Hi Sandra, and thank you so much for featuring me and my debut poetry book, "Poems of Living, Loving & Lore" on your blog today; I really appreciate this. My name is Julie Catherine Vigna, and I'm from Canada. I was born and lived in Ontario most of my life, and moved west to Alberta and then beautiful British Columbia a few years ago. I love the mountains and lakes here; the air is clean, the scenery incredible, and it's an awesome environment with lots of inspiration for my writing!
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Like many other kids I wanted to be a veterinarian because I love animals - until I found out everything they have to do, stuff that just totally grossed me out! Then for awhile I thought I might be either a piano teacher or an English teacher. But what I wanted most of all was to write and draw; unlike my other secret dreams, I never grew out of the desire to be both a writer and an artist. I never went anywhere without carrying a notebook, sketchbook and pencils, and was constantly either drawing or writing poems and stories.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My debut poetry book is called, "Poems of Living, Loving & Lore". It's a journey of beauty: life, love, nature and a smattering of fairy poetry in mostly classical or traditional formats.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I published my poetry book on July 31, 2012 through Xlibris Publishing, which is a print on demand and author services company. I'd love to be picked up by a traditional publisher, but wanted total control over my poetry book, and wanted it published within months, not years. In the long run, I'm happy with my decision, and Xlibris produced a good quality book that I'm proud of. I have other projects in the works, and haven't decided what publishing route to go with them yet.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I have a new collection of poems I'm working on currently - the work-in-process title is "Essence of Woman", but that may change by the time I'm finished. The theme is everything that makes us the women we are. I'm also working on two novels: a middle-grade adventure/mystery set in Georgian Bay, Ontario (in Canada), and a contemporary romance. Clearly I'm not sticking to one genre! I'd like to publish the second poetry book sometime in 2013; the novels are at least a year or more away from being completed.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
The cover for Poems of Living, Loving & Lore is based on an original watercolour painting by a friend and fellow poet, Selena Howard. I told her I wanted something a little old-fashioned (one of her own paintings, not a photograph), clean and simple, and something that was purple - I'm so delighted with her design! The purple irises and dragonflies have an old-world charm that seems to fit with the classical poetry in the book; it makes me smile just looking at the cover! I chose the title afterwards. When I saw that there were three distinct types of poems, I decided to physically separate them into sections: poems dealing with life; love, and fairy/mythological poems. I love having each section named with an "L" word - I think it adds to the traditional feel.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
As I mentioned above, I chose the title for my poetry book after I wrote it; but I already have a working title for my next collection, although there are only about eight poems written for it. My middle-grade novel's working title is "The Island" (I know - boring! - it's definitely going to change!) - and I don't have a name yet for the contemporary romance novel. I like to have some kind of a name to work with while I write as it keeps the image of the theme in my head, but the titles will probably change after each of the books are completed.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I had a most horrible case of writer's block a couple of years ago! I was going through an extremely stressful time with my health, and found myself unable to write for almost 4 months - I was seriously depressed by my inability to work on my book, or to write even a small poem. It was a very bad time for me in many areas of my life, and I knew that I needed to sort out what was going on outside of my writing before I would be able to focus on it again. I also needed to learn some stress-reducing coping skills, which I did by daily meditations and spending quiet time listening to classical music. Both are very soul-soothing and stress reducing; and after several weeks of learning to relax I began doodling in a notebook. I did some journalling, and gradually started writing phrases and lines without pressuring myself to "produce". Eventually the "time out" paid off, because when I did begin writing again, I felt it was with a more mature approach, specifically with my poetry.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I usually have a few books on the go at the same time. Right now I'm reading two books on my kindle, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin; Becoming Lola by Harriet Steel, and a paperback - A Sweetness to the Soul, by Jane Kirkpatrick.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Oh, I hope not! I love ebooks; they're usually less expensive, more portable and it's easier to hold an e-reader - but there's really nothing to compare with holding an actual book in your hand and "smelling the ink"; I don't think they will ever completely disappear. I also collect antique books, and they're some of my most prized possessions.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I've always been a voracious reader of almost everything (except horror, sorry Stephen King!) ever since I first began to read - and have been writing since I was about six years old. When I was in grade three I wrote my first "book", it was about 15 pages - I even created the cover and illustrated the whole thing! It wasn't until I re-read it as an adult that I realized I had begun the book with one story plot and cast of characters, and halfway through, switched to an entirely different story plot and different characters for the rest of the book! I totally left the reader hanging with both stories! LOL. Writing is just a part of me, something I feel I was born to do.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
First of all, read a lot, in many different genres. The more you read, the better it is for your own writing. Secondly - and this is really important, especially if you decide to self-publish: proofread and edit, proofread and edit; and then proofread and edit again! Then get either an editor or at the very least, a couple of readers who excel in spelling, grammar and punctuation to proofread and edit for you. I don't know how many times I've read self-published books that are filled with typos and other errors, and it really takes the joy out of reading for me. Take pride in both the writing and the presentation of your work - it's a reflection on YOU. Lastly, never give up. Be persistent, be committed and write for the sheer joy of being able to use your creative gift of being a writer.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I actually do use a pen name: J C Edwards (Julie Catherine - a combination of my birth and adopted names, both of which I love). When I submit poems to anthologies - and I have several poems in various anthologies - I usually write under Julie Catherine Vigna; but my own books and collections will all be written under J C Edwards. I've always known that I would use this pen name for both my writing and my artwork.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Oh, that would have to be: Shakespeare, J R R Tolkien, and Marion Zimmer Bradley, I grew up on the classics in music, art and writing, and A Midsummer Night's Dream is my all-time favorite Shakespeare play (I love fairies!). I have all three LOTR DVDs plus a boxed set of the LOTR trilogy and a paperback with the three parts in one book; it's over 1,000 pages! I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote The Mists of Avalon, and it's one of my favorite series. I love Arthurian legends, and anything relating to Camelot. I re-read books by these authors multiple times each year.
Where can readers follow you?
Facebook Poetry Book Page:
Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Barnes & Noble Author Profile Page
And any other information you wish to supply?
Thank you again, Sandra, for having me here today; I've really enjoyed being your guest!
(Thank-you Julie for taking the time to do this Interview and introduce me to Poetry too!)