Author Spotlight: Julie Hedlund

We are delighted to introduce Julie Hedlund, founder of the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge and author of several storybook apps and picture books.  

Hi Julie, thank you for agreeing to this interview and for being featured in our AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!  We've got some really great questions for you, so let's begin!

Were you good at English?
I was insanely good at English. I lived for diagramming sentences and participated in every spelling bee known to my hometown - LOL. I always loved writing stories and still do!

Which writers inspire you?
Too many to name them all, so I'll name the one who is my biggest source of inspiration and that is Jane Yolen. I know it's not an original choice, but everything she writes is amazing, and she can write anything - picture books, poetry, nonfiction, MG and YA novels. I also aspire to be as dedicated to my writing as she is to hers. I have a long way to go, but I try!

What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on two brand new picture books, one featuring a dragon and the other dancing dogs. I know that's not very specific, but I'm quite pleased with where both of them are going so far. This year, I also plan to write my first chapter book (that I hope will be the first in a series) and start drafting a YA novel I've had clunking around in my head for years. And more picture books of course! 

I am also working on promoting my existing books and apps AND getting ready to launch my next book this fall. Like it or not, marketing and promotion is a huge part of our jobs as writers these days.



What genre are your books?
Picture books and storybook apps so far. 
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Well, it's more accurate to say I work in writing-related activities full-time. I consider myself an author-entrepreneur in that I also earn income from activities such as my 12 x 12 challenge for picture book writers, speaking at conferences, developing products and services for writers, etc. I feel fortunate that I'm able to earn a full living by combining all of these activities. 

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Starting. As in, taking a seat in the chair with the intention to begin writing.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Finishing a writing session and feeling like a rock star!

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I hate to say this, as the author of two storybook apps, but I do prefer paper for my own reading. However, I recognize that kids growing up today are much more inclined to do everything electronically, so I think learning about digital publishing is important for every author. 

I'm reading SCUMBLE, by Ingrid Law, a fellow CO writer. It's a companion to her Newbery Honor book Savvy, and I'm loving it!   

How do you relax?
I don't. Ha Ha. Jogging, hiking, reading, cooking. These are all things that calm me down.

What is your platform? Do you think it's important to have one?
I could go on for days about this subject, and sometimes I do! All I'll say for now is if you want to have control over your career, you need to have a platform. Chuck Wendig said recently, "Storytelling is an art. Writing is a craft. Publishing is a business." Your platform is a critical part of your writing business if you want to be (or already are) published.

Wonderful insight from such a talented author! Thanks so much, Julie!


  1. Thanks so much for being featured in our Author Spotlight, Julie! You are a FABULOUS author!

  2. I'm a big fan of SAVVY and SCUMBLE too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - can't wait to hear more about your picture books in the works.

  3. I can totally tell you're not the sort to just sit back and veg in front of a television to relax, Julie! You really are an inspiration to those of us who tend to give in to our slacking tendencies. :)

  4. I adore SAVVY and SCUMBLE! I'm always amazed at all that you do, Julie!!!

  5. What a great spotlight! You definitely are an inspiration, Julie.

  6. You are an inspiration to me and so many others! Thank you, Julie!

  7. *hugs Julie tight* Loved reading more about you. You are such a fantastic writer, but more important, you're a fantastic PERSON. It all works for good when we give back. You do that every day.

  8. Thank you for all of these wonderful comments everyone! Hugs back at you! :-)

  9. Great tips for all to take away Julie


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