Julie Moffett is a bestselling author and writes in the genres of mystery, young adult, historical romance and paranormal romance. She has won numerous awards, including the 2014 Mystery & Mayhem Award for Best YA/New Adult Mystery, the prestigious 2014 HOLT Award for Best Novel with Romantic Elements, a HOLT Merit Award for Best Novel by a Virginia Author (twice!), the 2016 Award of Excellence, a PRISM Award for Best Romantic Time-Travel AND Best of the Best Paranormal Books of 2002, and the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Action/Adventure Novel. She has also garnered additional nominations for the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.
Julie is a military brat (Air Force) and has traveled extensively. Her more exciting exploits include attending high school in Okinawa, Japan; backpacking around Europe and Scandinavia for several months; a year-long college graduate study in Warsaw, Poland; and a wonderful trip to Scotland and Ireland where she fell in love with castles, kilts and brogues.
Julie has a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Language from Colorado College, an M.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and an M.Ed from Liberty University. She has worked as a proposal writer, journalist, teacher, librarian and researcher. Julie speaks Russian and Polish and has two sons.
How did you get started writing fiction?
I’ve been writing books since the 2nd grade. My first fiction story was a love story between Prince Valen and Princess Tina who met, fell in love and got married on Valentine’s Day. It was a hit with all the girls in my class. The boys held their noses and went “Ewwww…”. After that I won a 3rd grade poem contest about a haunted house, followed by a stint on my college newspaper, and later I moved into international journalism. Eventually I got brave enough to pen a novel. My first novel, Fleeting Splendor, a Scottish historical love triangle, came out in 1993. No Regrets, the 10th book in my geeky Lexi Carmichael mystery series, came out this past January.
You describe yourself as a military brat who grew up all over the world. What are some of your most interesting experiences?
Oh, I’ve had some wonderful experiences. The most memorable by far was going to high school on Okinawa, Japan for three years. We traveled quite a bit while my dad was stationed there (Kadena AFB), and I went to Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan. It was the most amazing, wonderful experience, and it remains one of my fondest memories to this day! I also spent a year in Poland, as a graduate student at the University of Warsaw, which was another fascinating experience, especially because it was still behind the Iron Curtain at the time.
You went from a potential CIA recruit to a journalist specializing in the Soviet Union to an award- winning journalist. How did you come to make this journey?
I almost joined the CIA and had actually gone through all the testing and medical until one of my professors at Georgetown thought I’d make a good candidate for a Russian-language research position with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. It’s a radio station run by the US that broadcasts news and information about Russia and surrounding countries in the various countries’ native languages. The headquarters at the time were in Munich, Germany. I went there for a summer internship just one year after the infamous Carlos bombed the building. The internship was so exciting. I loved it! So, I switched tracks from CIA to international journalism and never looked back!
You have B.A.s in Political Science and Russian Language and an M.A. in International Affairs. Have they had an influence or helped you in your writing?
It’s helped me enormously, as has my ability to travel so widely. I can actually write with confidence about a lot of the places in my books because I’ve been there, and, in some cases, lived there. I’m comfortable discussing politics and the military in my books as well, given my background.
You write series in a variety of genres: mystery, YA, historical romance, historical paranormal, and time travel romance. How do the different genres differ from each other in writing them?
They all have elements of mystery, romance, history and suspense. I just focus on the mystery when I’m writing a mystery, and a romance when I’m writing romance. But I like to see a little of all three elements (and sometimes more!) in all the books I write!
Your Lexi series of mysteries features a mathematical genius, but you say on your website that math was your hardest subject. Was it difficult to get into the mind of this character?
It wasn’t difficult at all. Lexi basically formed in my head with all her quirks and traits. Luckily, I have a lot of real-life geeks in the family to help me out when I need to do math!
You and your sister, Sandy Parks, also an award- winning writer, wrote a historical romance trilogy together. What is it like to write with your sister?
Sure, it’s a paranormal historical romance called the MacInness Legacy trilogy about three sisters who are descendants of Salem witches. They are born 100 years after the Salem witchcraft trials and discover they are the last hope of breaking a curse that has been put on their family for a century. I always wanted to write a book with my big sister, and the experience was wonderful. Sisters writing about sisters — it was easier than I thought! We collaborated about the big picture and more or less what we would put in our individual books. I wrote the first and the third books in the series, Sandy wrote the second book. We heavily collaborated on the third book to tie it all together. Sandy and I are super close, we talk several times a day. She’s more than just my sister. She’s my best friend! So the experience was fun. I’d do it again!
You write on your website about the need to keep your computer details accurate. Which books of yours use the computer? How do you incorporate computers into your mysteries?
ALL my books in the Lexi Carmichael series use computers, as do (and will) the books for my new YA geeky spin-off of the series, White Knights. Both heroines are computer geeks, hackers and coders. Luckily, I have several top-notch coders and computer geeks in my family (my nephew works for Google), and when I need help or advice, I have great resources at my fingertips! By the way, you don’t have to be a geek or a coder to understand the story, I typically don’t get that detailed. But I add enough flavor to make the books realistic.
What is your research process like as you write your books? What kinds of things do you research?
I do a lot of research before I start a book. Typically since there is so much travel in my stories, I need to know the climate, the flora, the food, the smells, the city layout and what’s going on in the country in general. Sometimes I fudge the facts to accommodate the story, but more often than not, I try to stay true to the reality of the place.
What books influenced your own career as a writer? What do you like to read now?
I am a voracious reader across all genres. Many authors influenced me by making me love reading so much it made me want to write my own books. I love Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, John Le Carre, Robert Crais, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Tess Gerritsen and Nora Roberts/JD Robb, among a thousand others. I adored Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys books as a kid. But my favorite book of all time: Watership Down by Richard Adams. The rabbit fantasy thing just does it for me every time.
Thank you, Vicki, for having me! It was a blast!
Links to Julie’s Books:
Lexi Carmichael Mystery Series: http://www.juliemoffett.com/JMBooks.html
White Knights YA Mystery/Spy Series: http://www.juliemoffett.com/WhiteKnightsSeries.html
Julie’s website: http://www.juliemoffett.com
Julie’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JulieMoffettAuthor/
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Moffett/e/B001HMQMHU/