Julie Mulhern - Action/Adventure With a Touch of Humor
Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. Action, adventure, mystery, and humor are the things Julie loves when she's reading. She loves them even more when she's writing! As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Fields' Guide to Abduction.
Please give us a short introduction to what Fields' Guide to Abduction is about.
I traveled a great deal when I was in my early 20s. And I loved it. But I didn’t stay in 5-star hotels, eat at restaurants with Michelin stars, or do more than look and dream at expensive shops. I wanted a character who could stay in those hotels, eat at those restaurants, and shop wherever she wanted without worrying about her Visa bill. Poppy Fields is a movie star’s daughter, she’s spoiled, she’s self-indulgent, and she’s drifting through life. Over the course of the book, she finds a purpose.
What inspired you to write this story?
I love watching and reading action/adventure with a touch of humor. I also love strong heroines. Poppy’s stories combine the two.
Readers say that the book is nonstop action. How did you manage to keep such a high pace throughout?
What’s the worst thing that can happen to a character? Being abducted? Falling down a mountainside? Getting cornered by hungry lions? What if all those things happen?
I start with what’s the worst thing and go from there.
The book contains plenty of surprises. Did you plan it all out before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
Some writers plot, some writers do not (they’re called pantsers). I fall somewhere in the middle. I know in general where the story is going but I allow for surprises.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I am a WORLD-CLASS procrastinator.
This is the first book in a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in this series tie in with this one?
Fields’ Guide to Abduction can be read as a standalone, but my hope (fingers crossed) is that readers will love Poppy, her friends, and her adventures and want to continue the series. In book two, Poppy goes to Paris. The third book, Fields’ Guide to Voodoo, sends her to New Orleans. And Fields’ Guide to Fog finds her in London.
Fields' Guide to Abduction contains a lot of humor and laugh-out-loud moments. Why did you write it this way?
My daughters will tell you I’m not funny. Fortunately, they’re in the minority. The best test for a funny scene is to have one of them read it. If they smile, I’m pretty sure the rest of the world will laugh out loud.
Which one of your characters do you think you would get along with the most?
I’d love to hang out with James Ballester, Poppy’s stand-in father. He’s kind, and generous, and I bet he’s got some amazing stories.
Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?
“James was so deeply in the closet, he had one foot in Narnia.”
I hope it succinctly explains James’ conflict. Plus, I love any reference to books from my childhood.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
About a year ago, I left my day-job to write full-time. Until I quit, I got up at 4:30 or 5:00 every morning and wrote before sending the kids to school and going to work. I’ve lost the ability to sleep late. Most mornings I’m up around 5:00. I write for a few hours, walk the dog, write some more, peek at social media, write some more. You get the idea.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m writing the tenth book in the Country Club Murders. When I finish, Poppy is going to Egypt!
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
For a list of my books, swing by my website – juliemulhernauthor.com.
You can also find me on Facebook (usually around 6 in the morning) at https://www.facebook.com/juliekmulhern/