Today’s I’m proud to present an interview with author, tatoo artist and secret shoe designer Julia Madeleine.
Julia Madeleine is the youngest daughter of Irish immigrant parents from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Born in Canada and raised in a small town in southern-western Ontario on the shores of Lake Huron, Julia honed her dual passions for art and fiction writing from the time she was old enough to hold a crayon. As a teenager she moved to Toronto and graduated in Media Writing from Sheridan College. She wrote for a number of entertainment magazines, while spending all her free time writing fiction, and then in 2000, her passion for art led her, quite by accident, into a career in the tattoo industry.
GNOH – Hello Julia, how are you doing?
A little sleepy. Just woke up. But I’ve got coffee, so all is well.
GNOH – Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hmmm…I never know where to start with this question. Let’s see, I’m an obsessed writer of all things dark and dastardly. If I’m not writing then I’m thinking of writing or creating stories in my head. In fact I’m so fixated these days I’ve completely given up all other activities that I enjoy like sewing and painting, and I have a lovely garden of weeds in my backyard. But I am raising some killer tomatoes in a planter on my deck that I’m determined to keep alive. All I have to do is water them once a day. So it doesn’t interfere with my writing whatsoever. I’ve got them on the juice in hopes they’ll become monsters.
GNOH – I see your from around Toronto, you ever meet by uncle Dr David Mcleod, all he would have talked about is his fishing boat?
Never met him but I’ll keep my eye out for him, Jim. I do like fishing.
GNOH – How would you describe your writing style?
It’s really whatever dark and putrid stuff my mind regurgitates onto the computer screen. But I try to be minimalistic with an emphasis on strong character development and lots of suspense.
GNOH – Who would you say are your main influences?
Stephen King has twisted many a young impressionable mind, mine included. So I’d have to list him as my first one. Anne Rice came after that. Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Gaitskill, Evelyn Lau, and Janet Fitch have all been very influential.
GNOH – Can you remember what caused you to first put pen to paper?
When I was a kid, like six or seven, I used to make up funny little tales to amuse my family. But I distinctly recall writing a short story in grade school and really enjoying the creation of a character and then putting him into some perilous situation. Maybe it appeals to the control freak in me, or I’ve got some deep rooted sadistic tendencies.
GNOH – What’s the draw of crime and horror, have you always been drawn to the darker side of life?
It’s probably the steady diet of old horror movies I watched as a kid. I loved Hitchcock movies. So that might have warped my developing brain some. But I’ve always enjoyed that feeling of suspense, when your whole body is tensing with anticipation and fear of what’s going to happen next.
GNOH – What are your top five crime novels?
I don’t really have a top five. I’ve only recently begun trying to read more in the crime genre. Prior to that I never read in any particular genre. But as far as crime novels go, I did really enjoy all the James M. Cain novels and I recently discovered Andrew Vachss and I love his style.
GNOH – What would you say makes for a good Noir thriller?
For me it would be not only suspense, that need to keep turning the pages, but character. In any story that I read, it’s the characters that keep me involved.
GNOH – Robert Rankin jokingly says that a good noir story only needs three settings, a smoky bar, a dark alleyway and good rooftop for the final battle, would you agree with him?
Ha! That’s great. I suspect there might be a little more to it than that.
GNOH – Is your husband still afraid of you researching different ways to kill and dispose of victims. I bet he now does the housework properly, and not half arsed like most men.
Yes, he’s still afraid of me. It’s the killing of husband’s in particular that worries him. He’s doing the housework as I write this. The other day we were watching Goodfellas and in the scene where the wife of the main character has a gun to his head, I made the mistake of saying she should have pulled the trigger (I was relating to her rage. He was keeping a mistress!). He didn’t like that. Lately he’s been making the coffee in the mornings for us, where I used to do it.
GNOH – How would commit the perfect murder, say of an annoying neighbour who live 8 houses down from you, he was two annoying kids and walks like a gorilla? Not that I intend to do anything mind you, honest .
I’ve got an annoying neighbour right across the street. She’s been pretty quite these days though. But I did base a short story on her called “Smashed” which appeared in Dark Valentine Magazine, where she gets offed via a cast iron frying pan to the noggin. But as far as how to commit the perfect murder, I will have to invoke my right to remain silent in case anything I say may be used against me in a court of law.
GNOH – As a writer of short stories, flash fiction and novels, which do you find to be the most difficult, and which do you get the most pleasure from?
Flash fiction appeals to my short attention span, it’s like instant gratification. But they tend to distract me from working on my manuscript. I think sometimes I get distracted by them purposefully to avoid the hard work that goes into writing a novel. Definitely the novel is more difficult to write, takes more self discipline, and ultimately it’s more rewarding.
GNOH – Stick A Needle In My Eye has just been nominated for a Derringer award, you must well chuffed about that?
Sure am. Daddy is proud.
GNOH – The Devils music is a new series about Sadie who is the daughter of the devil. In the book she has an insatiable thirst for music, is music an important part of life?
