Inspiration for Echoes in the Silence with Julie Johnstone and W*n a Book

Please join me in welcoming author Julie Johnstone to Preternatura today. Julie is a member of my Southern Magic RWA chapter, and she’s stopping by to celebrate the release of her latest book, Echoes in the Silence, which was released on December 28 by Night Shift Publishing.  Echoes in the Silence is the first book in Julie’s The Siren Saga series.
Julie Johnstone has been a voracious reader of books since she was a young girl. Her mother would tell you that as a child Julie had a rich fantasy life made up of many different make-believe friends. As an adult, Julie is one of the lucky few who can say she is living the dream by working with her passion of creating worlds from her imagination. When Julie is not writing she is chasing her two precocious children around, cooking, reading or exercising.  You can learn more about Julie by visiting her website or by following her on twitter.  
ABOUT ECHOES IN THE SILENCE:  The saying Love Kills could be the epitaph on Alyse Estes’ tombstone if only she could die. An immortal descended from a mythical Siren race, she’s fated to find her soul mate in the race of her sworn enemy, the Cordisi. As if that’s not troublesome enough, she’s also destined to bear him the daughter who will eventually kill him. Alyse knows just how inescapable the curse can be. After all, she killed her own father. But all of her attempts to make a perfectly normal, perfectly respectable, perfectly safe life for herself come tumbling down when she meets Maximillian Rheinhart. One graze of Max’s hand brings the reality of her dark past―and her darker future―rushing to the surface. He’s mysterious, alluring, unaware Alyse is a Siren…and he wants her. Death roulette is not exactly the kind of foreplay she wants with love, but Max is a force of nature. He’s everywhere―at the law firm that just hired her and the club she goes to, in her inexplicably realistic daydreams and the dark nightmares that haunt her sleep―and he’s very convincing. He’s also the Cordisi whose father is a Hunter intent on wiping out the Siren race. Despite her efforts to resist Max, he captures her heart. She has one chance to save herself and the man that she’s come to need, but to guarantee Max’s safety, she might have to lose his love or succumb to what she’s fought all her life―accepting the Siren within. 
And now, let’s hear from Julie…
Suzanne, Thanks so much for having me on your blog today! When you asked me if I would talk about how I came up with the setting for my new book Echoes in the Silence (The Siren Saga) Book One, I was really excited.

This urban fantasy/paranormal book is my first foray into writing a full length contemporary novel. In the past I have written all Regency historical novels, so it was quite different to think about the setting for this book compared to one of my Regencies, but different is good. In fact, it’s great.

I found writing a contemporary novel, especially one where I could give my characters super cool powers, to be very liberating. This book is about a woman who is a deadly Siren, but longs to be human so she can have a real chance to fall in love without the dangers that come with her powers. To me, there was never a question in my mind that this book had to be set in a city close to the water. It just so happens that after I graduated from college I took my first job in Mobile, Alabama and moved there. I lived in Mobile for six years and spent countless days at Dog River and going across the bay to Gulf Shores. So, the first part of the setting for this book was also a given. I knew it had to be in Mobile and Gulf Shores and a little bit at the river.

I know these places like the back of my hand and after years of writing books that I had to spend numerous months doing setting research, I really wanted to write about a place I know and love. Mobile is unlike anywhere I’ve ever lived. If you’ve never lived in a town that’s near the water you may not understand, but places like Mobile and Gulf Shores have a different sort of vibe. Things are slower and more relaxed, so I loved the idea of putting my Siren heroine who is very tense and in a hurry into a setting where everything is on an endless summer sort of vibe.

Toward the end of this book the setting shifts briefly toward New Orleans. How I ended up choosing New Orleans has its own little story. First, I’ll say I think New Orleans with its graveyards, swamps, voodoo shops and interesting mixed cultural is the perfect setting for a book about a Siren and the man she loves who happens to be part of an ancient race who is hunting her down. Set that aside and I chose New Orleans to be part of this book for two other reasons.

I’m an avid lover of music and so is my husband. The idea for this book was born out of a single conversation with my husband about Sirens and then me the next morning happening to listen to the song “Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns” by Mother Love Bone. I already had Sirens swirling in my head and then I heard these words of this song:

“Chloe does the tables in the French Quarter
She’s always been given
So I can’t always make her laugh
But I’m proud to say
And I won’t forget
The time spent layin’ by her side
The time spent layin’ by her side
Dreams like this must die
And a dream like this must die
Dream like this must die”

And poof! The idea for my story was there. I knew without a doubt that part of the story would end up in New Orleans, and even better, New Orleans happens to be my husband’s favorite American city, so we have spent a lot of time visiting there. Did I mention that my husband was born and raised in Mobile? So not only could I pick his brain about Mobile, but I could also pester him with questions about New Orleans and make him take me there for research for my book! It was perfect!

I hope very much that you enjoy this book.

I’d love to know if you have a song that has special memories for you. Anyone who comments and leaves their email address will be entered in a drawing to win an ebook of Echoes in the Silence.

Have a Great day!

Julie Johnstone
Thanks, Julie.  I think that most of us have songs that hold special meaning or memories for us and several of my characters and plotlines have been inspired by songs (if you don’t like Jake Warin’s storyline, blame songwriter Zachary Richard!)   I’m really looking forward to reading some of the comments here.  As Julie said, if you would like to win an ecopy of Echoes in the Silence, leave a comment and perhaps will reward you!

15 thoughts on “Inspiration for Echoes in the Silence with Julie Johnstone and W*n a Book

  1. I’ve always liked the song The Monster Mash because it’s the first song I can remember listening to on the radio when I was a kid. I was also really into horror movies at the time.

  2. Congrats Julie on the new release! It sounds intriguing 🙂 Ummm… I’m not particularly attached to any particular song, really truly. Definitely depends on my mood what I want to listen too, but there’s no song that if I hear it, it brings back memories. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Erin! I have so many songs that bring back memories of certain times, so I’m always amazed when people say they don’t have that. Maybe a book or a movie?

  3. Flirting With Disaster. That album always brings back memories of trips to the beach. We wore out an 8track and later a cassette.

  4. Some of my favorite songs to listen to are those instrumental tracks over nature sounds. I like listening to piano or guitar over ocean waves/rain/thunder etc.

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

  5. I have always enjoyed the music from the movie, Dirty Dancing. It reminds me of a simpler, less hectic time.

  6. My favorite song is Have You Ever Seen the Rain. The song brings certain memories to me. Thanks for the giveaway.


  7. There are a lot of songs that bring to mind memories of when I listened to them with certain people or in certain situations. Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers makes me think of cruising around town in high school.

  8. I have so many songs with memories that it’s hard to choose! I was in choir in school as was my husband, and one of our best friends is a karaoke DJ so music is a big part of our lives! One of my happiest memories is our entire wedding party singing Don’t Stop Believing (whatup cliche!) at our wedding (our friend brought his karaoke equipment for us, even though he was in the wedding party–what an amazing friend!).

    My email is ostipow at