I've been a fan of Julia Madeleine's since discovering her last year, pretty much by complete accident. Honestly, I don't even remember how I stumbled across her work, but I was happy I did. She writes solid stories with great, memorable characters, and is as skilled in the short story form as she is with novel-length stuff.
Her newest novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT SCARLET ROSE, is, in my opinion, her stylistic break-out work-- it's just fantastic.
I'm very pleased to have Julia at Psycho Noir today...
Hi Julia, how’s it going? I’m going to ask you some questions. You have the right to remain silent, but if you do, this won’t be a very interesting interview.
Okay, I'll try to be cooperative and tell you everything you want to know so don't break out the duct tape and phone books just yet.
In the last year, you’ve become very visible as a writer to look out for, but how long have you actually been doing this writing gig?
I was 18 when my writing addiction began. I wrote a novel long hand on lined paper. It was a horror story. I was inspired by reading a book by a popular author (I'm not putting the finger on anyone though) that I thought was pure dog vomit. I'm sure what I wrote was just as bad, if not worse. But it made me want to write and I've been at it on and off pretty much ever since. There seems to be no cure for it.
Do you have a philosophy about writing? Or any themes that tend to run through most of your work?
Madness. I like people who live in alternate realities. I discovered not very long ago that three of my friends have spent significant time inside of psyche hospitals (which explains some things). They've got some crazy life stories that I've nicked and worked into my writing. It's very strange because at one point I thought of going into psychiatry as a career. I'm fascinated by the human psyche and what experiences and attitudes shape people. Criminal behaviour in particular. Yeah, I should have been a criminal psychologist.
This is a fairly standard question—sorry—but most of us want to know. What writers turn you on? Who do you read for inspiration?
I've recently begun to read more poetry for inspiration, T.S Eliot, James Kavanaugh, and I think it really helps with my writing. I'm also a fan of Evelyn Lau's poetry. I never used to read much in the crime/thriller genre in particular which might sound strange for someone who writes in that genre. But then again, I never planned to write in any genre, it just seemed to find me. I've discovered a lot of fantastic crime writers in the last couple of years. I'm currently reading Derek Raymond's Factory series and really enjoying his writing. I've also started reading the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay who has great style as a writer.
How much of your own life and experience do you draw from?
Lots. Friends and family, the things people tell me, all work their way into my stuff. Nobody is off limits. I've had people recognize themselves in my work and laugh. As long as they laugh and don't get pissed off at me, that's good.
As well as being a writer, you’re also an excellent tattoo artist. Does that scratch a different creative itch for you? What led you to that career?
I needed a job and knew that I could do it. Art/drawing is something that's always come easily to me so it seemed quite natural. Originally I enrolled in college for an art program but switched at the last minute to a writing program. So the two have always been competing for my attention.
Your new book, THE TRUTH ABOUT SCARLET ROSE, is, in my opinion, the best thing you’ve ever done. Can you tell us a little about it?
Wow, thank you Heath. I'm getting some mixed reactions with this book so hearing positive things about it helps to keep me from throwing a rope over the tree in my back yard.
The story is about the adult daughter of a washed up 1960s burlesque queen who forced her into the sex trade when she was underage. Then when the girl's beloved step-father is brutally murdered, she had to help in the police investigation, while her mother fixates on getting her hands on other people's money.
What’s next for you?
I have stories scheduled to come out in five anthologies this year so that's exciting. I've recently completed a thriller called The Refrigerator Girls. It's about a high school student and apprentice tattoo artist who orchestrates her own abduction to find out where a killer is taking his victims. It's like Lisbet Salander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo meeting a female Hannibal Lector. The idea for it was from a nightmare that woke me out of sleep. Scared the hell out of me writing it.
When you aren’t writing or searing permanent images into people’s flesh, what do you like to do with your time?
I actually do a lot of ordinary things like yoga, sewing, gardening and cooking. Although my writing obsession doesn't leave much time for these. My daughter and I hang out a lot. She's just turned 19 and she has her first apartment. So on Sundays we're in the routine of going shopping and out for lunch. When you're writing about a teenage girl it helps to have one.