A friend pointed out to me that most of the central characters in JULIA VANISHES have lost either a parent or a child. I drafted the novel while my first child was a toddler and I was pregnant with my second child, and that wasn’t deliberate, but I think on some level I’m always writing out my worst nightmares. Bianka lives out my nightmare more vividly than any other character in the books.
Here Julia realizes that Bianka, the young mother hiding in Mrs. Och’s house, might be more than what she seems.
One of my favorite scenes involves Julia spying while Bianka turns an owl into a cat. A reader asked me if Strig would be in JULIA DEFIANT. No – the little owl-cat doesn’t travel to Yongguo with them – but he will be in the third and final book.
In Julia’s world, spells must be written – a witch with a pen is armed and dangerous – and I had a lot of fun with how this works.
The evolution of Julia and Bianka’s relationship in JULIA DEFIANT was a dark and bitter joy to write. Could you ever trust or be friends with someone who once brought harm your child? Bianka recognizes threats to Theo’s safety and well-being on all sides.
My deepest, most terrible fear is not being able to take care of my children. I actually am not sure how or why I wrote some of this…
NEXT WEEK: Frederick, the brilliant young student working in Mrs. Och’s house.