My Next Big Thing

So…here’s the scoop on the long-awaited sequel to Into the Free.

YBarks-300x287ou may have noticed authors posting recently about their Next BigThing. You can read about Carla Stewart’s next big thing by visiting her blog. My answers (below) are all about my upcoming novel, WHEN MOUNTAINS MOVE due to release THIS SEPTEMBER. Enjoy!
What is your working title of your book?

When Mountains Move (Hits shelves this September!)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This book is the sequel to Into the Free and explores the next phase of Millie’s life. I always felt there was more to Millie’s story than what was shared in the first book, and I’m grateful so many readers have asked for more. I hope folks will enjoy seeing what happens next as Millie strives to create the happy family she never had as a child.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s considered general fiction, inspirational fiction, Christian fiction, and women’s fiction. Some would call it romantic. It will also appeal to those who enjoy southern literature (since our main characters are southern), as well those who like books about the west (since they leave Mississippi to launch a ranch in the Colorado Rockies during WWII.) Choose your weapon. I don’t focus so much on how it’s boxed (I know that’s important, though). I just hope it’s a human story people like, no matter what they want to call it.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I struggle with this question so much because I never picture any real person when I’m writing my characters. I would love my characters to be depicted by actors who have never been thought of as any other character on a large scale, so they can fully become Millie, Bump, River, etc. without other well-known personality traits blurring that presentation. That said, while watching Les Miserables, I thought Samantha Barks would make a perfect Millie (pictured above). That would be my dream.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The book will be released September, 2013 by David C Cook, the phenomenal publishing company who produced my debut novel, Into the Free. I am represented by Greg Johnson, literary agent extraordinaire.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Oh goodness. This is a trick question. I really struggled to carve writing time for this sequel. I finally forced myself to focus for five weeks this summer and just get the story down on paper. That meant I had to work through five months of very heavy edits, of course. Believe me…it’s never a good idea to try to write a novel in five weeks. I remember hearing JK Rowling once admit she considered breaking her own arm to delay a deadline. I now understand how she feels. The pressure was intense.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Maybe the Big Stone Gap trilogy by Adriana Trigiani, or the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. Both are character driven series which create a world of believable people and explore the daily struggles and emotions experienced in real life. My characters live more on the gritty side of life though. I aim to show both the brutality and the beauty of this world, because life for a lot of people just isn’t pretty. But in the end, I hope my characters show how to rise above the struggles and never give up hope.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Originally, I wrote my first novel just to see if I could do it. It was on my bucket list, and turning 35 was the trigger for me. I never planned to publish it. But after the story came alive to me, I felt nudged to share it. This book is a continuation of that story, so it was all inspired by a compelling desire to push myself into uncomfortable territory and to grow stronger, braver, and more creative in the process.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Second chances. The mythic West, the Rocky Mountains, a girl trying to overcome her past. Gypsies, cowboys, ranchers. A young couple struggling to make ends meet and to love unconditionally despite many challenges to their new marriage. A journey of growth, as Millie develops deeper faith, a stronger spirit, and the ability to trust. Outlaws, renegades, and secret lovers. This book explores the complicated webs we weave, with secrets and sins, love and loyalty, faith and forgiveness. And hope.


6 thoughts on “My Next Big Thing

  1. Almost can’t wait for autumn to get here quick. It sounds very intriguing, mysterious, and inspiring for Millie’s next adventure. Hope this one is another best seller too! Will there be a third book for a trilogy?

  2. Oh my goodness! Now I really can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

    I loved the Big Stone Gap series, and yes, I do see some similarities in the way you created community like her. Samantha Barks was my favorite in Les Miserables (next to Eddie Redmayne) so this is a great depiction.

    All that to say, I’m so glad you gave into that nudge to first try your hand at a novel. The world needs your gifts.


  3. Very interesting, Julie. I especially liked how you explained your decision to write characters from the gritty side of life. I think too many writers, especially those from a Christian background, are hesitant to show the more unpleasant side of humanity. But like you said, life for a lot of people just isn’t pretty, and therefore, they don’t act pretty. I struggle with this in my own writing. Some readers may take offense at the brutality of some of my characters behaviors, but, I can’t let their perceived offense devalue my story. Thanks for helping me find the clarity I sought on this issue.

  4. Hi Julie! I just finished Into the Free. Great book! Fun to hear about the sequel. Looking forward to it. So happy for you. Great internal struggles for Millie–so raw and real. Will be interesting to see how she moves beyond and puts her hurt behind her.

  5. Pingback: Writing on Wednesday: Hippity Hoppity Blog Hops on the Way @

  6. when I finished Into the Free, all I could do was close the book and feel for the characters you brought to life. The importance of Sloth to Millie – the difficulty that Diana felt as she discovered her husband’s secret. The beauty of Bump and his tenderness towards horses and to the girl that stole his heart. I enjoyed reading this blog and look forward to the sequel. All of your characters brought the reader to the place of empathy for their individual struggles. Your book reminded me of “Secret Life of Bees” – which is one of my all time favorites. Now, this is true for Into the Free.

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