Sure, everyone loves music, weather it’s rock, country, jazz, pop. I think the fact that Sadie’s appetite is so diverse allows everyone relate to it.
GNOH – Your debut novel Scarlet Rose received a fair bit of critical acclaim, do you think it’s harder for an author to write a follow up book when this happens?
Psychologically perhaps. After writing it I was wondering if I’d be able to do another. I was afraid I might have only one book in me. Turns out there’s a lot more.
GNOH – What lessons have you learned since this was first published?
The importance of working on your craft.
GNOH – Hear You Scream is your take on the home invasion theme, do you think this is a much more horrific theme than a big monster running amuck?
It’s the wolf in the sheep skin that’s more scary for me. The psychopath that looks and behaves like everyone else, while ingratiating themselves into your life, is more insidious and terrifying than say giant tomatoes attacking. That’s tremendously scary too, just a different kind of scary.
GNOH – You also just released Drunk on The Moon : Fear of the Night, which is your instalment of Paul D Brazill’s series. How did you get involved in this?
Paul was generous in asking me if I’d like to join the party. At first I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off because werewolves, zombies and aliens were a bit removed from the usual stuff I write. But I thought it would be a great challenge and I had so much fun writing it.
GNOH – How much free reign did you have when writing the story?
Plenty. The only requirements were to base it on the Roman Dalton werewolf PI character and any other characters in the story and make a few references to the elements in the first story. I really had a blast writing it.
GNOH – It’s a great tale, how well has it been received by the general public?
I think it’s doing quite well. The cover art is phenomenal and the story line has so much potential. It’s great to see where other writers are taking it.
GNOH – I’ve been told to ask you about your time in the publishing world. (not going to tell you by who, but I sure you can guess)
Ha ha! It was either Paul or Frank who put you up to that.
So here it is: When I was in college, studying media writing, we had job placement to do. My job placement was at a Toronto literary agency. And I was given the task of sifting through manuscripts to see if there was anything worthwhile. I was set up at a desk which was kind of out of the way, with stacks of author’s labours of love. And me the tired, overworked, non-paid college kid, hung over from working nights in a bar to support myself, was the gatekeeper as to weather they would face rejection or a second glance by the actual agent. Most days I had the manuscript propped up in front of me against the desk as if I was reading. Except that my eyes were closed. I was catching up on my sleep.
So years later, when I began submitting my own manuscripts to agents, I kept wondering if there was some college kid, hung over on tequila, reading my work with his good eye closed. I like to humour myself that yes, in fact there was, and that’s why I kept getting rejected.
GNOH – Can you tell us about any future writing projects that you have in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on a trilogy about a girl who’s tracing a killer to see where he’s taking his victims. I’ve got the first manuscript in the series complete (at least I think) and I’m about to begin the first draft of the second book. It’s some pretty scary stuff.
GNOH – As well as being an author you are also a tattoo artist, how did you get into that?
I owe that to my husband, Fabien. I walked into his shop nearly seventeen years ago for a tattoo for my brother who passed away. I fell in love with him immediately. Then when I was out of a job at one point I started helping around the shop and drawing up designs. So it was just a natural progression for me.
GNOH – Do you have a particular style?
I like realism. I also love working with colour. I really enjoy tattooing the classic pin ups.
GNOH – I’ve been wanting to get a tattoo that represents my partner and kids their names are Amanda, Campbell and Ella, is was thinking about an ace of hearts design, you got any ideas? ( I did warn you that I was a bit cheeky and forward)
Full sleeves. More definitely. Your cool factor will sky rocket. You can take the most average, boring looking guy (not that you’re those things, Jim) and put a sleeve or two on him and suddenly he’s hot. Works every time. Come see me, we’ll discuss your design.
GNOH – Have you tattooed anyone famous?
I’ve tattooed a former CFL player. A dude from the UFC. But no celebrities, U.S presidents, or porn stars.
GNOH – Out of all the tattoos you’ve done do you have a favourite?
Probably the geisha that’s on my best friend’s leg.
GNOH – You must have met some real characters through the your tattooing, have you ever used any of them in your stories?
Oh, yes, everyone eventually gets a role in one of my stories, if not elements of their characters then their personal experiences do. I used to work at a dating service years ago selling memberships where people would tell me things about their previous relationships that they wouldn’t tell their best friends. It was such good material that I kept files on these people for my writing.
GNOH – What do you do to relax?
I meditate. Keeps me grounded. I also drink a lot of wine.
GNOH – And what’s this about a secret desire to design shoes, that doesn’t seem to fit with crime writing Irish descendent tattoo artist?
A woman can never have too many pairs of shoes. I just bought a gorgeous pair from Steve Madden the other day. Leopard print with a very high wedge heel. In my next life I’m coming back as Manolo Blahnik.
GNOH – Julia it’s been a pleasure chatting with you, I love getting the chance to talk with authors I have just discovered. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
The pleasure is mine. Let me know if you want me to send you some tomatoes when they’re ready.
Julia’s books can be bought in all the usual places click the links below for purchasing details,
And click this link for a chance to read her free fiction on the web