Interview with Bestselling Author Julia DeVillers

61D6ficiRrL._SL1000_Get to know Julia…

Julia DeVillers is a bestselling author of books for kids, tweens and teens. She writes books for Simon and Schuster, Dutton, and Random House.  She is represented by Mel Berger at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. 

Her book, How My Private Personal Journal became the Disney Channel Original Movie, Read it and Weep. Julia appears in a cameo as “Grossed-out customer being served pizza with real chicken feet sticking out of it.”

Her books have been featured in the New York Times, USA Today and all the major teen magazines. Julia has a M.A. in journalism from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. from State University of New York at Oswego. She just spent a year overseas in Tbilisi, Georgia and now is dividing her time between Saratoga Springs, NY and Columbus, Ohio. For more info, visit her website.

Let the conversation begin!

Do you begin with character or plot?

Character. I tend to start with a what if: “What if I were a 14-year-old girl whose journal became a bestseller?” “What if I was a kid and my father was elected president?” “What if my twin and I switched places when we were in middle school?” 

What was the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

How about the weirdest food I pretended to eat? One of my books was made into a Disney Channel TV movie called READ IT AND WEEP. I had a cameo in the movie. The father character owned a pizza shop and was trying to drum up business by inventing unique pizzas and they ‘served’ me a chicken feet pizza. It had real chicken claws sticking out of it, like they were reaching for me. Shudder. It smelled and looked disgusting, and my face in my cameo looking like I’m going to puke isn’t acting. 

What element would you add to your writing space if money wasn’t an issue? 

A beach view. (I live in Ohio, so this is unlikely.) 

Describe your perfect day.

Setting: Beach

Characters: My family, all my friends and my favorite authors

Plot: After finishing my manuscript (that will need no revising) (hey, it’s a dream), I throw a great party on the beach to celebrate. No, revise that: someone else throws a party for me. (And they clean up afterward, too.) 

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Guest, used to let me write and illustrate little books that she would photocopy for the rest of the class.  One boy would promptly throw it at somebody, crumple it up or chew on them. Mrs. Guest told me “All writers face rejection. Keep writing.” 

(P.S. She never said: Don’t give up illustrating. In hindsight, there was a reason for that.) 

What advice would you give young writers?

Read. Everyone says that, right? How about: Check out writers’ conferences and events in your area. I love to see teens at events, getting exposure to the the business of publishing and meeting authors and editors. 

What’s the first item on your bucket list?

This inspires me to make a bucket list but I did have one when I was a teen (I sent it in a letter to a friend, and she kept it.) It included:

  •  Do something glamorous!

  •  Have the best friends ever!

  •  Win a shopping spree!

  •  Get published!

  •  Help the world!

  •  Get a really cute boyfriend! 

  • I still haven’t won a shopping spree. 

Outliner or seat-of-the-pantser?

Seat of the Pajants.

In grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

According to the “My School Years” book I still have, I wanted to be:

1st grade: Writer (Thanks again, Mrs. Guest.)

2nd grade: Gymnast (Apparently I hadn’t realized I was uncoordinated yet.)

3rd grade: Actress

4th: A teacher at a school for the deaf (my twin and I perfected out sign language skills so we could communicate when the teacher wasn’t looking.)

5th: Wife of (5th grade boyfriend’s name.)   

Easier to write before or after you were published?

After. Validation—and deadlines- are motivating. 

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

Go to bookstores and browse every section, except the horror one. 

Earliest childhood memory?

I just turned four and my little sister was being born—during a hurricane. I was staying with my grandparents and their roads were flooded for days so I had to wait in suspense to see her. 

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