I'd like to welcome Julie S. Dobbins to my blog today. Julie is the author and narrator of Melissa and the Green Blanket.
1. Julie, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Let's see... I'm an incredibly talented person with the perfect hair and figure. I also have a very active imagination. (My son is laughing at me right now.)
I have loved reading for as long as I can remember, but I actually wanted to be an artist at first. I read The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia in junior high school and was amazed with what could be done with words. In high school I joined the literary magazine staff and that's when I switched to writing more.
I have been married for 26 years - to the same man - and we have one son (17 years old). My husband is guitarist, Craig Dobbins, and our son is soundtrack reviewer, Bennett Dobbins. Bennett wants me to be sure and mention his blog, but I can't remember the address. It's somewhere on Blogger...
2. What was your favorite book as a child and why?
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson! I loved how Harold could draw whatever he needed at the moment - a ship, a hot air balloon, a moose to help him eat nine pies... The artwork was a direct influence on Melissa and the Green Blanket.
3. What is your favorite quote?
"Just because you can doesn't mean you should." I have no idea who to credit with that line because I have heard it so many different places.
Another version of the above quote is, "Just because they make spandex pants in your size doesn't mean you should wear them." My boss at the library, Amanda Jackson, made that statement after she had attended a concert.
4. If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?
Oh wow, what a question! It's hard to narrow it down to just one, so I'll cheat and name two. It would have to be either the wizard, Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings) or Aslan (The Chronicles of Narnia). I'm afraid that someone real would be a disappointment because I had made them into something they aren't.
Both Gandalf and Aslan had great wisdom. Aslan, who represents Jesus, also had great compassion. They both had incredible responsibility and suffered for the sake of getting the job done. Talking with either one of them would be very enriching. I think I would be a better person if I spent time with them.
5. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Probably glaring (and sometimes growling) at my husband and son when they talk to me while I'm writing. My computer is in the den, so I don't have the privilege of "locking myself away" when I write.
I have also been known to write during church (sorry, Pastor), or jot down an idea during a staff meeting (hope my boss doesn't see this!)
I sometimes dream of renting a cabin in the woods somewhere and spending all my time writing for a month or so. No phone, but lots of good food would also be required.
6. What is the best advice you've received?
Peter S. Beagle once told me to stop trying to be the editor and the writer at the same time. He also told me not to let the facts get in the way of a good story. I have tried to follow his advice and I feel like it gives the story more freedom to flow while I get it down on paper.
7. Where do you find inspiration?
Usually through conversation. I am not as observant as some writers I know, but I pick up ideas when talking or reading. Nonfiction ideas come more easily than fiction, but I have more fun writing fiction.
The idea for Melissa and the Green Blanket came from talking with my husband. Our son was spending the day with his grandparents, so what did we do with our free time? Spent it talking about him, of course. That led to talking about other children and their antics which led to Melissa. I grabbed a notebook and started writing as fast as I could to get the ideas on the paper.
8. What are your marketing strategies for Melissa and the Green Blanket?
Getting the CD reviewed by such enjoyable people as yourself. I went to The Alabama Book Festival in 2009. I have also had book signings at the local bookstore, been interviewed in the newspaper, interviewed on the radio, and I have done readings at a school, library, and for family night at Chick-fil-A (I had other books to read as well, but they kept asking for Melissa. Very satisfying).
Melissa and the Green Blanket is available on Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. It's also available at my husband's website - www.craigdobbins.com.
I really need to get out my old sewing machine and make some green blankets to go with the CD. People have told me they have had to buy green blankets for their child because of the story, so I'm missing out on a really good marketing strategy.
One of the oddest things I've done is to make the audio available as a download on iTunes and other similar sites. My husband had to talk me into it. I couldn't fathom someone wanting just the audio and not the picture book, but there have been some downloads.
9. What would be the best way for readers to contact you?
A website - www.jacketflap.com/jsdobbins
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter - www.twitter.com/juliesdobbins
Facebook - Julie S. Dobbins
10. Is there anything else you would like to share?
How about some pizza? Milk and chocolate chip cookies?
Pizza? Milk and cookies? Add a salad and we'll call it lunch! I am getting kind of hungry. But first we need to wrap this Q&A segment up. I'd also like to thank you for being my first interview!
I am honored to be your first interview. You did a great job with the questions and I had fun with it.
Thanks Julie. I'd like to thank everyone for stopping by. I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Julie as much as I did.