Q&A - Julie Campbell
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. As a human being, a writer, an animal lover - all the good stuff.
You kind of covered it. I’m a writer and an animal lover and that pretty well dominates my life. I’m kind of a big geek too. I love fantasy, role-playing, sci fi, other worlds. Anything that sparks my imagination. I’m also an escapist… What better way to get out of the “real world” for a while then to dive into a great book, whether I’m reading or writing it. I’ve always loved animals and they’ve slowly made their way into my lives. I now live with three cats, my dog and my horse. Well, my horse is close to my house but not quite living with me. I love country music and rock and roll. The mountains are my home away from home and I spend as much time there in the summer as I can.
2) Your series about Doc: The Vampire-Hunting Dog is precious - it's great that you've posted them from free on your blog. What gave you the idea?
The idea came about with Devin O’Branagan’s original round of flash contests. She wanted me to write something for one of them, but I had no idea what to write. I’m not awesome at short stories either – they all turn into novels eventually – so I told her I’d think about it. The theme of the contest was vampires of some sort or another and one day I was playing with my Border Collie and noticed (not for the first time) how intense her gaze was. Surely she could trap even a vampire with that Eye. And Doc was born.
3) Is it challenging, writing from a dog’s point of view? You make it look easy.
Haha, thanks. It is challenging. The trick for me was to balance Doc’s intelligence with the reality that there are some things he won’t understand. Some of the more abstract concepts that humans have, unless they’ve been explained to him, he won’t get, for example Jake, one of my more human characters, says something about hoping that Kevin will snap out of his daze. Doc, in his mind, says he hopes Kevin will wake up soon, and snap out of his daze, whatever that is. He’s thinking this, not communicating telepathically. I also had to show enough of the world, through him overhearing dialog, and his observations, that readers could pick out the back story even though Doc isn’t concerned with many of the going-ons in the human world. I also had to decide how he would refer to things like vampires. To him they smell dead, so he calls them dead-things, but someone tells him they are called vampires, so he uses that sometimes as well.
Doc is, obviously, exceptional, and he becomes even more so as the series progresses. He’s a lot of fun to write.
4) Doc, how do you feeling letting a human tell your tale? Do you feel she’s doing a good job relaying your adventures?
*Grins* It makes me happy that I can give her a job to do. It’s the best thing in the world, to have a job. Especially one hunting vampires. Maybe if more dogs read my stories they can help their humans hunt too, then we can get rid of the dead-things. I think she is doing a good job telling my tale. *lowers voice* But she needs to write in more sheep, and Nelli.
5) What can you or Julie tell us about your upcoming tale?
Doc: Well, in the one my author just published, I learn a lot about hunting vampires and we meet one that is very dangerous. She gets away, but I bet we’ll be fighting her again in my next novella. I’ve been promised sheep, too.
6) Julie, I loved the characters in your Halloween 2011 short. Can you tell me a little about that series? And Doc, what was it liking working with Kat and Jin?
Julie: I discovered Doc in 2010 shortly before Halloween. I had a great time writing a Halloween story for him and this year I wanted to write another Halloween tale. I’d also just watched Deadliest Warriors Vampires vs Zombies episode and wanted to write my own vampires vs zombies story. I also wanted to write a Doc story and after some debate, and the realization that I didn’t really have time to write two stories, I decided what the heck and combined them all into one. I will likely write another Halloween story next year, but I don’t know what it will be yet. Kat is a rather old vampire who, atypically, really enjoys hunting other vampires. She’s actually a pretty reasonable sort if you happen to be human. She’s hell on other vampires that piss her off though. Jin is her adopted daughter. Long story short – she was friends with Jin’s parents, they died but before they did they asked Kat to take care of Jin and her brother because they knew she could protect them. Jin is becoming a bad ass vampire hunter in her own right too.
Doc: We got trapped in a hotel by rotting humans. It was supposed to be a vacation in the mountains. With sheep. Stupid rotting humans. The vampire and her human, Jin, showed up. I didn’t have the energy to attack her by the time she arrived and then she did something really strange. She brought us food. I decided that she couldn’t be all bad, if she was going to feed me. Jin was really nice. Even though I don’t like vampires, I’m glad they came. They saved me and Kevin. I suppose if I see her again I’ll be nice to her, as long as she has food.
7) You write horror really well, as Halloween 2011 demonstrated. Have you played around with the genre very much before or since that story?
Thank you. I write fantasy mostly, but one of the things I love about fantasy is that it encompasses most other genres and I do tend to write darker stories. Especially when I dive into the Urban Fantasy realm. That lends really well to the vampires and zombies and such. So, even if I’m not specifically writing horror, you’ll probably see elements of it many of my stories.
8) Fill us in a bit on your other projects. You are the author of Senior Year Bites, and I believe are currently working on a sequel?
The sequel is done and I’m currently working on edits from my beta readers. I should be able to submit it to my publisher at the end of the month. I’ve had some good comments on it so far, so I’m really excited to get it out to the world. I’m also working on a YA fantasy that should be out sometime this year. It’s called Arabian Dreams and about a girl who travels to other worlds on horseback. It is under contract, we’re just finishing up edits. I have a ton of other projects too, but I do have plans for another Doc novella soon.
9) Finally the questions I ask all my writer guests - what is your “Writer must-have”? Setting, mug, music, favourite desktop? What do you need to write?
Hmm, good question. Ideally, I’m at my desk with my music and a mug of tea. Sometimes I’ll take my netbook and go outside, that’s really nice. All I truly need is a pad of paper and a pen. I’ve even written ideas while out riding my horse in the mountains.
10) Do you have any advice for other writers out there?
It’s a crazy game, but don’t give up. Keep a regular writing schedule and write all the time.