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Q&A | Julie True Kingsley


Julie True Kingsley

Julie True Kingsley, is the co-founder of The Manuscript Academy, an online writing community, and co-hosts their official podcast. She has also taught from preschool to grad school and everything in-between. A life-long Mainer, Julie enjoys all aspects of the state whether it be body surfing at Higgins Beach, noshing on BBQ in Monson, or zipping down the carriage trails in Acadia. She lives in South Portland with her husband, Eric, and their rescue dog, Lulu. She is the mother of two adventurers, Jack and Rachel, who keep her on the edge of her seat as they learn to climb their own mountains. 



We asked her some questions about writing her young adult novel The Space Between You and Me, what she loves most about Maine, and who she'd cast in a film version of her book.


What part of The Space Between You and Me was your favorite to write?


The relationships were so much fun. Naturally, the connection between Clem and Rico was first and foremost. They are a likely and unlikely pair and playing off the nuances of their relationship was satisfying. I also think the secondary characters of The Space Between You and Me made the world feel alive. I adore that Clem has such a sweet relationship with her guncle, Johnny, and how that played out in the third act. Pearson, Seb, and Renee represented the different versions of small-town living, which allows the reader to understand Clem’s stakes in different ways. A blast to write.


Were there any real-life Maine places that inspired the novel?


Yes, of course! So many spots.


Clem’s farm is built directly from the memory of my grandparent’s house in Windham, Maine. Every summer, my grandfather would invite us to his garden where we’d inspect the height of the corn, pluck a new carrot from the ground, or fill a bag of string beans for a Maine supper. My French nana’s focus was the flowers, just like Clem’s grandmother.


Way back, I was a berry picker on a farm in Scarborough, Maine. I was an awful picker, but it was a true experience. I’ll never forget the feeling of the sun on my face, the cramping of my legs as I tried to fill a tray as quickly as possible, all while enjoying the amazing fragrance of the berries on the vine.


The setting is an imaginary town near Cherryfield, Maine, where the blueberry barrens live. If

you get a chance, go! It’s beautiful country. I adore it.


You are a longtime educator and writing teacher with The Manuscript Academy, what is your go-to advice for writers?


Writing is a solitary endeavor. The first thing you must do is to find your people. In my opinion, knowing other writers is a common denominator of success. I’m biased but listen to publishing podcasts and going to conferences can jump-start the process. Learn how publishing folks—not only agents and editors, but also the marketing and business-minded people think—it’ll help you with every stage of the process. It’s cliché, but read, read, read.


If The Space Between You and Me were made into a movie, what would your dream cast be?


I gave this a great deal of thought while writing--not who might play a part—but focusing on creating characters an actor would love to play. Hollywood is a fickle place. Having characters with a little grit can make all the difference.


That being said, if I were to cast with any power, I could see Michael Cimino as Rico (Love, Victor/Never Have I Ever). Odeya Rush (Let It Snow/Dangerous Waters) would be a super

Clem.


What do you hope readers take away from your novel?


The Space Between You and Me is essentially a book about a bunch of teens, with all the typical teens wants and needs, constricted by the smallest of geography. But it’s the teens whose stakes are unlike the others that I’d love to the focus to be on. Eighteen is a magic number in our country—Poof! You’re an adult!—but are you really? There is so much more we could do as a country to support teens during this time. Maybe somehow, this could start a conversation.


 

the space between you and me

For Clem, summers are for Maine—for wandering the blueberry barrens, helping her grandmother on the farm, and stargazing with her parents. But her grandmother is gone, she hasn’t talked to her mom in months, and her dad is devoted to the family business. Now, all Clem wants to think about is a dance audition that could get her into Juilliard. She doesn’t need another distraction. Then she meets Rico. He’s nothing like the boys back home in LA or the boys in Maine, either. His secrets rival her own and as they grow closer, she must confront the hidden realities of places she thought she knew. In Julie True Kingsley’s debut novel, Clem and Rico’s worlds are threatening to tear them apart. Can they bridge the space between them before summer is just a memory?







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