About Julie

Julie Cantrell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, which won Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and for Book of the Year 2013. Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She and her family live in Mississippi, where they operate Valley House Farm. Her new novel, When Mountains Move, hit shelves September 1, 2013.

Photo Credit: Jodie WestfallJulie is represented by Greg Johnson of WordServe Literary. Learn more about the realm of publishing by following the WordServe Watercooler, where Julie joins more than 70 authors to discuss the writing life. You can also find Julie blogging weekly with the Southern Belles, a group of southern female authors who gather on the cyberporch each day to chat about family, faith, fiction, food, and fun: http://www.southernbelleviewdaily.com/

34 thoughts on “About Julie

  1. Our mutual friend River Jordan just mentioned your writing to me, and I am so glad I discovered your site! Your Great Pyrenees is just beautiful; I’m hoping my husband and I can get one on our TN “farm” too. I heard they are great for protecting livestock and little’uns, which we are expecting our first child — a Baby Girl — in two weeks. Nice to meet you, Julie!

    • Hi Jolina, Thanks so much for reaching out to me. River is amazing, and I’m happy to have met her after she wrote Praying for Strangers…one of my all-time favorite reads. I was honored to be interviewed by her recently, and I’m thrilled she shared Into the Free with you. I hope you’ll let me know what you think. Congrats on the new bundle of joy…nothing better in the world than motherhood. I promise! A great pyranees is a wonderful family pet, especially if you have a “job” for him to do. Our Daisy loves making her rounds each day and watching over our sheep, goats, horses, hens, cats, and duck. She takes her job very seriously and is the sweetest, calmest pet of them all. Thanks again for contacting me and best of luck with all the exciting things taking place in your life right now. Cheers, julie

    • Hi Stacy, Thank you so much for taking time to hear Millie’s story. I’m honored you’ve read it and happy you enjoyed it. I’m working on the sequel every second I get. I’m enjoying seeing what else happens to Millie…as even I don’t know until I write it. Thanks for your happy note! Cheers, j

    • I second this. I wouldn’t consider myself an avid reader, but I finished your book in 24 hours. I was hooked on Millie! Good job and looking forward to reading the next one.

      • That’s awesome to hear, Jackie. I love that you stuck with Millie’s story even when reading isn’t your favorite thing. Thanks so much for letting me know and for planning to read the sequel. Millie is still surprising me as I write the next phase of her journey. Cheers, julie

  2. Into the Free is the best book I have read recently. Thank you, it is well written and you are a great wordsmith. I have lived in Russia and seen a few Gypsies there. I wish I could send you a picture I took of a typical Babushka.. The Russians are a wonderful people. I look forward to the sequel and am going to recommend the book to my book club. Thank you again. Cleo

    • Hi Cleo, Thank you so much for your kind note. I’m honored you chose to spend time in Millie’s world and I do appreciate anything you can do to share the story with others. I hope your book club enjoys the tale as much as you did, and I’m glad you were able to connect to the Russian threads in the story. Many thanks, julie

  3. I loved “Into the Free” so much, it was a great read! I’m an aspiring language arts teacher and would love to be able to share it with my students one day! Thanks!

    • Thanks, Dominique. I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed my very first novel, and I’d be incredibly honored for you to share it with your future students. Best of luck with your teaching journey and thanks for sharing this story with others. Cheers, julie

  4. Hi Julie,

    I have several Cantrell family members they are from Kenner, LA. I was just wondering if maybe we are related.


    • Hi Gidget, My husband doesn’t know of any relatives in that area, but who knows…I bet somewhere down the line, I’m lucky enough to claim you as kin :) Have a terrific Thursday! julie

  5. Heard about your visit to Oxford. I teach at one of the local schools. Purchased your book at Sq. Books on Wednesday evening and have already finished it! Read the first chapter online and I was hooked! A beautiful story and journey. Looking forward to more.

    • Hi Renee, Thanks so very much for your kind support. I’m honored you read the book…and thrilled to hear it had you “hooked” from the start! I visited Lafayette Elementary to read for Dr. Seuss Week and really enjoyed it. I actually worked there for a short time a few years back, and I currently teach ELL at Bramlett…so I hope our paths cross son. Thanks for giving my debut novel a shot and for letting me know how much you enjoyed it. It really means a lot more to me than you can imagine. Cheers, julie

  6. Hi, Julie:
    What a wonderful book! The further I progressed along Millie’s journey, the more I couldn’t put the book down. As I wanted to see the ending to the point where I couldn’t fall asleep, I finally finished the book at 3:30 this morning! What a brave girl who never gave up the search for her true purpose and calling in life. Can’t wait for the sequel.
    The best of everything to you and God bless!

    John Rondello

    • Hi John, Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m happy to hear the story kept you turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning…and I hope you get a good nap today to make up for lost sleep. I’ve been excited to hear from men like you who enjoy the story even though it’s told from a female point of view. I’ve had quite a few men tell me they really connected with Millie and were cheering for the nice guy to win in the end. One reader wrote, “As a man, it was great to see the good guy walk away with the girl. There are still good guys left in the world, and I’m glad you remind your readers to look for us among the Bill Millers out there.” Here’s to you, John, and to all the good guys in the world. Thanks for reading! julie

  7. Thanks for your kind words, Julie! It’s been my life’s mission to cheer for the underdog – and the longer the odds, the louder I cheer. The book never struck me as targeting a female reading audience only – as I think it has a lot to say to men as well. It’s good that writers such as yourself have the ability to see good no matter how it is packaged – male or female. So happy for Millie and Bump!

