About Author

Julie Hoag

Julie Hoag

Julie Hoag is a lifestyle blogger and author. She writes in the genres of Young Adult, Middle Grade, and non-fiction. On her blog, she writes articles about family life, travel, recipes, pets, DIY, and all things kids and motherhood related. She is published across the internet.

Julie Hoag's Books

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Hungry Heartsby Julie HoagPublish: Jan 21, 2020Teen & Young Adult

Julie Hoag interview On 06, Mar 2020

"Julie Hoag was born in Minnesota. She loves to read Young Adult books herself. In about fourth grade, she started to write stories in a notebook. In high school, she spent lots of free time journaling and writing poetry. She does a great job on her debut YA novel. Her debut novel, Hungry Hearts explores a young teenage girl's struggles by following her daily thoughts and experiences."
Where were you born, and what was your childhood like?

I was born in Minnesota. I spent my entire childhood in Minnesota. We spent our summers going up to the family cabin up north and taking a trip to somewhere in the United States each summer. This worked out well for us as my dad was a teacher who had summers off and my mom worked part time as a nurse. It was just my younger sister and I for children in the family. My parents tended a garden in the backyard and hosted many friend sleepovers for my sister and me. We had many pets: cats, hamsters, and rabbits. The tragedy of my teen-hood was the death of my mother when I was sixteen.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? Were your parents supportive of this choice of career?

I knew I wanted to write while still a child. In about fourth grade, I started to write stories in a notebook. In high school, I spent lots of my free time journaling and writing poetry. I minored in writing in college, but chose to go into Biology instead. My dad was supportive of my choices, and rather than choosing to major in writing, I chose another major for fear I wouldn’t find a job. I wrote here and there for years, even getting a second degree in nursing. Once my youngest son went to kindergarten, I really started getting serious about writing. I often wish I had majored in writing in college or even journalism.

Why did you choose to write in the genres of Young Adult, Middle Grade, and non-fiction?

I love to read Young Adult books myself. It’s such an amazing time of tremendous growth and change, both lovely and difficult. I feel very in tune with the mentality and thought process of that age group. It really stuck with me I think because it was a time of huge turmoil for me, so teen life really sunk deep in my brain and remains there today. I love to write middle grade because it’s about characters at the cusp of being a full blown teenager. There is so much ripe drama to write about for middle grade, plus, as a mom of a middle grade boy, I find we need more books for boys in this age group. I just finished a middle-grade book about a group of boys who create a haunted house. I’ve written a lot of non-fiction for my blog and for articles all across the internet. I enjoy writing on the multiple topics possible within the genre of non-fiction. All writing is good, no matter what you write, the more you write, the better you will get.

What inspires you to write articles about family life, travel, recipes, pets, DIY, and all things kids and motherhood related on your blog?

I write about family life for my family lifestyle blog because it’s important to me to highlight and make family life better. Plus, I like to help other moms with ideas for travel, pets, DIY, and tips and fun for kids and their families. I love pets, so I incorporate articles about guinea pigs and dogs into my blog because pets are a part of our family. I like to help other families get to a good and happy place with their own pets. I create recipes for my blog largely because I enjoy to do so, but also because my family is a split table family of vegetarians and meat-eaters, so I’ve learned quite a few tricks about how to make my life easier as the cook for a family with different diets. I created a cookbook to go with my blog with these recipes, that I call hybrid recipes, as they work well in making just one recipe that can feed both types of eaters.

What are some things you wish your readers would take away from your books?

I hope my readers take away from my books a new understanding of what the characters were suffering through. I hope they can discern that characters aren’t perfect, just as people aren’t, and that’s realistic. I hope readers will come away from my books entertained, refreshed, and with new perspectives on problems and life. My greatest hope is to help kids learn through reading, perhaps giving them ideas to better deal with similar problems in their own lives. I desire to give an escape to readers, life inspiration, entertainment, food for thought, perspective, and a deeper love for the written word. Stories are art and reflective of life, so I hope to give readers a snapshot into my characters’ lives. And, I really want them to partake in the joy of the character’s as they play together and fall in love.

What was the hardest scene to write in "Hungry Hearts?" How did you make the story believable?

The hardest scenes for me to write in “Hungry Hearts” were when Landra was suffering from her anorexia the most and when she was missing her mom. I suffered from anorexia and the loss of my mother as a teenager, so I know first hand about these struggles. I made the story believable because I had lived through it all myself. I suffered from the self-imposed constraints of anorexia, the painful rules I made for myself, and the constant struggle for perfection. I should have gotten help for my anorexia, but I did not. I’m not proud that I did not get help, and I certainly don’t advocate not getting help. Teens should definitely get help for their anorexic struggles (or any for that matter), but I am very happy I made it to a healthier lifestyle that left anorexia behind me. Dealing with the grief from the loss of a parent is hard for everyone, but I feel it is especially hard on and damaging to children as their brains are not fully developed yet. They lack the mature healthy skills to heal and need help, so dealing with alone can be very painful and difficult. It was particularly raw for me to write about these topics because of my own memories, but I sincerely hope my words help teen going through similar struggles. If teens see parts of themselves in Landra, I hope they get help and just talk to someone. It never hurts to talk to someone. Ever.

