Caitlyn always thought she was just your average small-town waitress, but she’s anything but average. Suffering from frequent headaches and vivid daydreams, her oddities mask a secret hidden deep within her mind—one that could defeat even the cleverest of psychics.
When a mysterious circus arrives in town, Caitlyn is immediately drawn to it. While visiting the hypnotic show, she meets a seer who warns her of a gruesome future and urges her to stay away. But soon, Caitlyn finds herself ensnared in the show and the Ringmaster himself.
Recognizing Caitlyn’s powers for what they are, and believing they are the ones he has been searching for, the Ringmaster is determined to claim them as his own. Trapped within the circus and the Ringmaster’s devious grip, Caitlyn realizes that to escape the seer’s foretold fate, her only choice is to fight. Banding together with Bevier, an imprisoned psychic, Meg, an eccentric seamstress, and Daniel, a handsome magician, Caitlyn falls into the Psychic Realm to thwart the Ringmaster and stop the show before they succumb to his control and are trapped forever in his spectacle of souls.
Author Interview with Jessica Julien:
How did you come up with the idea for A Spectacle of Souls?
I came up with the idea on one of the many nights we were watching The Greatest Showman, and I wondered what the circus would be like if it were filled with different kinds of magic. I felt like ‘magic’ was too expected though and overused but the idea of telekinesis, real fortune tellers, hypnosis, and more would be really exciting. We also happened to be watching Supernatural a few nights later, where they dive into an alternate world, and the two ideas kind of intermingled.
When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?
I’m going to give one of those cheesy answers that I’ve always loved to tell stories and write, haha. It is 100% true though; I’ve always been a storyteller. My mom jokes that I would come home from school ready to tell my family the story of my day and she certainly isn’t wrong! It’s just how I view the world! I’m a daydreamer and often find myself awkwardly watching people because I’m thinking of how to use their movements or gestures in different stories or which kind of magical creature I would make them into…yeah, I’m that person.
What inspired you to write A Spectacle of Souls?
Whenever I have a really exciting (or at least I think is exciting!) and new idea, I always sit down and write out everything I can possibly think of; a brain dump if you will. Once I have the ideas and thoughts down then I take the concept to my BFF, Julie, and I pitch it to her. Julie is literally the most encouraging person in the universe, but she is my BFF and completely honest with me too, so when she gushes or reaches the same level of enthusiasm as I do, I know it’s worth my time! She was one of the main people who really help inspire me to write the story and get the words out.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? Why?
If I had to pick one it would be Vanessa. She is the MC’s best friend who is flirty, sassy, and not afraid to be who she is. I think she was my favorite to write because I had a friend just like her in college that I was constantly rolling my eyes at and telling her to “just stop” as Caitlyn often does to Vanessa.
What genre do you consider to be your favorite to write in?
YA is easily my favorite and where I am most comfortable, however, it is often a bit darker and weighted (especially in my newest project) because I love the dark and twisty things! Some of my newer projects really focus on emotions and reactions we have to certain events so they’re heavy and lingering.
Have you based any of your characters on real-life people?
In A Spectacle of Souls, no one is based on anyone in particular. I pulled quirks or inspiration from people around me and some specific features from actors or actresses but no one in particular. I love to cast my characters before getting too deep into the story though to help ensure I’m keeping their “looks” consistent. Book 2 will have a character who is based on a real-life person though but I’m not spoiling it yet!
What are you currently working on?
I am actually juggling a few projects currently! Three Drops of Blood is a dark Snow White retelling with vampires and I’m almost ready to get beta readers for it. Memoirs of a Reaper, my after-life series featuring the life of a reaper trying to move into Heaven or Hell, is growing dusty as it awaits my post-beta rewrites. I’ve also drafted an entire anthology of fairytale retellings featuring themes of major emotional struggles and overcoming illnesses and a three-part short story sequence featuring each son of Hypnos; Morpheus, Phobetor, and Phantasus. Let’s just say there is an entire folder of projects waiting to be finished!
What authors and books have influenced you?
Ellen Hopkins, Gena Showalter, P.C Cast, Edgar Allan Poe, and others have all been major influences in my writing. I would be lying if I said the Harry Potter series was not influential in my writing as it was a story I grew up with and a place I found comfort in times of need and even though there is a lot of controversy about the author right now, the story and the escape of going to Hogwarts will always be a major influence in my life.
What goal would you want to achieve from your writing and/or book?
Other than wanting people to love them as much as I do it would be that people find an escape with my words. I always used books as a way to find a place where I could truly place myself in the company of its characters or setting and immerse myself in it completely to get away from whatever is going on in the universe at the time. I hope someone can feel the same way with at least one of my books.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would tell other writers that there is no “right way” to write and publish your book. Every story needs to be told in its own unique way and even if you get rejections from agents or publishing houses that it just means you haven’t found the perfect home for your book yet. Do not give up! People need your stories; sometimes it just takes a little extra digging and love to find them.
Born in the picturesque state of Washington, Jessica Julien is the marketing director of a boutique publishing company, a stay at home mom, wife, and wanderluster. When not drafting marketing plans or doing laundry, she spends her time writing young adult and new adult novels focused on the paranormal and supernatural inspired by her love of all things dark and twisty. With her vivacious imagination, witty personality, and ability to bring sarcasm to a new level Jessica creates unique worlds and characters that readers can’t help but hate to love and love to hate.
In her free time, Jessica can be found enjoying a cup of dark roasted coffee while snuggling under a blanket with a good book. When the weather is right she hops in the car with her husband, son, and dogs to road trip across the country where she delights in eating red vines, drinking iced lattes, and singing loudly in the passenger seat.
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