Julie Egert Reveals Some Secrets About Her Writing

Julie Egert's book, "The Left Side Of The Stairs" is now available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and BooksAMillion.com. It was published by Aberdeen Bay. Anyone interested can read the first two chapters of "The Left Side Of The Stairs" on her author's site, julieegertwrites.com

Here is what Julie is sharing with us today:

Hi everybody, and thanks, Marilyn, for having me. I started out my writing career as a journalist, looking to parlay my love of writing into a way to support myself. I quickly found out that it was more fun to choose my own topics, and eventually decided that I loved writing my own (fictional) stories even more. (Yes, I know that there are those who would argue that journalists write plenty of fiction). But the ability to research, which I learned in J-school, can serve a novelist well, too.

I think the trick, like so many things in life, is to find that balance, and to know how much is too much. When I started writing "The Left Side Of The Stairs," my first foray into the world of publishing, I started to research in earnest: I filed away as many interesting tidbits about my setting, Atlanta, as I could find. I read about the marvelous, historical Fox Theater on Peachtree Street, where Kenny Rogers performed and insisted that his socks be ironed before the show. What a fun tidbit!

But did it belong in my story? Did it add to what my character was going through at the time? I had to delete a half a page when I went back to edit this part of the manuscript, where I'd gotten just a tad bit overzealous with fun facts I'd learned. (Overusing my research had made that part bo-ring). Being diabetic, I had no problem with making my main character Shelby's struggle with the disease believable. But I realized my readers didn't exactly need to know how many units of insulin Shelby took at bedtime, or read a list of all of the symptoms of low blood sugar.

I also agonized over getting details about my character Miranda's addiction right. Getting it right can add authenticity to your story, give the reader a sense of place, and make your words resonate with somebody who has been through the same thing in real life. But something struck me when I was watching The First 48, one of my guilty pleasures on TV, last night! (LOVE that show). The homicide detective was lamenting the fact that he'd been investigating for months to crack a case; in the meantime, the forensic evidence had been sitting right there, in a lab, containing the crucial answer...but he'd had to wait on the results of the DNA testing...for months. Well, any responsible crime novelist knows DNA testing can take forever. If they've done even the first bit of homework they're privy to this. However, in some cases, the novelist may not want their story spread out over the space of months, and they have to (gasp) fudge things or speed things along to bring their story to fruition. Here comes the "rush" on the testing or the strings a detective is able to pull that doesn't often happen in real life!

Start to over-think or work within the strict confines of the research you've done, and you'll find your story coming to a screeching halt...quickly. I also took medical research I had done and used it as inspiration for what could be possible for a character who was facing a medical crisis. I journeyed into a somewhat spiritual realm. I certainly didn't find out about the spiritual aspect of what one of my main characters was going through in the research I did, but it certainly did offer up plenty of inspiration. In a nutshell: Make the research your own and stretch it or change it up a wee bit if it suits your story to do so. Just make sure readers know that's what you're doing!

I'm all for being responsible with research, but sometimes the little "creative license" disclaimer you see at the beginning of books is a powerful tool. Author's disclaimer: Imagination at work!

Julie Egert

And a bit about her book:

The Left Side Of The Stairs

by Julie Egert

A reporter in over her head…
Meet Shelby Norris, a small-town reporter without a beat. Shelby wants to write CNN-caliber news, not stories about new park benches in town. But she’s unprepared for the devastating crash course in “real” journalism she gets with her husband’s sudden death. A snap decision to start over at a popular Atlanta paper brings her one step closer to the big stories she’s been craving, and a life-altering friendship…

A girl in crisis…
19-year-old heroin addict Miranda Linn is a girl who wears a Lord’s Prayer cross around her neck and a chip on her shoulder. When Miranda’s chance at a future starts to slip away, her family will look for help in the unlikeliest of places…

A recipe for healing…or disaster?
With one controversial article Shelby finds herself dragged into Miranda’s world, and a vicious public backlash. After getting caught up in an emotional tug-of-war between Miranda’s devastated parents and angry boyfriend, Shelby’s on a personal mission to help them heal. But first she’ll have to survive her daily crash course in being a “real” journalist, sort out some complicated feelings for a doctor with a connection to Miranda, and save herself from her own small-town baggage. Shelby’s about to learn what it means to no longer walk on the left side of the stairs.

Thank you so much, Julie, for your interesting revelations about yourself and you book.



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