F.M. Boughan interviewed Julie about her YA contemporary novel, THE SOUND OF US, just published by Entangled Teen. Julie’s a member of the Sweet Sixteens, an online group for authors debuting in 2016. F.M. rolls with the Swanky Seventeens.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.
She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.
Except camp has rigid conduct rules―which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot, equally geeky drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.
But when someone starts reporting singers who break conduct rules, music camp turns survival of the fittest, and people are getting kicked out. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends―and her first real chance at something more―might cost her the future she wants more than anything. You can purchase THE SOUND OF US at barnesandnoble, powells, amazon, booksamillion and indiebound).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie Hammerle writes Young Adult books. In her previous life, she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on the internet, leads meetings for one of those weight loss programs you’ve definitely heard of, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her iPod reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list.
She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana.
TALKING ABOUT ‘THE SOUND OF US’
F.M.: From the moment I heard the tag line “Pitch Perfect at opera camp,” I was sold! What inspired you to write this story? Did you have your own Pitch Perfect / camp experience while growing up?
Julie: Sadly, I never went to music camp of any kind. The only overnight camp I ever attended was for basketball, which was obviously the right decision, since I’m in the WNBA now. (No, not really. I wouldn’t want to accidentally start a rumor about myself.) Actually, I had originally intended to set this book during Kiki’s freshman year of college, but I switched it to summer camp for genre purposes.
F.M.: There’s so much Latin in this book! As a Classics major, I love it. Did you set out to include Latin in this book or did it come about organically? Does mining life experience in your stories come naturally to you?
Julie: Latina vivit! You were a Classics major? So was I! I started out as a voice major, then switched to a double major in Latin and secondary education. I taught Latin for about six years (every grade from two through twelve), until my son was born. In many ways, Latin was a fallback for me, so I made it a fallback for Kiki as well.
F.M.: I can totally relate to your character Mary when it comes to theory: “Give me a song and I can learn it. Ask me to analyze it, and I’m a mess.” But your main character Kiki is fantastic with theory! Which character do you relate to more?
Julie: I loved theory in college. Loved it. I am such a puzzle person, and I really enjoyed the analytical aspects of studying music.
F.M.: Your query-to-call story spans several years (as you tell it on your website). What one piece of advice do you have for other writers, whether they’re sitting in that agent query zone or even on submission with their agent right now?
Julie: It has been said a million times on a million websites, but just keep writing. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself—mentally and professionally. It’s not always easy, of course, but immersing yourself in a world where you’re the boss is a great way to take your mind off the things you can’t control.
Writing beverage of choice?
Coffee, black. And water.
Favorite book when you were a teen?
The Besty-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Betsy and Joe was my favourite.
Guys and Dolls! I played Sarah when I was a senior in high school.
If you had to choose a theme song for your book it would be…
“Lets Have a Kiki” by the Scissor Sisters
The Weasley twins. Both of them.
Favorite word in Latin?
“Meretrix,” which means “prostitute.” My college roommate and I used to look up dirty words in our Latin dictionaries all the time. We were very good students. Also, “tuxtax,” which is an onomatopoetic word for fighting sounds, basically.
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.
F.M. Boughan’s debut YA fantasy, CINDERELLA, NECROMANCER, will be published Fall 2017 from Month9Books.