Saturday, April 16, 2011

Interview: Julia Karr

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Julia Karr to the blog as part of the Cornucopia of Dystopia Blog Tour. She was nice enough to answer a few questions for me about her young adult debut novel XVI (you can read my review HERE) which is now available. A sequel, Truth, is in the works as is a spin-off story called Cinderella Girl. Hope you all enjoy the interview!

Do you remember the exact moment you first got the idea for XVI, or the one aspect of the story that came to your mind first?

I do. The first aspect was Nina. She popped into my head one day - bopping down the street, earbuds in, trying to ignore the sounds of the city and a homeless guy in the street. Thus XVI was born.

If your daughters were young in Nina’s world and they asked you why the XVI tattoo was necessary for them, how would you explain it?

That would be hard. I think I'd be inclined to immediately join the Resistance and get them out of there. I would never stay in a place that marked girls that way - ever.

Can you explain the significance of using the roman numeral for the title and the tattoo as opposed to just the number 16?

I think the number 16 is not nearly as sterile and unfeeling as XVI.

XVI has a beautiful cover design–simple and clean but still eye-catching–is there another young adult book you would say inspires a little cover envy in you?

Oh my - lots! Vesper by Jeff Sampson is awesome! As is Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris! If you go to The Elevesies on livejournal & look at all their covers… OMG! I'm totally in love with all of them! Luminous by Dawn Metcalf is another fav!

Is there one step in the writing process that is the most fun for you (i.e. creating the outline, the actual writing, or the editing)? Most difficult?

The first draft is amazingly fun! Editing is freakin' HARD! But, I am actually learning to love editing, too! :)

Is there a character trait of Nina’s you would say you possess as well?

Hmmm… I share her love for her sister - and - I am pretty cautious about jumping into relationships!

Do you have any superstitions when it comes to your writing? Either you have to write while sitting in the same chair, you have to start writing the story with either the first or last chapter, or there’s a certain object you can’t sit down and write without?

I am not superstitious by nature, so not really. I do prefer to write in the morning right after I get up - but that's not always possible. Also - I do need it quiet to write. No playlists during writing - afterwards, yes - during, no.

I’m the type of person who can only read one book at a time, unable to split my focus between several. Is it easy for you to juggle writing multiple projects at once, or do you prefer to focus on one book until you have a first draft before you start something else?

I prefer to focus on one book at a time. I get so involved with my characters' lives that I can't just pull myself from their world into another made-up one. Heck, sometimes it's hard to get back to the real world from an intense writing session!

Sometimes (okay, often) I cheat and read the last page of a book first because the curiosity is too much for me to resist, do you ever flip straight to the back of the book before starting?

Not before starting - but, Boy, Howdy! Do I get flack from people because I will read the last few pages before finishing a book. I do that for 1 of 2 reasons - 1) either I'm bugged by the writing style, but have to know how the book ends and whether or not it's worth my while to keep reading, 2) it's so suspenseful that I'm tearing through it - not enjoying the ride, because I can't wait to get to the end. Then, I find out what happens and go back to leisurely enjoy the book.

If you had to put together a quick teaser tagline for The Sisterhood, the sequel to XVI, what would it say?

First off - the sequel has a new title - TRUTH. I think a quick tagline would be… "Sometimes even the truth can't set you free."

Thanks so much for the interview!

Thanks so much for stopping by Julia! If you want to know more about Julia and her books, you can find her here:




  1. Great interview! It's amazing all the different ways that story ideas and characters come to authors.
    The title for the sequel is interesting - it's also just a single word, but it actually is a word as opposed to a roman numeral. Interesting contrast.

  2. Great interview. I'm close with my sis too :)

  3. Nice interview. I love the cover of Vesper too. :p I couldn't keep my eyes off of it when I first saw it. The cover of XVI is also eye-catching. Though, at first, the reason why I couldn't keep my eyes off of it was because it looked really confusing lol.

  4. Thanks for a fun interview. LOVE the cover design and so relate with the author's #2 reason for reading the back of the book first . . . that's me!

  5. Alison - Thanks! I don't know how these ideas come to them, my mind just doesn't work that way:)

    Juju - Thanks!

    Chel - The cover of Vesper is really pretty, and I just like how bold the cover is, it just makes me want to look at it:)

    Anonymous - You're welcome:) And reason #2 for reading the back of the book is exactly me too!

  6. Great interview. I like the new title of the sequal. TRUTH!

  7. Flipping to the back and reading the ending is one my bad habits. I just end up spoiling the ending for myself. Good to know I'm not the only one that does it.

  8. Great interview. I think I'd be with you and join the resistance if I had 16 year old girls!

  9. Lol, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who goes right to the back of the book to find out what happens at the end. It's such a bad habit!

  10. Great interview! I love that tagline: Sometimes even the truth can't set you free. Amazing!
    Thanks for the interview!

  11. Nina - Thanks, and I like it too!

    Jenny - I try to not do it. I really do. But I can't help it. If I know it's going to be really emotional, I have to know what happens so I can be prepared:)

    Melissa - As would I, the world in this one is very disturbing!

    Zahida - You're not alone, I'm right there with you and Julia:)

  12. Nice interview.
    What a world, but that is what is good about dystopia, scary new worlds

  13. Nice interview. I will never understand ppl who flip to the back and read the ending! I detest spoilers with a passion. It takes all the reasons I read and flushes them right down the toilet. lol

  14. Blodeuedd - Exactly. That's one of the main reasons I find them so interesting:)

    Ash - It's a sickness. I can't help it! Sometimes I just have to know and nothing can stop me from doing it:)

  15. The quick tagline for Truth gave me the chills!

    I think if I lived in a world like Nina's, I definitely join the resistance. I love the cover for XVI. The design is brilliant and the title XVI is more unfeeling, and conveys the message perfectly.

    And GAH! I never allow myself to go to the back of the book. I sometimes stop reading to flip to the cover just to stare at it and wonder about the characters for a while. Me.. weird.

  16. Great interview. I really loved how she mentioned that she shared the same trait as Nina - love for her sister. The realtionships were my favourite part of this story.

  17. You both are such cheaters! Reading the last pages before you've read all the others! haha! I can't do that because if I do, I'm afraid I won't want to finish reading the book! Great interview!

  18. Ha, I'm just as guilty of peeking at the last page because the curiosity becomes too much. :) Great interview Jenny - you ask such wonderfully thought-out questions and I loved Julia's answers. Must definitely get my hands on this book.

  19. Missie - I can't help it woman! I have to do it, I have to know!

    Nic - Mine too:)

    Jacinda - I know! I've fully embraced my inner cheater:)

    Tammy - Exactly! Sometimes I just have to know:) Glad you enjoyed the interview!

  20. I agree- editing is hard!
    Thanks for the interview.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  21. Nice interview. It's interesting to hear about other writer's habits. I love writing the first draft too, except that I can't think of anything else and find it hard to sleep. Revising is the hardest part because there's so much rewriting, so in a way I like editing best because it's all there, you just have to make it shorter and better.

  22. Great interview! I liked this book and how it touched on a very sensitive subject!

  23. I'm a cheater too. I read the back sometimes too if I'm not sure I can finish the book. I loved this interview. The new title and tag line sound a little forboding.