Julia-Lee-Bio-PicI was born Julia Nichole Lewis in Brookfield, Wisconsin on May 27, 1988, and grew up in a small town about twenty miles outside of Milwaukee. As the fourth of five children with a huge extended family, life was fun, chaotic, and loud, but never boring. Descendants of German, Irish, Scottish, and Danish immigrants, my family has always identified most with our Celtic heritage. Descending from King Robert the Bruce’s brother, my family belongs to the clan Bruce. Interest in all things Irish and Scottish began at a very early age—I wanted to learn everything from our family history to haggis to speaking the Gaelic.

I come from a family of storytellers and readers, so it was no surprise that I started writing my first stories in kindergarten. My very first book had the tantalizing title Animal Day, and followed the epic story of a young girl who got to dress up as a cat for a whole day. Sadly, this heartwarming tale has never been published. At the age of ten I wrote a forty-page book (complete with illustrations) and sent a hand-written query letter to Scholastic, informing them that I was the next big thing. Though Scholastic actually replied to my letter, they declined to have the honor of publishing Trapped in Merlin’s Time. I was 0 for 2, but I kept writing. I wrote every chance I got—short stories, very bad poetry, diary entries—and read voraciously.

Writing was not my original life dream, however. Since I can remember, I wanted to be a Jedi Knight. My sister, Catherine, and I would take turns throwing rocks at each other blindfolded, trying to use the force to block the rocks with a stick. It was rough, but I was determined to bring balance to the Force. After Jedi, Hogwarts was next on my list. I wanted to be a Hufflepuff and study Herbology. Tragically, I did not get a letter by owl on my eleventh birthday.

Since Hogwarts was out of the question, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and decided to major in English education with a minor in Theatre education. College is where two huge events happened in my life: I won first place for prose in the university’s writing competition, and I met the love of my life, Shane. We met in our Introduction to Theatre class and started dating November of our freshman year. On July 10, 2010 we were married and the honeymoon has never ended!

I was lucky enough to get a position teaching English and Theatre at Badger High School in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin that same year. I had the fantastic job of teaching the most wonderful group of young actors, in addition to directing plays and building the sets. I was also thrilled to be able to teach a Shakespeare class, one of my absolute passions.

In May of 2011, Shane (a journalist) was offered a reporting job in northern Minnesota. We thought, “How cold can it be?” We packed up our cheese heads and moved to Brainerd, Minnesota. At that time, it had been a while since I’d written anything. I had an idea for a novel, so I finally decided to take the time and write it. It took a year to write the entire first draft, and I couldn’t have done it without the great support network of family and friends who always believed in me. Never once did Shane suggest I get a real job and give up on writing. He, along with so many others, cheered me on and kept me motivated.

Whenever I can, I am writing and working on my next book. When I’m not writing, I’m reading. I also love to practice yoga (I am a yoga fanatic! It really helps me center my thoughts and focus when I’m feeling stuck), cook (I’m a foodie who loves to cook healthy, tasty meals for friends and family), tend to my organic garden, and cheer myself hoarse during Packer games. I am the proud aunt of five amazing nieces who I love to pieces, one nephew, and more on the way! I am the aunt who always gives books for presents, and I am proud to say that my nieces are little bookworms, especially my eldest niece, Nikki. She can read a book in a matter of hours, and is growing into quite a talented writer herself.

That’s me so far! Thanks for checking out my website!