Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Julie Howard sharing her creative journey and new release, Spirit in Time.
Briefly describe your first act.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. Nothing else appealed so when I went to college, I was faced with a dilemma: what major would best enable a writing career? English came to mind, of course, but journalism was more practical as far as earning a living while writing. My first act, then, was as a reporter and editor for a variety of newspapers in California, Nevada and Idaho. I loved this career even more than I expected, not just because I could write every day, but also because the people I interviewed were fascinating. I interviewed celebrities, company CEOs, and average people who ended up in extraordinary, newsworthy situations. I learned a great deal about human behavior – from kindness to deception.
What triggered the need for change?
Oh, the ‘80s and ‘90s decades were great for journalism! Newspapers had plentiful staff to tackle issues of the day and all I had to focus on was good, solid reporting. The technology changes came swiftly and complicated my job. Layoffs began in earnest and about one-third of newsroom staff were suddenly gone, meaning I needed to do even more. Frankly, the joy of working in the newspaper industry disappeared and I began thinking more and more of my childhood dream of being an author.
Second acts can take a lot of time and planning. I knew what I wanted but didn’t quite know how to get there. With two kids soon heading to college, we couldn’t afford for me to quit. But I tinkered with fiction here and there in my (very) limited spare time. I realized that fiction-writing was much different from non-fiction. There was point of view, voice, story arcs, plot, character development, and so many more things to learn. It took me a few years to make the transition.
Where are you now?
I have seven books published and am hard at work on the eighth. I have several more books in mind and can’t imagine ever doing anything else.
Do you have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?
Starting a second act can be scary. Who knows whether you’ll succeed? But what if you do? Even the effort is an achievement. Not everyone even gets a chance, or pursues a long-burning dream. Don’t expect success right away, stay the course and be patient.
Tagline: Time is not on her side.
Time travel isn’t real. It can’t be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding.
Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler?
Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift.
But will time be her friend or foe?
“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity.
The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still.
The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight.
The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt.
“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?”
“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.”
Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes.
About the Author
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series, and Spirited Quest. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write.