its way into my mind. The images stayed with me for weeks, snaking farther and farther into my thoughts. There was no question that this story had to become real, or as real as it could be on my laptop’s hard drive. One sleepless night, the beginning and end of my book overcame my sleeping hours and the next day, I plunged head first into the thick of the story. 

Give us an insight into Félicité. What does she do that is so special (without giving away the plot!)?
This is a tough question. If I say too much then I will give away the punchline. Suffice it to say Félicité is a troubled girl with a challenging and difficult past. Even though her past was far from ideal, she is able to move on with her life and love others in a way she never thought possible. She is able to change for the better and that is what makes her special.    

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
Both. I proofread and edit my own works countless times; however, as a writer it is extremely important to hand over your baby (book) to others to read and edit. They will catch things you will overlook and give you ideas for what can be better, or could be taken out or added to help the plot flow better. Having multiple other people edit your work is the only way to make your words shine.

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I purchased a photo from a stock photography website for Félicité Found. I searched hundreds of photos and then, BAM, I found it, or rather the girl who is Félicité in every way. It was uncanny and meant to be. Photoshop transformed the photo from just a picture to a beautiful book cover. Félicité Found is gorgeous, I think, but I’m biased. *wink*  

Why did you choose to publish this book independently?
I had an agent for Félicité Found. At the end of my contract, I decided to part ways with her and pursue my writing independently. This is not to say that I am not planning on being traditionally published in the future, but self-publishing was the perfect route for me at the time.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
There is freedom that comes from self-publishing. I was totally in control and enjoyed the process, even when the formatting issues drove me crazy. There are many disadvantages: I had to do everything from book cover design, to formatting page by page, and setting up e-reader and paperback accounts to distribute my book. I don’t have a publisher backing me up and helping me market.

How do you market your books?
The weeks before I launched Félicité Found, I started to social network about the book’s release. Launch week consisted of a blog tour that included many great bloggers sharing about the book. I also did a blog blitz and over 80 bloggers promoted my book on their sites. Word of mouth helps, too. Félicité Found is listed on Goodreads and my blog. I have done a book signing and want to participate in many more. In the near future, I plan to sell Félicité Found on consignment at book stores and see how that pans out.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Just write and keep writing. The first draft is not going to be pretty, but through revisions and editing it will become something beautiful. Make sure that other people read and edit your book(s), especially people outside of your family. I found most of my betas through social networking and haven’t met many of them. One thing to do is read, read, and read some more. Other authors’ works are the writers textbook and the best textbooks I’ve ever read (read: not boring). ;)

Are you writing anything new?
I have one other completed book named Bound, the first book in a trilogy called The Banshee Book. I have many other plots twirling around in my head. I have started drafting all of them, but have yet to peg down which one to focus on. With a high stress day job, I find it difficult to write as much as I would like to. Total bummer.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?
You can purchase it on (paperback and e-reader) and (Nook Book). 

I want to thank Julia for her time with this review and interview. To find out more about her and to connect with her on social media, follow the links below:

Félicité Found
By Julia King
264 pp. Julia King. $1.99; $8.54.