Julie Oleszek grew up the ninth child of ten in Woodridge, Illinois in the 1970s. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Education from Northern Illinois University and later earned a master’s degree in Education from National-Louis University. When not busy writing, Julie enjoys teaching elementary students in Naperville, Illinois where she has taught for 18 years. She also loves to travel to the west coast and host family parties, especially during the holiday season. Julie and her husband live in Batavia. The Fifth Floor is her debut novel. Visit her website: JulieOleszek.com.
We asked her some questions.
How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
I have always loved writing. I wrote poems when I was very young. Most of all I kept journals and diaries that I still have and cherish today. When I was in the seventh grade, my teacher Mrs. Collins called me a talented writer after writing a fiction piece about the Red Wood Forest. This was incredibly encouraging because I was a very quiet child and often hid my writing away from others, afraid that it wasn’t good enough. I remember a sense of pride bubbling up inside me when Mrs. Collins chose my piece to read aloud to the class. This one particular event has never left my mind.
Describe your writing process.
I have a regimented schedule. I write Tues-Friday 8:30-3:30 and Saturdays from 8:30-11:30 when I am writing the first draft of my novels. Revising, rewriting, marketing, etc. happen at all times of the day and any day of the week. However, I do try to start every day at 8:30. My favorite time is when I am in my novel mindset….writing away. I set a timer every hour so I don’t forget to get up and move about. As for outlines, I never had an outline for my first novel, The Fifth Floor. My second novel is completely drafted. I have it sprawled out on several pieces of 8½ x 11 paper taped together. I wouldn’t be able to write my story without referring to it several times a day. Also, my second novel is taking more research than my first novel. I will soon travel to New York for more detailed information for the story.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
It’s my debut novel.
What are you working on now?
I will be featured in West Suburban Living in the April issue. I will be presenting my novel, The Fifth Floor and signing copies at Cafe K’TiZo in Wheaton on April 16 at 7PM. The advertisement posters that will be on my website and around the town of Wheaton are designed by art students from WNHS. The art teacher and I worked together to have student work part of the launch. I also have a book signing at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville on May 1st at 7PM.