Author Interviews Featured Authors

An interview with Julie Zantopoulos

How many hours a day do you write?

I love that the question assumes I write every day because I do. I spend at least two hours a day working on writing or author-related tasks. On weekends, I write the majority of the day on/off. Making writing a daily habit was really important to me. 

If you were a casting agent for the movie version of A Curse in Ash who would you cast for the main roles?

As an author with aphantasia (I don’t see pictures in my head), it’s hard to fan-cast my books. However, I do have picture inspiration for characters. You can see the book’s Pinterest board at That may give you the best idea of what I was picturing for my world and characters.

But I can say that Brynach has always been the model Brock O’Hurn and Riordan has always been close to Julian Morris from Pretty Little Liars. Aisling is more a Molly Quinn, but when she was on Castle as Nathan Fillian’s daughter-a feisty and independent redhead. 

What were some of your favorite books when you were growing up?

Young Julie was a voracious reader. I read a lot of Nancy Drew, The Babysitter’s Club, The Secret Garden, and Where the Red Fern Grows. Recently I reread a book I found at my parent’s house that I remember loving. It’s a middle-grade horror that is truly frightening (not to mention problematically sexist looking back on it). It was Christina’s Ghost by Betty Ren Wright-you’ve been warned-but it’s a great book for the spooky season.

What was your hardest scene to write?

There was a scene towards the end of the book that I can’t mention for spoiler reasons, that absolutely broke me. The hardest scenes for me are always the ones that require me to dig deep into emotions and put myself into a character’s shoes. This particular scene happened on the last of three rewrites (yes three) and I truly didn’t know it was going to happen. I was doing video chat sprints with a writer friend and they looked up and I was sobbing and just said, “Something just happened that makes the story so much better, but I’m not okay right now.” And I just let myself cry. So, yeah, that was hard.

Can you tell us all about Pages and Pens, your YouTube channel? 

It started as a passion project where I could discuss books and grow a community. I just wanted to rave about what I was reading, and for a long time, that’s all I did. Then I branched out into author-related content as I got more serious about my writing and querying process. My online community has seen A Curse in Ash from inception to completion. I have a lot less time for reading now that I’m focused on a writing career but the joy that comes from Pages and Pens hasn’t wavered at all. I’m very thankful for my bookish community, which is why A Curse in Ash is dedicated to them. It’s been incredible to be supported and encouraged the way they have. They truly are the best.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

There’s always something in the pipeline for me! I am currently nearing the end of the sequel to A Curse in Ash and will immediately move on to fast drafting book three (the conclusion-I think). Once they’re both finished I’ll go back and edit book two and get it ready for critique partners and editors. I also have two adult women’s fiction novels, one I’m querying for agents and another that still needs editing. I plan to indie publish the In Ash series of books and traditionally publish women’s fiction. But, who knows, things may change and I may indie publish them all. But, I definitely want to finish telling Aisling, Riordan, and Brynach’s story first. As far as teasers, I can promise the spice and the stakes both increase in future books, and considering how high they were in book one, that’s saying something.

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