- The Clock Shop series by Julianne Holmes
- The Theater Cop series by J.A. Hennrikus
- The Garden Squad series by Julia Henry
NBR: Your first series was about a Clock Shop. How did that come to be?
Julie: It’s an interesting story, actually. There was an editor who had an idea for a series. More than an idea, a pretty full book bible for a three book series. She was looking for a writer. Through some opportunistic happenings (partly thanks to Barbara Ross), I was suggested as a writer to the editor. I wrote a proposal, and got the opportunity to write the three books in the series. I’d never imagined that that would be how I was first published, but what a wonderful opportunity. I’d been trying to sell A Christmas Peril for a while, so I was grateful to have the opportunity to write the three Clock Shop books, to get them published, and to learn more about that side of the writing life. Also, I loved the series! The first book was greatly influenced by the editor’s ideas (she was so great to work with), but the next two had more and more input from me.
NBR: Writing as Julianne Holmes, the first book in the Clock Shop series, “Killing Time,” was so well crafted that Ms. Hennrikus received an Agatha Award nomination in the Best First Mystery category.
I was in the audience for the Best First panel at Malice Domestic when Margaret Maron interviewed the five finalists in the category. Look closely at Julie’s outfit (clock fabric). She was completely into the Clock Shop role and the onlookers loved it!
NBR: Read the review for “Just Killing Time” here.
NBR: About the Theater Cop series – were you ever an actor or was your theater work always behind the scenes?
Julie: I always wanted to be an actor, but I was never that brave! Maybe I’ll find the courage as I get older. I’ve made a career working behind the scenes. I’ve run box offices, company managed shows, done marketing, run a service organization. I’ve also taught arts management classes for close to 15 years. The list is long. I love the performing arts, and am blessed to have found a way to make a life in the field.
NBR: With the Clock Shop series getting great reviews, Ms. Hennrikus found a home for “A Christmas Peril,” and the series highlights much of the behind-the-scenes life in the theater world.
NBR: Read my review of “A Christmas Peril” here.
Book #2 in the series, “With A Kiss I Die,” is out now.
NBR: It looks as if you created your own arts related business. Is this a fulltime job outside of the writing?
Julie: A year ago I started Your Ladders. Most artists are taught the craft of their work, but nothing about the business side of the arts. Your Ladders is a subscription that artists can use to learn the business side of show business without having to go back to school. Getting it up and running has been more than full time, but my goal is to incorporate my writing life more and more. So many folks who have creative pursuits have to work several jobs to make it all work. I’m one of those people. But the jobs I have–writing, teaching, running Your Ladders–are all joyful pursuits.
My goal has been, is, to empower artists on their journey. As a published author, I navigate my own artistic journey, and know that the skills I teach have helped me move from writer to multi-published author.
NBR: The new Garden Squad series features gardening. Do you have a garden? Photos? Tips?
Julie: I used to have a house, and loved gardening. My sister Caroline is an amazing gardener, and she is one of my sources for tips. By the way, if any of your readers has a tip they’re willing to share, please do! Here’s a form to fill out. I include tips in the back of the books. (NBR: The list in “Pruning the Dead” is practical and easy to use.)
There is something so joyful about gardening, isn’t there? I love writing this new Garden Squad series, and exploring the different ways of gardening. I was worried about the seasonality of the books, but Lilly Jayne has a greenhouse, so it’s working out. I’m still not exactly sure how I was inspired to create Goosebush and all the characters in the series, but I’m so glad that I was.
NBR: Read my review of “Pruning the Dead” here.
Book #2 in the series, “Tilling the Truth,” will be out later this month.
NBR: Do you have pets?
Julie: I do! Three years ago, a friend reached out. She was trying to place two cats who had been found in an abandoned house in Stamford, Connecticut. They both have FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), so they couldn’t be placed in a shelter. I adopted them both, and named them Fred and Ginger. Ginger was likely feral, and it took her a while to settle in. She is now a lovebug who is this close to being a lap cat. Fred is a big boy, a gray tuxedo cat. They think he was dumped, because he was fixed when they found him. He’s settled in as well. They are probably around 5 now, and are great company.
NBR: What is your favorite place to vacation?
Julie: My folks have a place on Cape Cod, so I love visiting there. And my grandparents had a place on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, and some of my happiest memories are there. But I’ve take two river cruises with my friends Marianne and Stephanie in the past five years. I know that a river cruise isn’t a place, but what a wonderful way to travel!
NBR: Are you a city gal or country gal?
Julie: I am a city gal. I live in Somerville, MA, which is a small city right outside Boston. I love the convenience, the plethora of things to do, and the different opportunities the city offers. That said, I do enjoy visits to the country. Though dead silence keeps me up at night.
NBR: LOL Me, too! I need at least crickets in the background.
NBR: Many cozy/mystery writers include food and/or cooking scenes in their books. You do that as well, especially in “Pruning the Dead.” Do you have any favorite foods or recipes?
Julie: My grandmother taught me how to bake. I have a very soft spot for pies, and make a mean apple pie if I do say so. I bake with my nieces and tell them stories about Grandma so they know her, and they also get the recipes. Her secret, by the way, was to overseason. One teaspoon of cinnamon is one tablespoon. One quarter teaspoon of nutmeg is one full teaspoon.
NBR: Great tip. I upped the seasoning in my apple tart this past weekend and the flavor really pops!
Julie: As for other food? I’m a decent cook, and love all sorts of food. I love going out to dinner, but at home I cook for myself. Unless I’m on deadline. Then I order a pizza and eat it for a few days.
NBR: Do you write every day? What is your favorite time to write and where?
Julie: My goal is to write every day. It is surprisingly hard to get started and to do it, but writing gives me such joy. I am a plotter, which makes a daily practice a bit easier, since I work hard at the roadmap, so sitting down and writing is a bit easier.
Up until last August I had an office job, so I only wrote nights and weekends. It’s so hard to get out of that habit! But now that I’m running my own business I find that my best time writing is early afternoon. I wish I could say that writing at my desk works best, but I have a big red couch, and sitting on that with my laptop is my favorite writing place.
Recently I got an iPad, and I installed Scrivener on it. I used the iPad to do the edits on my most recent manuscript as well. That has made my writing life much more transportable, so I may try writing outside this summer.
NBR: It’s rumored that Julie Hennrikus has a WIP (work-in-progress) of a thriller she’s “been noodling for a while.” We shouldn’t expect to see lots of blood in the book, but she admits a car has been blown up. Hmmm…a cozy thriller? If anyone could pull it off, Julie/JA/Julianna could.
Julie: I tweet under @JHAuthors, am on Pinterest and Instagram, and have a page on Facebook. I also blog on Live to Write/Write to Live, and I blog on Killer Characters on the 20th of each month. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I blog with the wonderful Wicked Authors. These women are my friends, my blog mates, and my cheering squad. Come by and visit us!
NBR: Back in November, 2018, the recipients of the 3rd annual Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC) “Champions of Artists” awards were announced. The awards are given to recognize ‘exceptional support of the artists community.’ Julie was one of the six recipients! We congratulate her for making a difference in the lives of so many artists, both on and off the stage, throughout the years. Bravo!!!
Many thanks to Julie Hennrikus for generously sharing so much of her time to answer my questions for the profile. 🙂 Please visit www.jhauthors.com for more about this delightful bestselling author and her books.