Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Always there - Norah and Charlie

For any book or series that I write, there will always be two characters with the names Norah and Charlie.

The reason is bittersweet; I do this as a memorial to two adorable little children that we lost too soon. Charlie was my nephew, who died at age 4. Norah was the daughter of a friend. She passed away at age 6.

This didn't start out as a conscious decision. I wanted them both to be remembered--and simply wrote them into my first book. Once I'd discovered this way to remember them, I knew that I'd want to include them again.

Since I Wish was the first YA book that I wrote (although it was the fourth to be published), Norah and Charlie made their first appearance in it. They are two ice-skaters in "genie-land."

They play a bigger role in the Whisper Falls series. Mark (the hero) has a strong relationship with his grandparents, Norah and Charlie. They appear in all three books of the series.

In The Possibility of Somewhere (writing as Julia Day), Eden once held a job at Charlie's Diner, working with a waitress named Norah. A small presence--but I know they're there, and now you do too.

For Fade To Us, there are three main characters: Brooke, her stepsister Natalie, and the guy they both like (in different ways) Micah.  Micah's father is Charlie. Natalie has a camp counselor named Norah. Both Norah and Charlie have small roles in this book--but they are great and memorable people, just like their namesakes!

For Norah and Charlie--
We have not forgotten.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Always there - military

When authors write young adult novels, there are many aspects that we're all trying to achieve: a well-written story with a good plot, sympathetic characters who struggle with relatable problems, and interesting settings.

I have other elements that will always be there. Some appeared without me really thinking about. Others--I decided to include in every book or series. And one of those is military service. There will always be a military character in my books.

I served 8 years in the military. My father, brother, and sister are all military retirees. I'm proud to have served--and that spills over into my stories.

All of my books/series have at least one secondary character who has served. In the Whisper Falls series, it was Mark's aunt, an Army major who lost her life in Afghanistan. In the I Wish series, Lacey's dad was a Marine who died in a training accident. In The Possibility of Somewhere, Mundy's father was a Navy helicopter pilot.

In future books, military characters will be more prominent. In my next Julia Day release, the heroine's stepfather is a recently retired Army sergeant. And I've already outlined another book where the hero will be an active-duty military member.

There are a lot of books that feature SEALs, fighter pilots, or military lawyers / investigators. I won't be writing more of those books. Instead, I'll focus on servicemembers with jobs that are less well-known: mechanics, military police, engineers, Signal Corps (telecommunications).  I'm not as familiar with those career fields, but I'm having a lot of fun with the research.

I'm also open for suggestions. So if you are in the military or have a military family member with an interesting job or story that needs to be heard, please let me know.