I recently met Julia Blues through social media. I noticed she was an author and I wanted to introduce her and her books to Austin. This is what she had to say.

Julia Blues headshotsj

Ujima: My understanding is you moved to Austin recently. Can you tell me a little about yourself and what made you move to Austin?

Julia: That is correct. March will be my year anniversary moving to Austin. I grew up in the Air Force, pretty much moving around my whole youth. As a result, after being in a place at least two years, I get the itch to move. I also believe it’s because I hadn’t found a place I felt I could call home. The state I was living in at the time of my “last itch” had crazy state taxes. I refused to pay such a high rate to renew my license plate another year, so I went on a search for states void of those taxes. Texas came up. The more I researched, the more it piqued my interest. It was suggested to visit to see how I felt about the “Lone Star State.” I got in my car, drove 14 plus hours to Houston. Spent a couple of days there and quickly knew that wasn’t it. The moment my tires rolled onto Austin’s streets, my heart fluttered. I felt butterflies. It was an undeniable attraction. Less than a year later, I became a resident. And for the first time in my life, I have no desire…or itch to move anywhere else.

Ujima: Have you settled in fairly well? What do you like most about Austin? What would you change?

Julia: I settled in quick. Three weeks in and my calendar was filled with meetups and networking events. The energy here is what drew me in. Because I spent many years living overseas, the cultural influence here is a contributing factor to why I feel connected. I like that everyone doesn’t look like me or sound like me or does the same things as I do. I considered myself a runner before moving here, but when I visited for the first time, my hotel was right off the Lady Bird Lake Trail and to see all those people kicking up dirt ignited my running muse. Though I’m still discovering more of the city I love, there’s not one thing I would change. It has enough for me to do, plenty of places for me to go, and let’s not get started on the food to try. Nope, wouldn’t change a thing.

Ujima: You state you are a storyteller, visionary and purpose mentor. What do these words mean as far as your daily life and/or work?

Julia: It’s what I do, it’s who I am, it’s how I survive. Everyday I’m surrounded by stories. Life is a series of stories. I’m either watching them, living them, listening to them, or writing them. During my childhood, I always had visions, whether in my sleep or while wide awake. More times than not, they scared me. They were visions from the past and often of future events. I had to learn how to embrace them, to apply them to my life in a positive way. It’s how I tell stories and also how I mentor people toward purpose. It’s a daily goal of mine to speak a word of SOULspiration, to encourage someone’s soul in some way. If others see me walking in my purpose, I find it helps them define and honor theirs. If I’m not telling a story, putting action to my ideas, or inspiring, I’m not living. I wasn’t created just to exist, so I must do what I came to do.

Ujima: Let’s talk about your writing. You are an author of two books. Your debut novel being “Parallel Pasts” and “The Last Exhale”. Can you give us a brief idea of what the books are about? Julie Blues bookcover

Julia: Parallel Pasts is about two individuals fighting their pasts for the chance of everything they’ve never had. It’s about learning how to let the past go in order to live a more authentic life.
The Last Exhale takes you on a journey of what happens in marriage once the truth is revealed and how to put the pieces together as a result. It addresses the need for effective communication from the gate so that all can make the right decisions before getting fully invested.

Ujima: What made you decide to become an author? Did you always write either in a journal, etc.?

Julia: Writing wasn’t something I chose, initially. I was at a point in my life where I was looking for more. Not sure what exactly, but in the midst, a voice called out to me. As if instinctual, I opened a blank document on the office computer and transcribed what I heard. The year was ’00. Been writing ever since.
I’ve had several journals throughout the years, however, it wasn’t until around 2006 that I began filling the pages on a consistent basis. I’d always been a storyteller, though, let my Barbies tell it. I grew up watching movies (westerns, kung-fu, marionette-made productions, action) and TV shows sent to us by the season on VHS while stationed abroad. My brain was imprinted with stories. Eventually they were bound to show up in my life in some way.

Ujima: Do you write from life stories and events or from other places? If so, where do the ideas come from?

Julia: I write from experiences. We all experience pain, joy, love, heartache. We all cry. We’ve all lost someone. We’ve all experienced “roller-coasters” in life. Those are the things I write about. From the time that voice called out to me in 2000, I’ve relied on stories transmitted to me via a spiritual realm. I don’t believe these stories are figments of my imagination. Someone somewhere from some point in time needs their story told and I do believe I am one of the vessels they trust to tell it. They are where my ideas come from. Julie Blues TheLastExhaleCovers1f

Ujima: Where can our readers connect with you?

Julia: You can connect with me by visiting my website at http://www.juliablues.com. Or you can locate me on Twitter @Julia_Blues, and on Facebook.com/itsjuliablues

Ujima: What can readers expect from your two novels?

Julia: Truth. Self-reflection. Revelation. Emotion. The experience of living, learning, growing, and loving through vulnerable characters. Everything isn’t pretty or are there necessarily happy endings. You can expect to be entertained, yet be able to walk away with something.

Ujima: You have some upcoming events where the public and meet you and get your book. Where and when will these events take place?

Julia: I will be at Barnes & Noble Arboretum in Austin on March 6 at 7 p.m. I’m excited to be a part of the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta in August. I’d love to see you wherever possible. You can always stay abreast of all public appearances via my website.
Thanks for taking the time to do the interview and welcome to Austin.
I appreciate it much. =)

#ujimamagazine, #juliablues, #author, #storyteller, #mentor, #visionary, #newtoaustin, #livinglife
Damita Miller-Shanklin
damita@ujimamagazine.com