I’d like to introduce everyone to this week’s Author of the Week, Julie Cosgrove! Julie writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications. She has also written several award winning Christian books as well as Bible studies. Click on any of the links in this post to check her out! Without further ado, let’s get to know Julie.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.
I am a born and raised Texan, and at the age of thirteen became a child of God by accepting Jesus into my life. I grew up in San Antonio, but spent much of my summers at our family cabin in the Texas Hill Country along the river. There, I developed a deep respect and interest in nature and God’s little creatures. I still enjoy watching weather roll in, squirrels in a winding dance up a tree trunk, and bugs scooting along the ground forging for food. But I also love suspense and mysteries, as long as they are not too graphic. I watch them on rent-TV and read them as well. I’m also a word game aficionado. Scrabble, Words with Friends, Find A Word…you name it.
2. When and why did you start writing books?
I dabbled in creative writing in high school and even won awards. But then life happened. I confess I would make up stories in my head while I drove, cleaned the house, etc. Many took months to plot, but I never thought of writing them down. When the nest emptied and my husband flitted from job to job, city to city and state to state, I found it harder to land employment. Three friends in three different states suggested I try freelance writing. Then, no matter where we moved, I’d still have a job. For several years I made money ghost writing web-based articles and eBooks. So, the itch to become an author grew.
3. What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?
When I immediately land contracts as a ghost writer, I knew this was God thing. So I tithed my writing day to Him first. I began landing contracts to write devotionals, and still regularly write for eight publications and websites. Then came the novel and novellas contracts. So I guess, writing tackled me. Now I am in blissfully basking in its stronghold, and God’s grace.
4. Which one of your books or characters is your favorite?
Oh, my. That is like asking which of your kids is your favorite! Since I love cozy mysteries, have been blessed with a three book contract to write them, and hope to write more in that series as well as a spin-off series, I guess Dumpster Dicing is my favorite. But determining whether Janie, Betsy Ann or Ethel—the three amateur Bunco-playing sleuths in the series—is my choice as a favorite character, well that’s even harder.
5. Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?
Freed to Forgive, hands down. My editor in chief encouraged me to write it. It chronicles the trek of a twelve-year- old illegal immigrant, Marisol, from trafficking to triumph. She was a minor character in my first suspense romance, Hush in the Storm, and readers wrote my publishing house asking if there would be a book about her. Researching it, conferencing with immigration attorneys, lobbyists for human rights, missionaries in safe houses, and legislators led me down dark paths, and I had people praying me through it. After several months of internet surfacing human trafficking, my spam email folder nauseated me. Thank goodness that has finally settled down. Her journey is told as respectfully as possible for the faith-based audience. The reader follows as Marisol learns she is still shackled by her unforgiving spirit even after she is freed for that abuse. I decided to give the reader a breather by juxtaposing her trek with that of a young pastor and of a Christian couple who help trafficked victims, all characters from the first book, as their paths collide with hers. Writing from all of those different perspectives involved a challenge, but readers tell me it worked well.
6. Who is your favorite author and book?
The late British suspense romance novelist Mary Stewart, and her novel The Ivy Tree. She also wrote The Moonspinners, which Walt Disney turned into a movie starring Haley Mills. If you have never read any of her books, check them out.
7. What book are you reading right now?
I am reading two. A mystery by Sandra Orchard entitled Deadly Devotion and then I am proofing a novella for another author in my publishing house.
8. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
Writers write from their experiences, whether vicariously or consciously. So a great deal of inspiration comes through that, whether it is by people watching or recalling similar incidences in my life or of those near to me. But most of all, I pray over the plots and my characters, and then get into a zone and click away at my keyboard “by the seat of my pants”, letting the thoughts flow. Often times I have to chuckle because I believe the Holy Spirit is guiding me into a plot twist I hadn’t previously thought about. My most common inspiration, however, comes through simply visualizing the scenes as if I were watching a movie, then writing about it so the reader can do the same. I utilize all the five senses to capture the three-dimensionality of the scene. In fact, many reviewers state they were so close to the action they felt as if they were watching it. That tells me I did my job.
9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
What I always have enjoyed—observing nature, reading, watching murder mysteries, and playing word games. Sometimes, I love to quietly curl up on the couch with my cats purring besides me and sip hot tea as I talk with God. It makes my widowhood less lonely.
10. Do you have any new books in the works?
Glad you asked! I have two more in the Bunco Biddies Mysteries series in various states of editing. Baby Bunco launches in early 2017 and Threes & Sixes releases in the early summer of 2017. My Christmas romance novella, Hill Country Homecoming, is being proofed. It is part of the Cowboy Christmas Series through Prism Book Group and will release right after Thanksgiving.