Julie Bell writes historical fiction and non-fiction based in Colorado. Her historical mystery series Denver City Justice is set in Denver in 1864 respectively.
What is one thing people wouldn’t usually know about you?
I spent my career as a Mechanical Engineer, but was a closet writer dreaming of publishing my own book my whole life.
What did your best review say about your work?
“What the author chiefly delivers in Denver City Justice is an amusing, suspenseful, well-written story that will tug at your heartstrings and tickle your funny bone.” – Colorado Book Review, a coalition of editors, librarians, industry professionals, and published authors.
How important are the names of any characters in your book?
Many of the characters in the book are based on historical people. In some cases, I used the historical names, but in others, I combined several individuals into a single character. One of my favorite characters is Mr. Griswold. He lived in Idaho Springs in the 1860’s and Denver Public Library has an amazing book about his life where he tells funny, fun stories. That’s why I made him my ‘storyteller’ in my book.
How did you choose a title for your book?
Choosing the title was hard. Denver City Justice went through several name changes, but in the end my editor and I decided that the book portrayed the justice, or lack thereof, in 1864 Denver. The Musgrove lynching, Detective Cook, and the Indian massacres are all historically accurately portrayed in Denver City Justice.
What is the biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
In Denver City Justice, I felt like I was walking a fine line between being true to history yet not insulting my modern readers, especially Native Americans and African Americans. The history of 1864 is at times dark and the attitudes of many pioneers would be unacceptable today, yet I had to show some of those attitudes in order to help my readers understand the Indian Wars and the Sand Creek Massacre. One of the best complements I’ve ever received in a review was when the Colorado Book Reviewers wrote “Bell’s incorporation of both former slaves and American Indians into her story is also skillfully done; the warmth and respect she has for them is apparent.”
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
Keep writing, keep reading, support your fellow writers, and never give up. I wrote for twenty years before my first book, The Lucky Hat Mine, was published and I could wall paper my whole house with the number of rejection letters and emails I have received.
Are you jealous of other writers?
No, I have nothing but respect for other writers. I loved my life as an engineer and now feel privileged to fulfill a dream and live the life of a published author. The writers I know have all supported me in fulfilling this dream, especially my amazing critique group, 30th Street Fiction.
Have you ever had to learn a new skill or trick, or attempted an impossible feat to finish your work?
While writing Denver City Justice, I knew I needed to include details of the Sand Creek Massacre. Incorporating it into a story that I wanted to keep light and fun felt almost impossible, but somehow it all fell into place.
Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?
I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer and wish, wish, wish, I could figure out how to outline my books. I try, but the characters seem to take over and the story changes.
Where can I find out more about Julie and her book?
You can find Denver City Justice in paperback and Kindle format.
You can meet Julie on her website here: http://jvlbell.com/
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.