How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing? Why did you choose this route?

It is definitely a challenge to maintain a career in fiction writing. It’s a big time commitment just to promote your work, but writers must definitely promote their books constantly. I knew I wanted to go with a traditional publisher because they offer the editors, marketing people, and a cover artist which are things a writer who self-publishes must pay for out of their own pocket. Also, the publisher will continue to help promote your book, so I feel a traditional publisher is the smart way to go over self-publishing.

What challenges did you face while writing your debut novel?

The challenges I faced in writing the book were making sure the story was cohesive plus contained enough drama and real world situations to be believable, yet entertaining. I wanted the book to be a contemporary romance, rather than an issues book. Yes, my character has issues … meaning the anorexia, she suffers from social media bullying as well as in person bullying, but she’s more than what she’s suffering through, she’s a full person. She’s a friend and a daughter, a sister, and a typical teen who has a few extra challenges in her life. But, she still falls in love even with all of that going on. As with people in real life, character’s with issues also are living and loving, and struggling and growing. They do not live their lives separate, but as a complex messy whole of themselves despite and in conjunction with their challenges.

Who inspired the character of Brian in "Hungry Hearts"?

The character Brian was partly inspired by a boy who was interested in me in high school. I made many mistakes with him, some as with Landra due to my own low self-esteem, but I learned from them so I had Landra learn from hers as well.

How do you keep your books from getting dull? What are awesome tips for brainstorming that you use?

To keep books from being dull, the key is to keep the reader in the moment and to add in lots of drama, turns, twists, yet make it have some happy and fun moments too. I like to bring the reader into the moment as much as possible so they feel like they are a part of the story. An awesome tip I loved using for brainstorming was to write the outline, or even a sort of rough query letter first. Also, to pick book comps prior to the start of writing the book. This keeps me centered on the main topic of the story so I don’t veer off topic too much. I also feel in romance stories that I like to get to enjoy the couple in their relationship for part of the book. I particularly dislike books where the couple gets together at the end of the book, and the story is over. I want to enjoy the couple and be a part of their romance for part of the book. That to me also makes a romance interesting and not dull.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

My work schedule is very hectic. At the moment, I’m writing two novels and just finished my first middle-grade novel. So, while I’m writing these two new books, I’m submitting my middle grade novel to agents, as I don’t have one yet and I would like one. I’m also writing for my non-fiction blog, and I’ve started a short story website as well. Then I must mix in social media promotion for my blog and my books, so this is a very heavy and challenging schedule. I tend to write books quickly so right now I’m focusing more on fiction than non-fiction, less on my blog, and more on my books. I’m expecting the revisions soon from the editor for my next novel, which is coming out in the fall of 2020.

Every art form is open to various interpretations and reviews. How do you handle any negative reviews that come your way?

Negative reviews hurt, but rejection as a writer has made me tough. I often believe that people who harshly criticize a work of fiction do not understand the challenges the character faces so they can belittle a work of fiction based on their own short sightedness. My book is #ownvoices, so anyone who bad mouths it invalidates my experiences, which I think is not only cruel but in bad taste. I never assume to know what others have gone through, and to make assumptions and label an #ownvoices book as bad is not only conceited, but very presumptive, making assumptions they know nothing about. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do claim to know my story and my characters intimately, especially when I reach into myself and drag out an #ownvoices persepective. However, I also know that not everyone likes the same things, so I have to let negative reviews just roll off my back. There are books I don’t like either, so I always remind myself of this when I read a book I don’t care for. My viewpoint is be gentle in all reviews I give, even ones with a negative slant because I know the writer has worked very hard and parts of the writer are in that book. But again, not every book is for everyone, and I accept that.

What are you trying to achieve through your writing? How far off do you think you are?

In writing “Hungry Hearts”, I wanted to give a very real look into the life of a teenager who is hiding her anorexia from everyone in her life. She’s suffering a lot at the beginning of the book, so she’s a bit negative, but as the story unfolds, she gets to such a loving place in her family and in her love life. I wanted to write about how a person with an eating disorder is still a person who lives her life, has friends, has struggles, but, she also can fall in in love. Landra grows a lot in the book making it a classic fit for a coming of age novel. I also wanted to show teens what it’s like to be anorexic so that if they recognize some of the things in their own lives that Landra does in the book, it might cause them to stop and think about it, and perhaps talk to someone for help. Plus, I just wanted to write a unique love story where a chef is trying to woo an anorexic, while she’s falling for another boy. The love triangle is a fun storyline in romance and it nicely gave my novel another layer of intriguing and realistic complexity, as matters of the heart aren’t always easy or clear and must be muddled through at times.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

Yes. Readers may be interested to know I’ve just started the sequel to “Hungry Hearts” where more romance and drama will play deliciously together in a fun and delightful story for the reader.

How has your experience of being associated with AllAuthor been?

I’ve enjoyed being a part of AllAuthor. I really love the templates and the social media help with great too. I do recommend it.

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