Monday, 3 June 2019


Julie Hodgson is a multi-award-winning author of young adults and children’s books. She has travelled all over the world to tell her stories. It helps that she can speak three different languages  Julie lives in Portugal with her husband and she runs a successful bookshop, story-telling sessions and a radio show for children. She has been writing professionally since 1989 when she was a columnist for  the Times newspaper in Kuwait.
“Julie this all sounds very exciting and it makes me want to ask you lots of questions about your work and your writing success.”

So here goes.

1. Why did you decide to settle in Portugal? Where did you live before?

I was in Scotland before we moved to Portugal, on a whim because the weather was so beautiful in Lisbon when we came for a birthday in January. I have actually moved to many places around the globe, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Malta, Sweden, to mention a few. 

2. What did you do before writing and becoming an author?

I worked as a columnist for the Times Kuwait.

3. When, how and why did you begin your writing journey?

I wrote my first Poem at the age of 9, loved reading, and Dickens was never far from my hands, I loved a Christmas Carol, and wished I could write like Charles Dickens. I had done some charity writing and blogs and it went on from there. 

4. What has been the main influence behind your books?

The classics have been a strong influence, I loved reading the hardback versions of The Strand magazine, published in the 1800's, just wonderful old-fashioned writing. Dickens, Conan Doyle etc. Life is also a huge influence… I am often people watching, taking in their characters. 

5. Any favourite books/ authors? And why? Also have you got a favourite from your own books?

Steinbeck, Dickens, Keats, Stephen King., As a teen I loved and read most of the classics, even a book called The Pigman by Paul Zindel, one of my first American style stories. My English teacher showed us some really cool classics. With Stephen king, he takes me to places nightmares walk, and I love the way he depicts even the most gruesome of scenes, from a writer’s perspective it is genius! I also love reading them as it’s such a different  genre from what I write. 
One of my favourite books I wrote was Jodie and the Library Card, the reason why was that a girl in 2075 with a voracious appetite for books, and having them banned would be my worst nightmare! I just fell in love with her charm.. I often take a character from people I know; I based the character of Jodie on my daughter. 

6. Are you self published or traditionally published? And what made you take this path? 

I am both; I love the self-publishing path the best as you have FULL control. I am with a Portuguese and Swedish Publisher.

7. You are incredibly talented and have many achievements. What would you say is your best achievement, and why?

That’s very kind of you to say so! (blushing) I think it is when my first book was published, and it was launched, I loved the feeling of achievement. The feeling has never gone; I get so excited when I see my book in print. 

8. I see that you have a personal assistant and an agent. When and why did you decide to get them?

As I visit many schools, it’s always good to have someone at your side to handle, mail, and appointments. I have had one for about 12 years now. My agent is Swedish and also a friend which helps my writing journey. 

9. How much time do you spend writing?

 About a couple of hours a day, depending on the project, I do tend to get lost in the computer and come out the other end, thousands of words finished. 

10. Do you have another job or is the writing sufficient to support your lifestyle? 

I have a dream job; I own my own bookstore

11. Do you market and promote your books? How are you finding this? Any tips?

Visiting places, school, university’s, shops, is a great way of advertising your book, if people can actually meet you, your book sells well. In fact, in my own shop I sell more copies of my own books than regular shops.  They also love getting them signed. Book-fairs are a good thing too. For online purposes, I use, twitter, and Linkdin, also many outlets for online newspapers are a good thing, Entering book competitions offers high exposure and an online presence, having a website or blog is a must, as many people follow it.. I don’t usually pay for adverts, but its a good idea to offer free copies to your local newspapers, and when you go and visit schools, make sure the media is there. Most papers have an online edition. that is a better thing as it “stays” on the net for a long while. 

12. It’s hard for children’s authors in the UK to get paid for school visits and workshops. How are you finding it in Portugal? It would be useful to know a bit about this.

 Yes, I agree, I usually do this well in advance and they order copies of the book, I have had fees paid, but feel schools should be free as they have low budgets, and that’s not the child’s fault. 

13. What are your plans for the future?

I will carry on as I am doing, writing, enjoying that when I can, meeting people and running my shop. 

14. Have you any advice for someone who would like to start writing?

Never give up! Never! Take criticism as a guide, and not to heart, listen to your inner soul, and enjoy what you do. Attend writing seminars as often as you can to meet fellow writers. It’s a fun thing and you meet wonderful people along the way. 

15. Have you any advice for someone who wants to get their book published?

I have always used the book, Writers ad Artist guide, by A.C Black; it is a mine of information… I have used this book since before the internet came… It has everything including tips to write a forwarding letter. Book seminars are a great way to meet future publishers too… 

Julie, it has been a pleasure to interview you and read your answers to my questions. I am really interested in your book Jodie and the Library Card. I like that it is based on your daughter and that is also in the future.
I always love to read how authors begin their writing career and how they build on their achievements.
I wish you even more success with whatever projects you create.  

Julie’s social media details

Twitter: @redragdolly
Facebook: @JulieH1962 


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