Julie Cantrell is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, a debut novel that earned both a Christy Book of the Year and the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Its sequel, When Mountains Move, was named a Best Read by LifeWay, was shortlisted for several awards, and won the 2014 ACFW Carol Award for Historical Fiction.
Julie is a columnist for the Huffington Post, has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review, and is the recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She is also a certified speech-language pathologist in the public schools of Oxford, Mississippi.
She and her family reside in the Oxford area.
Your third novel, The Feathered Bone, was released in January (HarperCollins). In it, you address several difficult issues. What did you learn by writing about such topics?
I learned the importance of talking openly about issues like human trafficking, teen suicide, and domestic violence. It’s true, they are difficult to examine. It’s not pretty stuff. But by ignoring the reality of what is happening around us, we are — in a sense — allowing it to happen.
It’s time we examine the impact our choices have on others, particularly how our choices affect the most vulnerable among us. We tend to convince ourselves that when we act as a group (a business, a political party, a government, a society, etc.) we are not personally responsible for those actions. We remove our own accountability. We convince ourselves we can’t change things because we use terms like they and them instead of we and us.