Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with author Julia Benally. Julia is an up-and-coming author who focuses on the horror/thriller genre. She has had many shorter pieces published in a variety of places, and she recently published her debut novel, Pariah, which is available on AMAZON! Check out Julia’s WEBSITE to read more of her writings.
What drew you into the horror/thriller genre?
Since I was little, I had been exposed to horror and thriller together. I loved the excitement that they both offered, and when mixed together, I found that, at least to me, they enhanced one another. I wasn’t sure I could write anything thriller, I thought that I was strictly horror, but when a reader classified one of my pieces as horror-thriller, I started to wonder.
Do you think that your Native American heritage has influenced your writings? How so?
At first I had no idea if my heritage did or not, because it’s just been a part of me. Then in an interview a few years ago with Daniel Foytik of The Wicked Library Podcast, he asked me about putting my heritage into my story. I was totally confused and just said, “I do?” He mentioned my nods to respecting elders and to the importance of family. I thought about it, and began looking into my stories, and I found those themes running throughout, some not so much as others, but there it was. I had thought I had just been taking superstitions and ghosts from the reservation as a part of my storytelling. So I’m pretty sure it’s meshed into everything I do.
You have a nice, long list of published works (congratulations on all your success!). Do you have a personal favorite piece that you’ve written?
Thank you! I had fun writing every one of them. I have several favorites, one of them being “Tiger,” because I absolutely love tigers. I had no idea what I wanted to write about one day, and then I saw a quote that said to write what I love. And I said to myself, “I love tigers!” I love to hunt, and sometimes while I was hunting, I would wonder what I would do if I did run into something out in the woods that didn’t belong there. There’s a man in a town several miles away who does own tigers, and I wondered what would happen if they ever got out. So “Tiger” came to me, and is one of my longest pieces.
Compared to other demographics, there is a under-representation of Native American authors. What made you pursue a career as an author?
When my middle school teacher made us finish a story for her English class, I absolutely fell in love with story-telling, because I found that telling a story was playing with words, and not so much “writing” in the boring sense. My imagination needed an outlet. Writing turned into my air. I had to write to get through the day. I had to write to be happy. I would explode if I didn’t write, and I knew that if I did something that didn’t involve writing, I would die inside.
Where do you hope to be in your writing career 5 years from now?
In five years, I hope to still be writing for my own enjoyment, and not having to write what other people want me to. My first book “Pariahs” has come out, and I hope to have the second and third books to it out in the next five years. I also hope my writing and story-telling improve so that I can be lauded as a great author.