Today I am so pleased to welcome Julie Bozza to Joyfully Jay. Julie has come to talk to us about a new release, Writ in Blood. Julie has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving a big welcome!

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Julie has written some questions and answers to share with us today!

When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Or, more precisely, I always thought that a writer was the most marvelous thing to be – but I had no confidence that I could be one myself. My early attempts were all thwarted by what I feared was a lack of imagination, or an inability to turn an idea into worthwhile prose. But every now and then I tried again. I took Creative Writing classes in the latter years of high school, and then switched from Accounting to Professional Writing in college – before dropping out due to Real Life pressures. And did I mention that lack of confidence…?

Discovering fan fiction in my twenties fueled my motivation to keep trying to write, and to keep trying to fail less badly at writing. But it was only at 29, when I finally started writing a professional novel – which became The Definitive Albert J. Sterne – that I began thinking that maybe I could be a writer after all.

As for whether I think I’m good at it… I must admit that I’m pretty darned pleased with what I’ve written and published so far, both fan fic and pro fic. But I am always trying to discover whether I am actually good at it. I am always trying to find out just how good at writing I might be able to become. (I suspect that becoming complacent would be totally counterproductive to my creativity.)

 

If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?

Try as I might to come up with an alternative, my answer here is John Keats. And it’s not even that I want to ask him anything in particular. I would just love to hang out with him, and a long afternoon and evening of conversation with him seems like bliss to me.

Keats was a good, decent man. He was an excellent brother and friend. Many of his friends had their own gravestones inscribed “Friend of Keats”, years and even decades after Keats’ early death. He was pragmatic at times and a dreamer otherwise. Despite becoming a qualified apothecary, he gave up any thought of a medical career to pursue poetry. He had a great deal of emotional baggage about women, but chose his true love, Fanny Brawne, wisely. He wrote great poetry, but also great letters, in which he often shared his philosophies of life and poetry. He was brave, reticent about his own history, always generous to those around him.

I think he’s the best person who ever lived, though he was all too human. I just want to sit down with him over a good meal and a bottle of claret – and talk!

 

What inspired you to write Writ in Blood? What were the challenges in bringing it to life?

This novel has been a looong labor of love, which began way back when I first saw the film Tombstone (1993) in the cinema. I was still in the throes of writing Albert, but Tombstone forced me to take a couple of months off in order to write fan fiction. I was particularly inspired by Johnny Ringo, as portrayed by Michael Biehn!

I started writing this novel, Writ in Blood, way back then – over 27 years ago. I got as far as the end of Chapter 9, in which everyone has reached Tombstone. And it all came to a crashing halt. The situations and personalities that led to the Fiasco on Fremont Street (better known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) were complex, and I felt daunted.

I was living in Australia, and it was the early days of the internet. There simply weren’t the resources online we have readily available today, and of course I was a long way from the physical libraries, archives and museums that might help. I had ordered some terrific books via Amazon (back when it was a bookstore!) but there was still too much I didn’t know.

Fast-forward to 2020, the year of the pandemic… Unusually for me, I had a few novel-sized works in progress – and after rereading those first nine chapters, I added Writ in Blood to the list. It still needed lots of work, but it was more promising than I’d remembered it. Cue a whole bunch of internet searching and further book purchases!

I learned and rewrote, and learned and rewrote some more, and started tackling the later chapters. I’m delighted with the results, but this has been the hardest work of any of my novels to write.

 

Who did your cover for Writ in Blood, and what was the design process like?

After such a long and involved writing process – which resulted in what feels like a substantial book in content as well as word count – I decided to go “all in” with publishing it.

I made one of my own dreams come true by approaching a friend, Mags Kulbicka of artgroves, and asking if she’d be prepared to illustrate it. Reader, she said yes! We negotiated possibilities and expectations – and what I have as a result are five beautiful drawings in the interior of the book, each illustrating a particular moment in a scene. And I also have a gorgeous drawing for the front cover which features the main characters and includes elements of their stories. It really has been a dream come true.

For the cover design, I approached another friend – Dianne Thies of Lyrical Lines – and she said yes as well! This really has been a serendipitous project… You know, if you ignore the decades in between when I started the novel and finally finished it. But that wait proved to be worth it, really.

Anyway, Dianne and I talked about design elements she could bring to the illustration, which tie in with story elements in the novel – and the end result is not only gorgeous, but ties some significant themes together into a whole.

It’s been such a thrill for me to have Mags and Dianne bring their own creativity to this project – and I feel the whole now equates to more than the sum of its parts. If I sound giddy… well, I am!

 

What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?

As mentioned above, I have a few works-in-progress. Probably the next one I’ll pick up is Lena and Miss Cawkwell, which begins with my story “Lena and the Swan, or The Lesbian Lothario” from the Great War charity anthology A Pride of Poppies published by Manifold Press. There is much more to be told of Lena’s misadventures! Though, to be honest, I am still so steeped in the Old West that it might be a wrench to return to the Home Front in England… But it must be done!


Blurb

writ in blood coverCourage. Honor. Loyalty. All fine things, but they’ve led John Ringo to kill a man. He was raised right and he knows he’s not a murderer, but otherwise he’s a mystery even to himself. Doc Holliday claims to have some insights, but Doc is too devoted to Wyatt Earp to spare much attention for the man who’s already lost his soul.

Which leaves Johnny Ringo prey to the distractions of a demon. Imaginary or not, if this creature abandons him, too, then surely his sanity is forfeit – and what will his life be worth then?

This Queer Weird West novel follows these three along the complex trails that lead into and out of Tombstone, Arizona in 1881.

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Bio

Julie bozza bio photoOrdinary people are extraordinary. We can all aspire to decency, generosity, respect, honesty – and the power of love (all kinds of love!) can help us grow into our best selves.

I write stories about ‘ordinary’ people finding their answers in themselves and each other. I write about friends and lovers, and the families we create for ourselves. I explore the depth and the meaning, the fun and the possibilities, in ‘everyday’ experiences and relationships. I believe that embodying these things is how we can live our lives more fully.

Creative works help us each find our own clarity and our own joy. Readers bring their hearts and souls to reading, just as authors bring their hearts and souls to writing – and together we make a whole.

And that’s me! Julie Bozza. Quirky. Queer. Sincere.


Giveaway

Julie is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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