When Julian Winters reflects on how he has grown as a writer since his award-winning debut, Running With Lions (Interlude Press, 2018), he acknowledges both personal and professional improvements. One of the challenges he initially faced when penning his sophomore novel, How to Be Remy Cameron, released earlier this month by the same parent publisher, were his doubts about telling a story in the first-person.
“Running With Lions, I wrote in third-person, which I’ve always done,” the novelist tells So Booking Cool. “With all fan-fiction, all writing, I always wrote in third-person. And Remy Cameron was the first one I wrote in first-person, and it was just like ‘I cannot do this, this is not normal, I have a routine.’ It was great to break out of routine and see I can do something different, and I loved it. I absolutely loved being that deep inside a character’s brain and heart and putting that on page.”
In its early entry into the world, How to be Remy Cameron has already been widely praised in the YA community. It captures the familiarity of walking the path to self-discovery and resonantly shows the complications that preconceived notions can inflict. The heart and soul of the novel, Winter says, is to disregard labels. Don’t let people tell you who you are or who they think you are. You are the author of your character and story, no pun intended.
Running With Lions won two Benjamin Franklin Awards for Best Teen Fiction and Best Small Format Cover Design by the Independent Book Publishers Association. The book, also LGBTQ themed, is a coming-of-age tale about a high school athlete who unexpectedly falls for his former-friend-turned-teammate, as well as other challenges that adolescents experience.
Listen to part one of our interview to learn about how Remy Cameron is personal to Winters, his thoughts on “faking it until you make it,” the wisdom he received from his agent and editor, how he designed Remy as a character, how fan-fiction changed his life, how music helps him defeat writer’s block, why his next book was the easiest to write, and more!