Julie Hedlund is an award-winning children’s book author living her best life outside of Boulder, Colorado. She gets her inspiration from her two kids, her high-maintenance hound dog, and the view of Rocky Mountain National Park outside her window. Julie’s titles include: Song After Song: The Musical Life of Julie Andrews (Little Bee Books, 2023), Over, Bear! Under, Where? (Philomel, 2021), My Love for You is The Sun (Little Bahalia Publishing, 2014), and A Troop is a Group of Monkeys (Little Bahalia Publishing, 2013). Julie is a regular speaker at writing industry events, schools and libraries, bookstores, and book festivals. She is the founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, co-founder of the annual online conference Picture Book Summit, and the co-creator (with Emma Walton Hamilton) of The Complete Picture Book Submissions System. Visit Julie's website to learn more about her and her work.
1.Do you ever feel lonely being a writer? If so, how do you deal with that?
No, because I have the community of the 12 x12 Picture Book Writing Challenge around me every day. If I ever need support, I just go the Facebook group. It's always open!
2. Do you ever struggle to come up with your next project? Or do you have lots of ideas and find ita challenge to narrow down your ideas?
It's a little bit of both, actually. I'm not very good at writing ideas down when they come to me (I know! I know! BAD writer!). Even so, I end up with a lot of WIPs at once and have to force myself to focus on one or two in order to get something finished. My process is a bit of a mess, really. But when I do get my hooks into something I love, it's magic!
3. When you begin creating a book, do you always know where the story is going?
No, never. I'm an absolute pantser, and I have to work on a story for a while before it starts to take any kind of shape. Once I do find the right ending, though, I find it easier to make the rest of the story lead up to that.
4. What was the most challenging thing you faced while writing or researching Song after Song?
Honestly, my love of Julie Andrews sometimes made it difficult for me to write without thinking about what she would think. I wanted her to love the book, so my earlier drafts didn't have anything of me or my "why." As a result, the earlier drafts tended to be a bit flat or too saccharine. I wasn't taking emotional risks or putting enough of my heart into the story.
5. If you could tell readers one secret about this book, what would it be?
When I went to London to do research for the book, The Royal Palladium theater (where the climax of the book takes place) was closed because they were in-between shows. I was devastated that I wouldn't be able to take a tour. But one night, I noticed the lights on and the side door open, so I snuck in! I walked all around, taking pictures and giving myself a guided tour. Nobody said a word to me. It was thrilling!
6. If you read this book to a room filled with kids, what message would you want them to leave with?
Whatever your unique gifts are, use them to make the world a better place. That's what Julie did, despite many hardships.
Are you a traditionally published (or soon-to-be-published) creator of picture books or middle-grade books? Would you like to be featured on Six Questions? Email mary@boonewrites to get signed up!