Sunday, October 19, 2014


LGBT MONTH Author Interview: Juliann Rich

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About the Author:

Minnesota writer Juliann Rich spent her childhood in search of the perfect climbing tree. The taller the better! A branch thirty feet off the ground and surrounded by leaves, caterpillars, birds, and squirrels was a good perch for a young girl to find herself. Seeking truth in nature and finding a unique point of view remain crucial elements in her life as well as her writing.

Juliann is a PFLAG mom who can be found walking Pride parades with her son. She is also the daughter of evangelical Christian parents. As such she has been caught in the crossfire of the most heated topic to challenge our society and our churches today. She is drawn to stories that shed light on the conflicts that arise when sexual orientation, spirituality, family dynamics and peer relationships collide.  You can read more about her journey as an author and as an affirming mom on her website, and her blog,

Juliann is the author of two affirmative young adult novels: Caught in the Crossfire and Searching for Grace. She is the 2014 recipient of the Emerging Writer Award from The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival and lives with her husband and their two dogs, Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Ms. Bella Moriarty, in the beautiful Minnesota River Valley. 

Look for her third book, Taking the Stand, releasing from Bold Strokes Books in 2015!
What made you want to become a writer?
Being a reader. Seriously, I devoured books as a kid and I still do. They were and remain the portals to worlds that are far more interesting and vibrant than the day-to-day reality I live. I’m quite certain my desire to write was born by reveling in other peoples’ words.

Where do you get your inspirations from?

Everywhere! I can hear a snippet of a conversation, be in an atmospheric setting, read a headline in a newspaper and find story fuel. But real inspiration? The kind that wakes me in the middle of the night and drives me toward my computer? That always comes from some deep place within myself where I’ve encountered some truth and fallen in love with it.

Other than writing books, what else do you do in your free time?

I work part-time at a clinic, which is great because it forces me to interact with people—REAL people—and that’s so necessary to balance the internal time I spend with my characters. Also, helping others just plain makes me happy. In my truly “free” time, I enjoy hanging out with my family, my dogs, and my friends. I also try to etch out some time each week to be alone with myself in order to be able to recognize my own voice in a very noisy world.

If you could work with another author, who would it be?
This is SUCH a hard question because I am a big fan of so many writers, but if I have to pick just one it’s going to be Neil Gaiman. I have long been a fan of his work (The Ocean at the End of the Lane – WOW!), but it’s the way Neil approaches his life and his art that I would like to observe first-hand. Neil has tremendous reverence for the creative process and I would love to learn more about how he nurtures and honors his inner artist.

What are major themes of your work?

I am fascinated by the journey toward the authentic self. We are born and grow and live in a society that has countless ways to assign value and determine success. And yet, all that is external. An individual seeking personal truth must, at some point, ask and answer the question, “Who am I?” and that is the one theme that surfaces in every book and story I write.

What do you think people look for in a book?

Entertainment, escape, inspiration? All are fine answers to your question, but I’m not sure I can speak for what “people” look for in a book. However, I do know what I look for in a book.  I look for the opportunity to ride in the sidecar with a skilled driver at the wheel and a compelling travel companion to care about. Ultimately, I always open a book with the hope that I will be embarking on a journey that will leave me spent and satisfied by the time we reach our destination.

Are there any recent works you admire?

A new favorite book of mine is Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin, which came out in 2012. It is a perfectly crafted book set in 1920 about a girl named Garnet who falls in love with a flapper. I have SO much love for this beautifully written and moving book. 

Questions About the Book (Caught in the Crossfire Trilogy):
Which character in the book do you think you can relate to the most? 
Without a doubt, I relate to Garnet. Though my journey is different than hers, I understand her feeling like an ordinary sparrow in a world populated by exotically beautiful birds. 

How did you come up with the character's names?
Naming characters is the bane of my existence. Some come to me already named, which is lovely. Others are plucked from phone books. Seriously. I especially loathe trying to give characters last names. I feel the inside of a character long before I get to the external details of their lives. 

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Caught in the Crossfire, the first book in The Crossfire Trilogy, came to me first through my main character, Jonathan Cooper. He showed up one day in the quiet places of my life where my imagination hangs out and he was so full of love and faith and pain that I couldn’t resist finding out what happened next. That desire to discover whether he reached his destination on his journey toward authenticity has driven me every step of the way.

*The questions and answers of this author interview are only for Ethereal Book Reviews to use.  If you would like to get interviewed, please visit our "Contact Us" page and send us an e-mail.