#MotownWriters Weekly Featured Author, Keith Julius #michiganwriters #mittenlit #writerslife

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Name of Author – Keith Julius

Name of Book – “The Robber Of Youth”

Author Website – www.keithjulius.com

Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2NXE6uU

Facebook Link – https://www.facebook.com/keith.julius.3

Buy Book | Author’s Website | Excerpt of book URL 

Where are you from? – I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, but I have lived in Temperance MI for over 30 years now.

Tell us your latest news? – I am a self-published author with 4 books currently available.  I am just starting book #5

When and why did you begin writing? – I can remember in 1972, at the age of 16, I wrote a detective novel that I asked my English teacher to review, so I have been writing for at least 46 years now.  I have always enjoyed reading and I love the idea of manipulating characters and events to make a cohesive story.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? – I have always considered myself a writer for as long as I can remember.  Though I didn’t consider myself an “author” until I self-published my first book – “Remorse By Degree” – in December 2015.

What inspired you to write your first book? – I suppose the urge to tell a convincing story is what inspired my first book.

Do you have a specific writing style? – I try to be realistic and accurate in my portrayal of people and situations.  At one time I was heavy into mystery and suspense, but lately I have been more interested in examining people and the things they go through in life.

How did you come up with the title? – I love descriptive, evocative titles of books, and I try to follow through with that for my own writing.  I try to make the title accurate, as in indication of what the story is about, yet hopefully I can grab people to make them want to learn more.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? – There’s a lot of hurt out there, especially with children in our society.  Kids shouldn’t have to grow up suffering for their parents’ mistakes and shortcomings.  Children are a precious commodity and they should be one of society’s most important considerations.

How much of the book is realistic? – I believe all of “The Robber Of Youth” is realistic, when you consider similar things are happening all the time and everything in the book has been experienced somewhere by somebody.  The situations involved are all too real, but it is entirely a work of fiction.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life? – Four years ago I became a CASA volunteer.  CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate, and we represent and look out for children involved in cases of abuse and neglect.  I have seen families torn apart through hard times and things like addiction and alcoholism, and I have gone through training that has exposed me to a lot of harsh realities of what children sometimes have to go through.  Though there are no particular incidents that led me to this book, it can be considered an amalgam of many of the things I have seen and experienced in my work through CASA.

What books have most influenced your life most? – As a writer I have drawn inspiration from John Steinbeck for his characterizations and realism, Michael Crichton for his pacing, and the Doc Savage series because it got me interested in reading in the first place.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? – I met Michigan author Monica Sholar at a library function almost 4 years ago.  Hearing her talk about self-publishing inspired me to take the plunge myself.  Thank you, Monica.

What book are you reading now? – Lately I have been re-reading the collected short stories of Sherlock Holmes.  I still enjoy a good mystery.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? – I don’t read nearly as much as I would like to, and I hate to admit I am not familiar enough with any new authors to have read any of their works.

What are your current projects? – I am just starting book number five now.  I am working on some things to promote myself online, but I have a long way to go – and a lot yet to learn – concerning selling myself and my books.

Do you see writing as a career? – I would love writing to become a career for me one of these days, but at the rate, I am going that looks doubtful.  I hope to retire from my day job in a couple of years.  Maybe then I can devote more time and effort to my writing and see it become a career for me.

 If you had it to do over again, would you change anything in your latest book? – You can change and rearrange and revise forever.  At some point, you have to say this is the story I want to tell and I have told it to the best of my ability.  I see no reason to change anything that I have already published.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? – My interest in writing has always been there for as long as I can remember.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? – I have just started Book 4 of “The CASA Chronicles”.  Like the others in the series, it begins with an incident in a child’s life that causes concern about their well-being.  The CASA volunteer then follows the case, attempting to discover what happened and why it happened.  They also monitor the progress of the children and families to verify if there is an improvement in the situation.  Like my second book in the series – “Born For Adversity” – this one will be a bit more of a mystery.  An 8-year-old girl receives a gunshot wound at home under mysterious circumstances.  An investigation follows and slowly the secrets behind the incident come to light.  I don’t work from an outline, but rather from an idea of where I am starting and where the story needs to end up.  All I need to do then is fill in the pieces in-between.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? – I find marketing – selling and promoting – to be the most difficult part of writing.  These are things I don’t have a handle on and wish I knew more about.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? – John Steinbeck has long been my favorite author.  His people seem believable to me, with a gritty realism.  When the characters talk they sound like actual people, not someone made up.  You can’t rely on them to be good – or bad – all the time. Human nature doesn’t work like that.  I feel Steinbeck captured the way people truly are.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? – My CASA work occurs in Toledo Ohio, and it has taken me to parts of the city and allowed me to see things I never knew existed before.  This has certainly influenced the way I portray people and places in my writing.

Who designed the covers? – I designed the first additions of my books, then quickly realized I needed something better.  An author I met pointed me to Fivver.com for cover design work.  I was able to get new covers designed, but I was extremely dissatisfied with the response and service I received through the site.  I ended up re-vamping a lot of what the designer came up with.  I guess you get what you pay for.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? – The hardest part of writing a book, as far as I am concerned, is finding the time to do it.

Did you learn anything about writing your book and what was it? – “The Robber Of Youth” revolves around a young girl who gets involved in a human trafficking ring.  This was a difficult subject to approach, and I struggled over how descriptive I should be.  While researching the topic I was amazed at how prevalent this problem is and – even more startling – how young some of the children are who are forced into this lifestyle.  I’m hoping my book will raise awareness of this horrendous issue.

Do you have any advice for other writers? – Don’t expect to become a best seller and become rich.  Chances are it will never happen.  Write because you enjoy the process, not because you think it’s your ticket to riches.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers? – My books are not light reading.  Don’t expect a happy ending all the time.  That doesn’t mean you want find glimmers of hope along the way.  I am dealing with subjects I feel are important for people to be aware of.  Though fiction, they are based firmly on reality.  It’s a tough world out there for a lot of people.  Ignoring bad things won’t make them go away.

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