J.M. Northup and Marnie Cate

When I started my journey as a writer, I was mid 30s, recently divorced, and searching for something more out of the life I had carved for myself.  One day, I had this amazing “vision”.  Hold on. Before you get worried, I always had really intense dreams and even night terrors.  Anyway, back to my vision….

The opening scene of Remember with its destruction felt so strong, and when it led me to a catlike creature in a silver nest, I knew I needed to write a book. Everyone I told about my new mission smiled at the crazy lady and said, “A book. How nice.”  One or two around me encouraged me, and I spent my evening and weekends at a Starbucks in California. When I returned to Arizona, I was almost finished with my book and eager to publish it and share my story with the world.

So, I researched, formatted, and published my first novel – Remember.  A few months later, I realized I had no idea what I was doing, and I signed with a small press. After time, I had several titles published but felt incomplete.  Later, I found out that my original novels really needed work.  I had been naïve and thought that was all done.

Then, I met Julie Northup.  By now, I am a jaded and untrusting soul.  Life had shown me that when you are down, there is always someone there waiting to give you a kick. This is not a poor me message.  This is just to describe the extreme caution I felt when this online persona came charging at me (really the only way to describe Jules).  In one moment, this stranger swept me into her online arms, told me that my books were amazing, and declared we were best friends forever.  Still cautious, I turned over my fourth book, Envy, and found out what my writing career had been missing.

My soundboard, my creative guide, my big word-using friend gave me the confidence to go back to the original books and make them even better. Writing my next series was a new experience, I could talk about my ideas, and the muses’ guidance with someone that understood the voices in my head.

So my advice to anyone that feels they want to write a book — be sure to get yourself a Julie.  They might make you mad and swear at them, but you will be a better author and a better friend if you have one in your life. 

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How I’d describe our meeting.
The part of Jules will be played by Tigger

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