Interview with Julie Halpern

published 6 November 2009
written by Karo

Back in August, we heard about a book called Into The Wild Nerd Yonder, with its major character having a crush on Rupert Grint. Intrigued, of course, as to why author Julie Halpern, who works as a writer and librarian, would choose Rupert as Jessie’s crush in the book, we were happy when Julie agreed to an interview with us.

For further information on Julie Halpern and her books, check her official website. Make sure to take a look at her blog…
And you can find our own review (originally published on Grintastic) here.
The pictures below are of a Peeps diorama of the Weasley family that Julie made at work. The picture above is of Julie and the Ron poster behind her desk at work.

An now: Our interview with Julie! How did you become a writer?
Julie: I think I’ve always been a writer of some sort, I just didn’t know that writing in diaries and creating stories for my friends while growing up would translate into being an actual author. Several years ago, I decided to try writing a novel based on my experiences in high school. It was the first time I had ever written anything that long, and it luckily worked! That turned into my first novel for teens, GET WELL SOON. Since you love to travel, what was the place that has impressed you the most?
Julie: I absolutely love Australia. I lived there and traveled around for six months. It’s such a beautiful country filled with genuine people. I would love to go back there some day with my family, maybe to live there for a year as an author, hanging out with other Australian authors. But I also love road tripping around the United States. I could do that every summer for the rest of my life, and I’d be happy. Where do you get the inspiration for your books?
Julie: Mostly from my own past. INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER grew from the idea that I was always the sidekick growing up, until I found a great group of friends that didn’t need to be so in the spotlight. I usually just try to think of people or funny situations that have stuck around in my brain. I figure, if they’re memories worth retaining for this long, then maybe someone else would think they were entertaining, too. The characters in INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER are typical teens. Since you work in a school library, did any of the characters get influenced by the teens you noticed at work?
Julie: Not really. They were more influenced by people I grew up with. I think I’m too close to my students now to really write about any of them. Maybe once they graduate and move on, they’ll wind up in some of my books. Jessie reads/listens to a lot of audiobooks. Are the books favourites of yours?
Julie: I included my favorite audiobooks in NERD. I have a really long commute to work, so I am well versed in audiobooks. Someday I’d love to listen to all of the Harry Potter ones in a row, but I’ve only listened to random ones and loved them. Maybe my family can listen when my daughter gets older and we’re on one of our road trips. There’s an audiobook for GET WELL SOON, published by Listening Library, but not one yet for INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER. I’m still hoping. Why did you decide that Jessie were to have a crush on Rupert Grint?
Julie: I wanted her bedroom to be believable, and I always had tons of pictures on my walls in high school. Most of them were of bands, but I’m sure I had some movie stars, too. I am quite the fan of Rupert, and I thought it would be fun for my character, Jessie, to like him, too. I thought he would be a good choice, since the Harry Potter movies will be popular for a long time and it wouldn’t make the book feel dated. Plus, I think Rupert is a much cooler person to be a fan of than so many young stars of today. I think Jessie (the main character in NERD) would like that he wears Converse, drives an ice cream truck, and is just an all around pleasant guy. Did you read the Harry-Potter books (or listened to the audiobooks) before watching the films? Did you read them due to your job? Do you think you would have become interested in Harry Potter if you were not working with childrens’ books?
Julie: I read The Sorcerer’s Stone when it first came out because my mom read a review of it where they compared it Roald Dahl’s books. I was a big fan of Roald Dahl, so I read it. After that, I read all of them because I loved the stories and characters. I work in a school library, and the most annoying thing that happened is when one of my students (who I still refer to as “She Who Must Not Be Named) gave away the ending to Half-Blood Prince. That made me so paranoid about reading the last book, so I read it as fast as I possibly could so no one would give away the ending. But, obviously, I am also a huge fan of the films, as well. My husband hasn’t read the books, so it’s fun for me to see the movies with him and watch him learn about things that I already knew. And to answer your last question, I’m certain I would read the books even if I didn’t work in a library or write books. They are soooo good! How and when did you “discover” Rupert, and when did you become a fan?
Julie: I always thought he was adorable as a little kid in the early films, and Ron Weasley is such an endearing character. Then, as Ron and Rupert grew up, it was like, hey, he’s pretty cute, too! I like how Rupert seems so much like Ron Weasley and even admits to that in interviews. I think it makes the Harry Potter world seem more real, in some ways. If INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER were to be made into a film and Rupert were to play one of the characters, whom would you want him to play, and why?
Julie: I love this question! I’m torn between Barrett, the really cool, sweet, sympathetic older brother, or Henry, the dorky love interest. I’d love to know which character Rupert would choose! Are you already planning or working on another book?
Julie: I am working on my third novel for teens right now, about a couple of friends on a road trip. It should be out in fall of 2011. I think I will have to include a nod to Rupert in that one as well, seeing as how I’ve been given such an amazing reception by Rupert fans. Thanks, guys!

Thank you very much, Julie, for taking the time and for the pictures!

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