Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TBR welcomes Julia Phillips Smith

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Julia. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Julia: It’s a pleasure to be here – thanks for hosting me.

I’m a debut indie author who’s been writing paranormal/horror, dark fantasy and dark historical romance since I joined RomanceWriters of Atlantic Canada nine years ago. As I worked at the craft of writing, I knew deep in my heart that my stories would never fit in any of the traditional romance publishing houses.

I held off from submitting and just kept writing. I believed in my stories, and I worked to make them as good as they could be. After a very brief attempt at trying to whittle away at them to fit the current market as defined by the traditional publishing world, I returned to the heart of what I was writing.

I had absolutely no idea that the technical advances and rapidly-changing business model of e-book self-publishing was waiting for me, just around the bend.   

TBR: Tell us about SAINT SANGUINUS and where it's available.
Julia: SAINT SANGUINUS is a superhero origin story, following a Dark Ages Welsh warrior. Initiated into a vampiric Brotherhood, he works to keep a tense peace between humans and vampires.

A love triangle between warrior Peredur, Tanwen his betrothed, and Cavan the son of the village wise woman drives the action-packed narrative.

“These vamps don’t sparkle!” writes reviewer Shawna.

Available at:   Amazon


TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Julia: An elite brotherhood stands between humans and vampires, preventing one side from annihilating the other. Who are called to this service? Only those warriors who curse God with their dying breath.
Welsh warrior Peredur falls to a spear before he can claim Tanwen for his bride. Raging on the battlefield, Peredur utters the curse that seals his fate and leads him to another life. Using the power of a saint whose bone makes up an amulet, Peredur takes on the trials to become a true member of the brethren. Yet his need for the chieftain’s daughter Tanwen still burns.
Tanwen resists her father’s command to take a husband. The only one who understands her sorrow is Cavan, the wise woman’s son. When he promises that he can reunite her with her beloved, she agrees to his terms. But does Tanwen truly understand the depth of the price that must be paid?

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Julia: Characters come to me ready-made. When they burst into my consciousness, typically in the midst of an action scene or a deeply emotional moment, I focus in and try to figure out what’s going on, who’s doing what to whom and why.

Now that I’ve discovered Blake Snyder’s series of SAVE THE CAT books, I then make sure my character is hitting all the stops on his or her journey, once I pinpoint what sort of story they’re in. His framework has provided me with the closest thing to plotting for my writer’s toolbox. Otherwise, I’m very pantser-oriented.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Julia: Most definitely!

I wrote the first draft of SAINT SANGUINUS to Prokofiev’s score for Romeo and Juliet.

You can listen to a section here:

(In case that doesn’t work: )

Since then, I’ve made several playlists of songs that define my characters. You can listen to one of them by visiting this link:

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Julia: Hmm… I’d have to be the most wary of Cavan, who charms on the surface but hides an extremely dark side of himself from everyone—including his mother, a clairvoyant.

It would be hard to pick one of the brethren over another, so I’m going to invite the whole crowd over. Though I would be the only one eating…dinner, that is.

The Brotherhood is made up of seven warriors, all of whom cursed God with their dying breath. Their extreme attachment to life is put to good use in the continuing struggle for supremacy between humans and vampires.

The brethren consist of:
Melnak, from Byzantium
Wladyslaw, a Slav nobleman
Sigbjorn, a Norseman
Brude, a Pict
Velocatus, a Brigante from modern-day Yorkshire
Adalhard, a Gaul
Peredur, a Welshman – the newest member and my main character

TBR: What's next for you?
Julia: For the past year I’ve been posting serialized fiction, following the boyhood back story of my dark fantasy character, Scorpius. In the spring, this storyline which brings him into early adulthood will be completed and collected into novel form, with an e-book and print-on-demand release.

You can follow this story here:

As a small boy of seven, Scorpius was fetched from the nursery where he'd been raised to live among the nobility - fetched not by his family, but by a falconer to serve as his apprentice.

Scorpius soon learned that a close encounter with a dragon was preferable to the cruelties of the nobles he'd once hoped were family. His master did whatever he could to shield Scorpius from the world outside their cottage, but the falconer was merely a servant who must obey his own masters.

An attempt on the life of a young noble while on a hunt sent the falconer and his apprentice on abruptly different paths, bringing Scorpius into the service of Lord Thibault's noble house.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Julia: This is my personal favorite:
“My Lady and I read it aloud together in a little more than a couple of days. Julia Phillips Smith’s vampires are dark and ravenous; monsters more in the tradition of the vampire as deadly dangerous and blood thirsty. But it's not a horror story. It's a dark romantic adventure with appeal to men and women.” – TravisCody

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Julia: Check out my website at

Drop by my blog at APiece of My Mind - all arts, all the time since 2007.

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Julia: Who is your favorite vampire character?

TBR: Readers, Julia is giving away an e-book to one lucky commenter... so be sure to leave your contact information too. She'll pick a winner on Friday the 13th and announce the winner here.
Thanks for visiting TBR, Julia. All the best to you.


  1. Welcome to TBR Julia! Very cool cover. Congrats on your release!

  2. My favorites didn't do that well in your Vampire Smackdown. I'd have to say Viktor from Underworld, partly because I'm such a Bill Nighy fangirl.

    Don't put me in the drawing for Saint Sanguinus. I already got it, read it, loved it!

  3. Thanks for hosting me today, TBR! It's great to be here at this new blog, which only promises to add more TBR Mountains to homes and e-readers everywhere.

    Deb - My two favorite vampires (because I can't chose, I just can't) are Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Count Saint-Germain, and Alexander Skarsgard's version of Eric Northman.

  4. Hi Julia,

    Congratulations again on this awesome book! As different as our writing is, we share a determination to write the stories that are in us, though they don't fit a mold. Here's wishing you much success with St. Sanguinus.

  5. Julia I love that you went to the heart of why you're writing! And you're totally correct - the advances in the digital publishing world have enabled us Indie authors to take charge of our own destiny!

  6. Jennie - Thanks! And the same to you with SHATTERED.

  7. Renee - I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the biggest pluses for indie authors is the indie part. I know your Nitty Gritty series emerged from your heart, and it's getting the reviews to prove it.

  8. From Facebook: "Jules, I tried to leave a comment, but Blogger wants me to sign up for its services before I can leave a comment for you! : / So I'm going to leave my comment here; love your posting (but always love to read what you've to say! lol), and my fav vamp is still Eric the Northman (Alex Skarsgaard!) :)"

  9. And the winner of the free download of SAINT SANGUINUS is:

    Renee Field!

    I'll contact you - thanks for commenting.


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