I love paranormal and am particularly partial to vampires and romance but not at the cost of the story. Contrary to the belief the vampire trend has diminished I think readers are just more finicky in their choices these days. It’s not about trends; it’s about providing a unique flavour. Let’s face it, original is impossible. I blame Shakespeare for doing it all before. What is possible? Possible is the writer who brings a freshness to the page, who takes something familiar and makes it new and all their own. Julia DeBarrioz, a talented Indie author, does this with warmth, humour, and finesse, and honesty and depth in her characters.
The combination is exciting and full of sexual and plot tension, is often brutal and yet all of it eerily believable because the characters have depth. Meet Julia who explains a little of her background, her books and her Indie choice of publishing, and who has become a favourite read of mine despite the fact she uses American spelling. 😜
I’m an only child, so I guess story telling has always been an intrinsic element of how I entertain myself. I would re-tell my favorite childhood books as my mother was trying to read to me, undoubtedly praying I would fall asleep at some point. Instead my little brain just kept rollin’. Sorry Mom! I wrote my first full length novel when I was 13. It was like a cross between Tomb Raider and the Amelia Peabody series set in Egypt. I’m sure it was awful. But I kept writing and kept writing and kept writing. When I’m not pounding out my own stories, I’m honing my skills writing fanfiction. So many words of fanfiction.
I guess I’m proud to say I’ve achieved some popularity [notoriety] in certain fandoms. Some people have mixed feelings about the medium, but they can suck it. Ha. But no, yes, seriously, it’s an underappreciated art. It actually takes a lot of skill to create a work that’s both in character, in voice, and yet uniquely your own. The best writers I know are fic writers. Aside from my obsessions I’m not entirely untrained. I majored in studio art at university, but I was only a few credits shy of a minor in literature.
I’ve been daydreaming about Dakota since I was a sophomore in high school, which I hate to admit was quite some time ago. I guess I came to write the Dakota del Toro series because I wanted to read a Latinx flavored urban fantasy set out West and I just wasn’t finding anything. This was before Daniel José Older began publishing (who I love) or Faith Hunter or Rebecca Roanhorse. There were no major Latinx characters getting any kind of fair representation.
I remember getting SO excited when a major UF author was introducing an Hispanic character into her series, and at his big entrance he got one line about how he looked like he was ready to go out flamenco dancing. Which is kind of ridiculous, if you know anything about flamenco dancing. Did he walk in the room stamping his heels and shouting olé? Hilariously [or sadly] enough, a little later I was sitting on a Mayan pyramid with a fellow backpacker from Spain, and he asked me, “So how do Americans see people from Spain?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, genuinely puzzled.
“Like, do they think we run around clicking castanets, shouting olé?”
Apparently, this stereotype was a thing.
So here I am, laboring to tell a story that is steeped in real Iberian and Latinx culture, as well as many others. I’m a world traveler, and my characters hail from all around the globe. Though my books are full of action, it’s not the blood and gore of a vampire story that interests me as much as the history. What would a character be like after being born in a certain place so many years ago, but then lived through this war and that upheaval etcetera and so on throughout the years? It fascinates me. History is my bread and butter. I sell antiques for a living, so I really do take extra pains to get the history right.
Honestly, I did try querying this project, but no one seemed interested in a Spanish/Latinx flavored vampire hunter series. Or anything vampire, for that matter. The Twilight craze flooded the scene, but I have a confession. I hated Twilight. Are you kidding me? You have eternal life at your fingertips and you just keep going back to high school? Give me a break.
I’m greedy, I want it all. Give me history, give me character, give me locale, and give me a sweeping over-the-top love story for the ages that will make a telenovela blush! It seemed the only way the Dakota del Toro series was going to get out into the world was if I did it myself. Dakota del Toro #3 is in the editing stage and will release sometime next year, probably in the summer.
I have plans (half written manuscripts) for some spin off books in the series, including Eduardo the bandit’s story, and a modern pirate tale. I have also just finished the manuscript for an irreverent contemporary western romance novel that will make its way into the world one way or another. The ridiculous romance aside, I would say it’s both my love letter and an open letter to American rural culture
Find Julia at:
I would be most interested in your thoughts on this author. Read the books order, it is a great ride and I for one can’t wait till the next book.
Until next time,
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