Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our new anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Julia B. Hebner in her featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
There is a bus stop on the corner of our lot. Most years, the kids are nice. Some years, we get a loud crew out there, but they are having fun. One year, we got a group that included two thuggy, out-of-shape boys. That was where I started this story.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Alice Kapaul is an old woman, a retired librarian, tucked neatly into an ordinary neighborhood. You wouldn’t look at her twice. And that’s just the way she wants it.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
This story is set in Now and also in Back Then. The familiarity of Now is a big contrast with the hardship and struggles of Back Then. But wherever you go, you take yourself with you. In this story, that makes all the difference.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
The School Bus is fantasy with a touch of mystery.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
I like reading history and accounts of the dust bowl and the Great Depression seem fantastic to me, here in green and verdant Virginia. I’m not sure I’m could have survived. Family stories about homesteading on the Great Plains are equally fantastic. I have seen the sod hut my husband’s grandparents and infant uncle endured through a Nebraska winter. I don’t know what it takes for a human to do that.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
I hope readers gain some empathy for the boys, some understanding of the family dynamics that shaped them, and some understanding of how Tommy overcame his bad start.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
My favorite part of the story to write was Tommy’s homecoming, the story of his life and Miss Kapaul’s reactions. He was grateful for the chance at a decent life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I think I was born writing stories. My first book was a chapter book about the adventures of my stuffed tiger (his eyes glowed in the dark), neatly typed and complete with photographs.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
Perfect writing conditions: no interruptions! (Chocolate is nice, too.)
What has influenced you most as a writer?
Reading! There are so many wonderful books in the world – history, fantasy, romance, literary fiction, memoirs! And poetry and plays and essays and really funny stuff, too!
What font do you prefer to write in?
Times New Roman. It reminds me of the typewriter I had as a child. That machine was a hand-me-down from my grandfather. My fingers got strong from pounding those old fashioned keys. But my first draft is always in pencil.
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
A few weeks ago, I was listening to history podcasts and watching YouTube tours of the Cotswalds. “Ask a Mortician” is one of my all time favorite YouTube channels, and lately, I’ve been watching literary agents. I especially love the savvy agents from the Bookends Literary Agency at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCukLkiCzvK6AIMnYIDqxUug. I also enjoy https://queryshark.blogspot.com/, an oldie but goodie.
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
“Just” is my favorite word, judging by the number of times I use it. “Just” is also my least favorite work because I overuse it and always have to review my manuscripts to cull the beast!
Julia Hebner has been drawing and writing and reading since she could hold a crayon in her pudgy little hand. (Okay, so no one claims anything else could understand her scribbles, at least not right away.) She eventually studied writing on her way to a degree in English from Ohio University. She also briefly undertook the study of classical Greek so she never had to admit “It’s all Greek to me!” Her blog can be found at juliabhebner.wordpress.com