Ask the Author: Julia Lynn Rubin
What would you like readers to know about you?
Hi!! I currently live in Brooklyn, where I work as a creative writing educator, pre-K literacy facilitator and freelance writer for a variety of online publications. I received my MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from The New School in 2017, and my short fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as the North American Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and RipRap Journal, among others. When I’m not writing, you can find me watching and over-analyzing movies and TV shows, exploring the city, attending numerous local drag shows, planning another spontaneous trip, and spending as much time outside as I can either at a local park or swimming in the ocean when the weather is warm enough!
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
My debut YA novel, BURRO HILLS, is like THE OUTSIDERS meets PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. It’s about a teen in a rough Southern California town coming to terms with his sexuality and self-worth while falling in love with the new boy at school. My second novel, TROUBLE GIRLS, is a queer re-imagining of Thelma & Louise, in which two best friends go on the run after stabbing a would-be rapist to death, their journey growing darker and deadlier with each new disastrous decision they make. My third book I am in the process of developing!
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
BURRO HILLS was inspired by many things: my favorite “gritty” teen TV shows like Skins that gave a more honest depiction of the rougher side of life for teens, my younger self’s fascination with Southern California’s climate and culture, and my interest in exploring the way that toxic masculinity harms people, most notably men of all ages. TROUBLE GIRLS was inspired by Thelma & Louise, one of my favorite movies, and the idea to put a queer spin on it and have both leading women fall head-over-heels in love in the #MeToo age. I wanted to create a novel with a runaway train feeling and some real introspection into the complexities of young women loving women.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
It’s been so long since I worked on BURRO HILLS, so I’m going to focus on TROUBLE GIRLS: I have so many favorite scenes from this book and it’s so hard to choose just one! I really loved writing the scene in which the would-be rapist is stabbed to death, as it was so fun and urgent and scary and sets the whole story into motion. I honestly loved every scene and moment from this story, but the opening has got to be my favorite part. It was so immersive. I fully honed Trixie’s voice, got inside her head, and realized what kind of story I was trying to tell.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Catalyst), Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides), George Orwell (1984), Scott Heim (Mysterious Skin), Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)…those are some of my all-time favorites, but honestly so many including countless short story writers, YA authors, and countless children’s and adult books I devoured growing up. As a kid, I was obsessed with reading and creating my own “books,” novels and stories. It’s a lifelong passion for me.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Focus on your craft before you worry about publishing. Join a writer’s group, take classes in creative writing, get feedback from your peers and fellow writer friends, attend readings and lectures, and immerse yourself in the art. READ A LOT. Read often. Read outside of the genre you write in and read books that challenge you. Spend several hours a week free-writing, practicing, and writing for fun. Don’t worry about creating a physical product yet. When you are ready to submit a project for publication, you will have gotten consistently positive feedback, applied countless edits and constructive criticism, and feel confident in your craft. Then you have to research! But as for the writing process, enjoy it and immerse yourself in it as much as possible. It’s such a special thing to write a book, even if no one ever sees it but you.
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