Oct 5, 2011

Author Interview: Julia Mayer

I got the chance to interview Julia Mayer, author of the new YA novel, Eyes in the Mirror. Here's what she had to say about writing, inspiration, and what books she would need to survive on a deserted island:

The Irish Banana: What inspired you to write Eyes in the Mirror?
Julia Mayer: Eyes in the Mirror was originally a short story I wrote when I was about 12. The story started, as most of mine do, with a character that was knocking around my head. I tend to start weaving a story in mind and then can’t stop thinking about the story or its characters until it’s written down. The book that came from the story was inspired by a poster put up in my public high school (Bard High School Early College) for a novel writing program at 826NYC. I started the first chapter the night I saw the poster and from there the characters just took over.

TIB: What are the must-haves (i.e. drink, music, etc.) when you're writing?
JM: I do most of my writing long hand so the first must have is a spiral notebook and pen. I find physical writing to be so much easier and more satisfying than typing. I try to write outside as much as I can, usually someplace where I can hear people talking. I need noise around me when I write and I’ve struggled with writing realistic dialogue so I like to be somewhere I can hear people talking just to keep me in the spirit.

TIB: If you were stranded on an island with only 3 books, which books would you want?
JM: I would choose three vastly different books to avoid getting bored so I think I’d go with:
100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This is my absolute favorite book- I’ve read it at least half a dozen times and enjoyed different parts of it each time.
The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is another favorite- I’ve read it twice, once for a class, and once for fun and was completely engrossed both times but it’s pretty hefty, so I think if I was stranded on a desert island and had tons of time to read, I’d want to have it with me.
Sloppy Firsts, by Megan McCafferty. We started reading this book by flashlight in my bunk at camp during a blackout one year and my entire cabin devoured the whole series. It’s really different than the other two but it always makes me laugh, which is a fantastic break from the heftier reads.

TIB: What was your initial reaction at finding out you were going to be published?
JM: “Ballabadawah?” I originally wrote Eyes in the Mirror when I was 16 and got the publication phone call when I was 20. The book had almost completely fallen off my radar (besides as something I lent to friends occasionally) so I was shocked when I heard from my editor, Dan Ehrenhaft, that he wanted me to rewrite Eyes in the Mirror for publication. I think the next thing I thought was Wow, I’ve missed those characters; I can’t wait to see them again!

TIB: Any advice for aspiring writers?
JM: Put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard if that’s your preference) and see what comes out. It’s so important to keep in practice. Find people who you’re comfortable showing early drafts to- it’s a huge help to have other people giving multiple takes on your work. In my case, I had a writers group brought together through 826NYC and the notes from my group mates that summer range from “This doesn’t sound like this character” to a drawing of how angry one character made the other. All of it was helpful in different ways, and the book wouldn’t be the same without any of it.


  1. Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    Loved Julia's answers - how cool is that she started her book at age 12!! But, I'm also curious about the books she'd take with her to an island lol ... gonna see if I can find them :D

  2. She wrote this book when she was 12?! I'm impressed! And now she's a published author at 20. That's even cooler. Makes me want to kickstart my own career now!

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

  3. wow you started out young didn't you! That it so awesome that something you've had for so long you were able to get published. Congrats!!

    Pabkins @ Mission to Read

  4. I think it's great that you started out young! That gets my hopes up because I started writing when I was 12 (just turned 14) and I hope one day one of my early ideas will aspire me to write a bestselling novel.

    Julia Mayer has now become a inspiring author to me! :D Thanks so much for having this interview.

  5. Wow it's so insane that she started writing this book so young. That must me one heck of an accomplishment. :)

  6. Great Interview. I loved Sloppy Firsts, it is one of my all time favorites. Also, I think it's great that she write out everything on paper.


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