Deadly Ever After

Ellie Di Julio Doesn’t Pull Punches

TODAY’S BREW: Nantucket Something or Other Breakfast Blend

By Julie

I’m taking a breather from my war on the acceptance of antiheroines, and letting someone else talk today. It won’t last. Today you get to hear the brutal and distressing honesty of my good friend Ellie Di Julio, author of THE TRANSMIGRATION OF CORA RILEY and it’s spanking new sequel, SWORD OF SOULS.

You’ve said that SWORD OF SOULS has been your hardest novel to write. Tell us a little about what troubled you. *expects you to lie down on leather couch*

Okay, honesty time.

I have never hated a book like I’ve hated this one. It wasn’t just a complicated storyline or an uncooperative muse; it was real existential pain. Between the explosion in my personal life, this being my first true sequel, being away from home for two months, the grand failure of Cora Riley’s launch, and general author-growing pains, I felt like a hack. I nearly quit three times. I cried so much. If it was so hard, maybe I wasn’t cut out to write novels. If it was so hard, maybe there was something wrong with me. I just couldn’t fathom how to continue.

Thank God for Stephen Blackmoore and Karina Cooper, though. I didn’t know either of them before I started writing Sword of Souls, but I stalked them (in a good way) on Twitter long enough that we got to know each other. They talked me down from so many trees, shared my pain, encouraged me, and kicked my ass. Having them to run to when I was in writerly crisis and needed mentorship was/is incredible, and I’m deeply grateful to both of them.


She’s more confident in herself. Where she started as this unsure, distressed girl in Cora Riley, Sword of Souls has her finding her feet, learning what she’s truly capable of, and coming to terms with her powers and their ramifications. She’s always had that tenacity and strength, but only now that she’s out of her small town and able to make real change in the world is it coming to the surface where she can use it.

Sequels are hard, yo. If you could give a word of advice to new authors writing sequels, what would you say?


Uh… I mean…

Make sure you know your story. Like, re-read the previous book(s) to reacquaint yourself. You probably think you’ve got all the details stored up in your memory banks, but you don’t – not like your readers do. As a writer, you’re thinking ahead all the time, not behind. Having a “plot bible” or running organization system for your characters, events, settings, and storylines is invaluable and of prime importance when doing a multi-book series. I sure wish I had one…

I’ll do to you what you did to me. What’s the message in this book? Has it changed since the first FORGOTTEN RELICS novel?

Joke’s on you: I have an answer!

Sword of Souls is all about not letting your past define you. Jack confronts the woman who enchanted and enslaved him as a young man; Cora learns her true heritage, and it’s not awesome; Sofi has to release her best friend’s death. Everyone’s got skeletons in their closet, and if you let them keep their bony fingers around your wrists, you’ll never be able to move forward.

As for how it differs from Cora Riley, I’m not sure it does (or should) by much. That book’s message was essentially “you’re special, you just need to find out how,” but every book in this series has an underlying theme of hope – you can overcome, you will make a difference, you are stronger than you think.

Aw, man, I made myself all mushy. Excuse me, I have something in my eye…


Second chance at life? Check.

a-rare magic powers? Check.

BadUltrass new job? Check.

Saved world from evil goddess? Not so check.

Cora Riley assumed when she joined the FBI’s Supernatural Cases Division that she’d be dismantling Otherworld treachery alongside Jack Alexander, the storied Agent 97 who guided her through the underworld. Instead, she’s filing reports for Sofi Strella, a smart-mouthed agent ten years her junior.

When Jack finally does make contact, it’s not for sidestepper training, a quiet drink, or even an apology; it’s to investigate a magical narcotic that’s boosting supernatural belief to dangerous levels.

The case leads to the realm of Faerie, where Jack encounters an old flame and an even older enemy, both demanding his allegiance. As he battles the entanglements of his past, Cora continues the mission, ultimately facing the eerily-familiar Queen Mab, who wields a legendary blade in the name of Eris, the mad goddess of chaos.

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3 thoughts on “Ellie Di Julio Doesn’t Pull Punches

  1. Reblogged this on C.A.Liccardi Author and commented:
    Reblogging, because – Awesome!

  2. Ack. I think my comment went to spam. I’m not a spammer. Pinky promise! Here’s what I tried to say…

    GREAT interview! I loved the honesty and the humor there, and how great that Ellie persevered despite all the issues. (Also, note to self: never, ever write a sequel.) Oh, and I love the premise, too! Sounds so fun!

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