Monday, July 5, 2010

Introducing 2011: Julia Karr

Julia's debut novel, XVI, will be published by Speak in January 2011.


1. The plot of XVI sounds so unique, how did you come up with it?

XVI started with a single mental picture of a punk rock girl walking down a city street. She had her ear buds in and was trying to drown out all the city sounds with her music. Stepping over a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk, she walked a few more steps, but something inside made her turn around and go back, wanting to help the man.

That was all I had, a mental image and those sparse thoughts. A week or so later, NaNoWriMo started, (National Novel Writing Month for anyone who doesn't know what that is!) and I took that mental image and the story unfolded from there. Since I love Chicago so much (and lived there when I was sixteen) that’s where I set it.

2. In what ways do you relate with Nina?

I’m sure, like most authors, there are parts of me in my main character. Like Nina, my mother died when I was in my teens (no, she wasn’t murdered!), so I can understand her emotions surrounding that loss. I relate to her ambivalence about the way sexuality is treated by the media and by her friends. And, I have pretty vivid memories of falling in love for the first time. *grins*

3. In the summary of XVI it says sixteenth is read as "sex-teenth", what exactly does that mean?

In Nina’s world, the media primes girls to think of themselves as not much more than sexual objects. They are encouraged to think, act, dress and display themselves sexually, with the inevitable outcome of being “legal” sexual partners at the age of sixteen. (Whether they want to be or not.)

4. You have quite a few works in progress, what's your writing process like?

My writing process evolves differently with each book. I do, however, love to get that first draft done! When I get an idea, I like to barrel through from start to finish. It’s messy, very messy! Then, once the framework of that first draft is done, I let it sit and simmer. I share with my critique partners. Get their input and then go back into the jumble of words and thoughts and work at making them a whole lot better.

5. Personally, what's your favorite young adult dystopian?

I really have not read any young adult dystopian novels. The reason being - when I realized XVI was shaping up into something that might get published - I did not want to be influenced by anyone else’s stories. So, I steered clear of all YA dystopia.

My favorite classic dystopian novel is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and I also love George Orwell’s 1984.


Thanks so much, Julia!

Click here to visit her website!


  1. XVI looks amazing! Loved the interview, and I can't wait to read the book!


  2. Thanks, Jane. I hope you like XVI!

    Thanks, Angie! :)

  3. I'm definitely looking forward to this novel. I love dystopian and this one seems different than many of the others that will be hitting bookshelves in the next year.

  4. Kelsey - thanks so much for the interview!

  5. Wow, this sounds so good, doesn't it? Each new tidbit I read about the 2011 debuts makes me wish I had more reading time now. :)


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