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Life and Work with Julia McDermott

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia McDermott.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Julia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
At the University of North Carolina, I majored in Economics and minored in French. I also took courses in British, French, and Russian literature. In my twenties, I worked for a financial software developer in Dallas, Texas, where one of my duties was technical writing. A few years later, I left the corporate world to stay home with my children. As they grew, I had more and more time to read, and I began to think seriously about writing fiction. When the youngest of my four kids started the sixth grade, I sat down to write my first novel. At the end of the school year, I had a completed manuscript.

I knew I needed feedback on it, so I joined a writers’ group that meets at Georgia Perimeter College (now GSU-Perimeter campus). The Writers’ Circle is a multi-genre critique group sponsored by the Atlanta Writers Club, which also meets on campus. I joined the AWC as well, met many other writers, and absorbed everything I could about writing and the publishing industry. I attended lots of workshops and conferences, learned how to revise and polish my work, and found an editor to work with me to improve my novel. Make That Deux, a romance set in France was published in October 2012, a year after I began writing my second novel, domestic suspense titled Underwater.

That novel was published in November 2014 by Thomas & Mercer. At the time, I had just finished writing creative nonfiction All the Above: My Son’s Battle With Brain Cancer. It’s the true story of my emotional struggle when my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2010, and how his illness changed his life, and mine. The book was published in March 2015 and was named Finalist-Georgia Author of the Year Award in the memoir category. The following year, my second domestic suspense, Daddy’s Girl, was released.

Since then, I’ve branched out a little. My short story, The Riverfest, is included in an anthology titled Down to the River, to be published in April 2019 by Down & Out Books. I’m currently ghostwriting a nonfiction book for an Atlanta media personality while working on my next suspense novel and the screenplay adaptation of All the Above.

Has it been a smooth road?
Like life, my journey as an author has had its ups and downs. I try to focus on the small steps and successes, and pick myself up and dust myself off after surviving obstacles and disappointments. When I’ve struggled in my work, I’ve learned to step back and reevaluate, listen to what others have to say, and learn from my mistakes.

My advice is to keep going. Hang in there, even when the path ahead seems daunting. Don’t compare yourself to others, and cheer yourself on. Believe in yourself and develop resilience. If you do, you’ll be better equipped in the long run. Seek help when you need it, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Get outside of yourself, challenge yourself, and surprise yourself. Remember that sometimes, something great happens when all feels lost. And don’t forget to have fun!

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My initial goal was to write one novel, but I have evolved into a multi-genre author whose work has been both traditionally and independently published. I have written three novels and an award-winning work of nonfiction. I penned Personal Journey “Fear and Gratitude,” published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, about my memoir, All the Above. My first short story is included in a crime writers’ anthology to be published this spring.

I do my own marketing and publicity, call on local businesses to host events for me, and seek opportunities to let readers know about my work. I write a quarterly newsletter announcing my activities, and I engage with people on social media. I’m a public speaker and have served as a panelist and moderator at regional and national literary conferences and festivals. I’m also a fluent French speaker and am active in Atlanta’s French-speaking community.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
I devour books on writing fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays, and when I read books for pleasure, I can’t help but consider, evaluate, and be inspired by the writing. I know what it takes to produce a book!

I continue to attend workshops and author presentations to help me focus on telling stories. I created and update my own WordPress website, juliamcdermottbooks.com.

I’m on Facebook (with an author/fan page, and a personal one), Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and YouTube. I use MailChimp to write and distribute my newsletter. I use Square to take payments at book signings and other events.

I use Fitbit and LoseIt! apps to help me stay on track health-wise and make smart lifestyle choices. I use the Meetup app to stay connected locally to French groups and writers’ meetings.

I use an (English language) dictionary/thesaurus app in my writing, and a French language app to broaden my vocabulary in French. I Skype with book clubs whenever invited, and use the app twice a week to practice my French with a friend who is a language instructor in Lyon, France.

Pricing:

  • Daddy’s Girl: Paperback $14.99; Kindle $2.99
  • Underwater: Paperback $11.99; Kindle $1.99
  • All the Above: My Son’s Battle With Brain Cancer: Paperback $14.99; Kindle $2.99
  • Make That Deux: Paperback $12.99; Kindle $2.99
  • Underwater, Audio: $5.25

Contact Info:

                  Image Credit:
Lynn Crow, Anne Salome

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. GeliaDolcimascolo

    February 27, 2019 at 12:30 am

    Fabulous-Julie! I have watched you bud, blossom, and bloom over these several years.

    • Julia McDermott

      February 28, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Gelia, You’ve been the best mentor! Thanks for everything you’ve done for me.

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