Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Place Winner - Julie Musil

Here is our first place winner in the Imagination-Cafe writing contest. Julie Musil wrote a fabulous article entitled; Ready to Ride - more on that later.

Check out my interview with Julie below:

Tell us a bit about yourself
My husband and I have three sons; a 13-year-old and 10-year-old twins. Our family enjoys camping, hiking, water skiing, and atv riding. With my spare time, I love immersing myself in a great novel.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Until a couple of years ago, I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer. I just wrote because it was a fun hobby. My only regret is that I didn’t get serious about writing sooner.

When did you start to write? Tell us about that.
When I was a child, I wrote poems for anyone with a pulse. My family humored me and offered support, which encouraged me to write even more. I still have copies of those old poems, which are yellowing in a 70’s-style photo album with the sticky pages. One of my teachers submitted my Christmas poem to the local newspaper. It ended up making the front page--my first publication!

How has it been going so far?
For me, writing is pure joy. I’m steadily building a list of writing credits. I’m constantly amazed by the amount of opportunities available to writers, such as Imagination Cafe.

What genre of writing most interests you?
This may sound crazy, but every genre of writing I’ve tried, I’ve loved. With fiction, my style is contemporary. I’ve written picture books, several magazine stories and articles, and one nonfiction book. I’ve completed one novel, and I’m beginning work on my second. The books have not found publishing homes yet, but I’m hopeful.

Do you have any “formal” training in writing?
In 2009 I graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature. That course was a game-changer for me. During the course I wrote fiction and nonfiction, searched for markets, wrote cover letters and queries, and submitted for the first time. I loved it.

What is the toughest part of being a writer?
Like many writers, my biggest struggle is balance. Being a wife, mother, and writer keeps me plenty busy, and I must prioritize. I get caught up in what I’m writing or researching, and the hours fly by. Now that the kids are home for summer, I’ve varied my writing schedule a bit. I’m still getting plenty of work done, even with Spongebob and Guitar Hero as background noise.

Any advice you want to share with those still struggling with writing?
Someone once said, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” My advice is to polish your manuscript, zero in on a perfect market, and submit. What’s the worst that can happen? Rejections sting, but we’ve all learned they’re a part of this business.

* If you write for children, I’d recommend joining SCBWI. Their resources are priceless.

* Try new things--magazine work, novels, picture books. Exploring different genres can be a lot of fun.

* Follow writer and agent blogs. The amount of helpful information out there boggles my mind. Others have paved the way, and are generous with their time and support. I learn something new on a blog every day.

Do you have a blog or web site?

I do! Thank you for asking. My web site is My blog can be found at My Twitter name is @juliemusil.

Thanks Julie! Now check out her awesome, winning entry below.

Ready to Ride

Let’s Go!

“Ready to ride?” Dad shouts to Devin over the rumble of their dirt bikes.

“Let’s go,” Devin answers. He’s always ready.

Devin’s hands vibrate as he throttles up the mountain trail behind his house. The bitter wind numbs his red, runny nose. The dirt below is just the way he likes it: slightly muddy after the recent rains. The whine of his two-stroke motor is music to his ears, and the wobble of his knobby tires is like ballet on two wheels.

A motor? On my bicycle?

Devin’s love of this sport began at age eleven. But dirt bike riding humbly began in the 1800's, when engines were strapped to ordinary bicycles. Can you imagine a motor attached to your bike? Because most roads were not yet paved, these bikes were driven on dirt. Picking up steam and popularity since the end of the second world war, dirt bike riding has evolved into an exciting, challenging sport.

Read the rest of Julie's wonderful, exciting article at;


Julie Musil said...

Sandie, that was lots of fun. Thanks for posting the interview!

Imagination-Cafe Magazine said...

No problem! Thanks for the awesome article :)


Lisa Gail Green said...

Congratulations Julie! You are amazing.

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