Sunday Interview #7

Hi, Everyone! Thanks for joining us for another interview! Today, I’d like to introduce Julie Burtinshaw, a Canadian author. She was my co-panelist when we spoke about young adult fiction at the Symposium of Manitoba Writing (see previous post here)

Welcome, Julie! Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself? 

Well, let’s see. I live in Vancouver with my husband, our cat and we have two kids – one married and one in third year university. I love the ocean and if I’m away from it for too long, I go through withdrawal! I love reading, I love people, but I also cherish my alone time – to percolate ideas and to write.

What inspired you to start writing?

I actually can’t remember not writing. I was one of those kids who kept a journal from a young age. I was also a great letter writer in my teens and my love, or possibly need to write followed me into adulthood.  I do have copies of my first ‘book,’ which I wrote in grade one, with the help of my mom, who always encouraged my creative side.

I think it’s great that you have kept your book from grade one. It just goes to prove, your passion for writing started at a young age! 🙂

What was the first book you got published?


My first published book came out in 2000 and is called ‘Dead Reckoning’. It is historical fiction – a terrifying tale of the sinking of the steamship Valencia off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Why did you choose to write in the young adult genre?

I didn’t really choose this… but I am naturally drawn to kids – teens have open minds, inquiring minds and are full of curiosity. Teenagers are also in a time of reflection and best of all, the future is in their hands.

Would you please describe the process you went through to be published? Did you need to find an agent first?

Although I have an agent now, I did not have an agent when my first book came out. Rather, I sent it out to several publishers and was lucky to be picked up by Raincoast Books in Vancouver. I stayed with them until they closed their publishing arm in 2008.

What other books have you written?

The Freedom of Jenny

In the Historical Fiction genre, I’ve written one other novel: The Freedom of Jenny, about the black migration from Missouri to California to Vancouver Island in the 1850s. I’ve also got a fun little book of short stories called ‘Romantic Ghost Stories‘.  My fiction books are: ‘Adrift‘, ‘The Perfect Cut‘ and ‘The Darkness Between the Stars‘.

Romantic Ghost Stories

(For those who are interested, I’ve linked all the book photos so clicking on them will send you to a site where you can learn more about them)

Julie, you’ve just returned from a writing retreat. That sounds like it would be a wonderful experience. For those of us who have never been to one, what is a writing retreat like? 

Imagine a place, in this case a wonderful abbey in Saskatchewan where you are surrounded by other writers, you don’t have to make meals and silence is recommended between nine and five. Imagine a place where all you have to think about is what you are currently writing. Imagine immersing yourself in your characters – that’s what a retreat is all about for me and I recommend it for anyone who has to deal with the distractions of everyday life while writing a book.


Sounds fantastic!

Some writers are superstitious about their works in progress and won’t talk about them. Are you currently working on a new novel? Would you mind giving us a hint about what it will be about? (It’s okay if you want to keep it to yourself until you’re finished it.)

The Perfect Cut

Ha, yes I am one of those superstitious writers, but I can tell you that I have a completed novel with my agent and am nearly through another one – both of which I am very excited about. Let’s just say these books are both about kids dealing with parents – not always easy!  

I can’t wait to read them! 🙂

Have you ever considered digital or self-publishing?

The Darkness Between the Stars

Yes, I have and I am interested in turning some of my backlist into e-books, or creating a trade book and an e-book at the same time. 

Where do you see the future of young adult literature headed?

I feel very positive about the future of YA. Kids will always read, although the medium they read on may change. YA remains one of the fasted growing genres.  

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

If you are considering writing for youth, my best advice after eight books is to be real, be honest. Never preach and give the kids credit for their ability to read a sophisticated story. Never, ever write down to them, because they are smart and they will sense it right away.

If readers wanted to find you, where should they look? (Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc)

A quick google search for reviews and of course on Amazon, Indigo, Goodreads and Facebook. My twitter handle is #writerjulie and my blog is

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Julie!

Thank you for this opportunity to participate in your blog. 

It was our pleasure, Julie. Good luck with your future writing endeavors! 

Hope you all enjoyed meeting Julie and I hope you will check out her books. 🙂