    More stories like this, please – even if it means that I lose more sleep! After singing in the choir at Mass this morning, I’ll take your advice and relax for the rest of the day.

    All the best,

  8. Julie,
    I received your book today that my mother bought me for my birthday. I was so surprised and happy to receive it. I did not know you were writing. My mom also sent the pictures that she took of you at the book signing; there was also the special picture enclosed of my mom with your mom! Please tell your mother hello for me! I am thrilled to have your book. I cannot wait to dive in and read it!
    Tiffany Hodges Bailey
    North Carolina

    • Hi Tiffany – It’s wonderful to hear from you and I’m honored your mom gave you Into the Free as a birthday gift. I’ll write you a personal email but wanted to thank you here for your support. Best, julie

  9. WOW!!!! Got to read “Free” … FINALLY, and I’ve decided that I’m a genius for getting on board with this back a few months ago … shear genius. I barely know you, Julie, but I’m really proud of you. VERY, VERY cool book and message. I’ll be pushing this important “read” again in some upcoming issues now that I can speak (semi) intelligently about its content. STAY IN TOUCH and thanks for the signed copy. You made me get misty (several times) …. ya know? I’m not sure how I feel about that.

    • Oh, Jeff. Thank you so very much! I’m truly honored you read it and so very happy to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for all you’ve done to support my efforts as an author. I’ll always be grateful for getting my start at Oxford Town and blessed to call you a friend! Happy weekend, julie

  10. Just finished your book about Millie and loved it! Look forward to reading the sequel! I especially enjoyed the way you described nature at times and emotions of Millie throughout the story. Sometimes I felt that Millie was disassociating from the present crisis by focusing on some little thing. You did a great job of letting us feel what it was like to be Millie! I enjoyed all of the characters as well! Probably the thing that called me to get this book was the title and the phrase “nothing Mama.” I think as women we struggle with using our power to change our lives and we often inherit it or learn it from our mothers. Thanks for a great read!

    • Hi Cherilyn, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about this story. I love how you point out that Millie was focusing on the little things, trying to cope with the big things. Kind of how her mother would fall all to pieces when some little thing happened (flowers dying, etc.) but went numb when she endured terrible abuse, etc. I’m glad you tuned into that and appreciate you pointing it out here. Thanks for spending time in Millie’s world, and please come back for the sequel to see what happens next. Cheers, julie

  11. Hello, Julie! Finished your book this morning–loved it! It evoked many emotions, really moved me. Enjoyed the ending but like other’s it left me wanting more. Can’t wait to read how Millie’s story continues.
    Best wishes!

    • Hi Candy, Thanks so very much! I’m excited to hear you cared so deeply about these characters and that you’ll come back to read the rest of Millie’s story. I’m having fun writing it now and – just like in the first book – Millie continues to surprise me. Have a fabulous summer! julie

  12. Pingback: Best Seller: Julie Cantrell « The Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library

  13. Pingback: January Book Club Pick: Into the Free by Julie Cantrell | ButteryBooks.com

  14. Dear Julie,
    I met you this weekend during The Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend. I bought many books and read yours first because you shared a story regarding your senior year in highschool. I am referring to a dunderhead teacher who was belittling your talent in writing. So I couldn’t wait to get home to read your book.

    Well Julie, I read your book in one sitting. I have not had a book grab me up and shake me up and make me cry in soooo long! I read a lot, and my dear, your book is right up with the top five. I was blown away. I cried. I laughed. I found myself praying. I hoped. I hated. I forgave. And I loved God more and understand God better because of your beautifully written prose.

    Yep. You blew me away. Makes me want to try my hand at writing. Your writing touched my heart…….you are gifted. I am going to order your childrens books. You probably don’t remember me but I will always remember you & your book Into the Free! I didn’t want it to end. Now I’m going to read Shellie Tomlinson’s Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy. In fact, the two of you were visiting together when I interupted to get both of your autographs. Anyway, Thank you for such an incredible debut novel. I truly truly loved it!!! And I loved meeting you!!!! You are a delight!

    • Hi Almedia, I absolutely remember meeting you. I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful and incredibly generous note. I read it this morning on the way to work and had to give myself a minute to cry. Your kindness means more to me than you can imagine, and I’m honored…truly…that you gave this little story a chance, especially out of all those amazing books you brought home from Girlfriends Weekend. Thank you!!! I hope you’ll enjoy seeing what happens next to Millie when the sequel is released September, 2013. Best, julie

  15. Hi Julie,

    I checked out Into the Free on Tuesday afternoon, finished this morning. (Thursday). Never really wanted to stop reading, but one must get some shut eye, and a meal or two.

    So glad I found this book in 2013, now there won’t be so long to wait for the sequel this fall.

    Please never stop writing.



    • Hi Melissa, Thank you so much for your kind note. I’m like you when I dive into a book. I forget to eat, sleep, and return to reality until the last page is turned. I’m thrilled to hear Into the Free gave you this kind of release. Hope you’ll enjoy When Mountains Move just as much. j

  16. Hi Julie,

    Although it was a while back when I read Into the Free, I thoroughly enjoyed the read! I remember feeling so sorry for Millie and her life style. Thank goodness she met Bump. I was just looking on Amazon to see if I missed a book after Into the Free, and it looks like When Mountains Move is the second one in the series? I hope so, because I just pre-ordered it. You are a great author and I hope to see many more novels by you. Have a great weekend Julie :)

    • Hi Katy, I’m glad you found the sequel and I hope you enjoy it as much as you liked the first part of Millie’s story. She did indeed have a rough journey, but I hear from readers every day who have had similar experiences, sadly. I appreciate your support and thanks for reaching out to me! j

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