Publication date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Knowles is surrounded by the privileged. Michael Kors gym bags and designer shoes are part of her daily scene, but the talented cheerleader has a secret: she and her dad can barely pay the bills. Broken by his wife walking out on their family, Chelsea’s father ignores his responsibilities. Between cheer costs, grocery bills, electricity, and other regular financial burdens, it’s no surprise when a cut-off notice arrives in the mail. Chelsea knows it’ll be up to her to keep the lights on.
With the deck stacked against her, Chelsea decides to bet their future on the dubious poker knowledge she learned from her father before he gave up on parenting. Nervous but determined, Chelsea heads to a casino with very little security and wins big. Thrilled by her win, she’s quickly drawn to the casino again and again. She risks it all, especially when the attractive, young pit boss takes an interest in her.
Chelsea’s life, no longer filled with cheerleading, school, and hanging out with her friends, is now consumed by smoky casino floors and the ups and downs of a gambler’s life. True gamblers know when to fold, but Chelsea keeps betting long after her needs are met. The complicated web of lies soon begins to spin out of control, threatening to expose everything. Will someone see through her bluff?
Today we welcome Julie for an interview!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I've always been a reader, but I didn't know that I would end up being a writer. I do, however, remember loving my creative writing lessons in fifth grade.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
It depends on the project. Bluff took about two years for me to write. The story was in my head for quite some time, though.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
It has to be something that interests me or something that I care about.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
No. I wish I did.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
It's very difficult. I've been a single mom for several years, and my time is very limited. It's a catch 22 because my busy lifestyle gives me a ton of ideas, but sometimes it's hard to find the time to get those ideas into a manuscript.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
I think it's important to create a character that your reader will care about. That's what keeps the pages turning. Also, the unexpected makes a great story. I don't enjoy reading anything that's predictable so I try to keep that in mind when I'm writing.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
For me, drafting is the easy part. Everything else is hard. Maybe not "hard" but time consuming. I don't think writers consider the amount of time it takes to research publishers, agents, the market, etc. I feel like that eats up too much writing time.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
Although Bluff is my first published book, I have a few manuscripts- a middle grade and some picture books. I'm currently working on a picture book for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame about the sit-ins that took place in Oklahoma City in the late fifties.
Where do you write?
Anywhere but my house. I get too distracted at my house so I go to coffee shops or the library.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
The same advice I've heard my entire career: read, read, read. Read books in your genre, but get outside your comfort zone, too. Also, be daring with your writing and explore different forms, genres, etc.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
I've had the same critique group for many years. We meet once a month, and I value their opinions/feedback.
Tell us 5 things that make you smile.
1. My daughter making a three-pointer. 2. A ripe avocado. 3. A good book. 4. A stack of "graded" essays. 5. A nap. And one more…6. Babies. Babies always make me smile.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Julie. It was great having you here!
Julie Dill lives in Oklahoma City where the wind always comes sweeping down the plains—literally.
As a young girl she always wanted to be a teacher, so she went on to receive her Bachelor’s of Science in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and taught in elementary schools for ten years. Currently, she serves as an adjunct professor and loves helping students achieve success. One of her greatest professional accomplishments is earning her National Board Certification.
She holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Oklahoma City University and continues to work on various writing projects. From hiking in Colorado, to playing poker in Vegas, she’s always up for a new challenge. Julie is a busy mom of two teenage daughters, and any extra time that she may carve out is spent reading, writing, and rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Her debut novel, Bluff, is scheduled to be released on February 7th, 2017.
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