This dynamic woman is a writer of global fiction pinned in real world issues. Her debut novel, Backshadow, crosses continents and cultures to explore difficult circumstances that touch the lives of so very many women in modern society. Being bold enough to speak out and write about un-pretty things and things that make her and others feel uncomfortable, is exactly what makes the novel so compelling. Meet Julie Mann.
I write about these things both because I am a woman and because I am a mother of daughters. I am currently at work on a second novel about the billion dollar human trafficking industry.
What ignited the spark in you to live a life with zest?
People talk about an ‘Aha!’ moment, an epiphany, something that comes along and either happens to you or close enough to you that it rattles your world. For me, it was a motor vehicle accident. There is all kinds of things I could point to in life that could’ve or likely would have had a similar impact. Maybe it was just a matter of timing. Maybe I just needed a little push. But it shook me. Gave me a sobering sense of mortality, not to be morbid, but it made me reevaluate who I was, who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to make of my life.
How do I generate new ideas?
I’m a marketing person by trade, so I’ve always been heavily reliant on creativity. Author Jodi Picoult said she draws her inspiration from the things that keep her up at night. I would say the same thing is true of me. It’s good to know, at least, when I’m lying staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, that something interesting just might come of it.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
I prefer to think of fear as a challenge, to give it a bit of a positive motivational rebranding spin. After my youngest was born, I struggled with depression and anxiety issues. To the outside world, it is a well-camouflaged part of me, but inside it remains a daily battle. It is a vulnerability that affects so very many of us. My approach is this: every day I try and do one thing that scares me. I try and think of these as little steps, and to remind myself that even the littlest step can move us forward on our journey.
How do you define success and what is the best way to achieve long-term success?
My internal sense of success comes from believing that what I do is contributing to a safer and more equitable future for women in the world. I write to shed light on some uncomfortable truths about issues affecting women. In particular, I would say that my sense of achievement comes from working to inspire awareness, understanding and, hopefully, empathy. To me, passion is the secret ingredient for long-term success. If I can approach each day impassioned by the idea that what I’m doing might help even one woman to feel less alone in her circumstances—that’s my success. That’s what I hold on to.
What advice do you have for other women looking to take a big step in their lives?
Writer and philosopher Johann von Goethe wrote, ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.’ Live your dreams. Gather your tribe—family, friends, loved ones—and begin. Life is fleeting; it moves so terribly fast. Use it well. Use it fully. There is no better time than now to begin.
WHO IS JULIE MANN?
I’m a native of beautiful Vancouver, and a reluctant pluviophile. I am married, a mom to three children, and have various pets. I don’t exercise enough, and eat fewer leafy greens than I should. I am easily—so very easily—frustrated by technology. I love music and dance, champagne and chocolate. When I have half a chance, I like to relax by reading and digging in the dirt.