Friday, March 21, 2014


Julie Musil
304 pp.
Ages 12 - 17

Manny O'Donnell revels in his status at the top of his high school food chain. He and his friends party in the mountains on a blustery night, sharing liquor and lame ghost stories around a campfire. The next morning, as a wild fire rages in those same mountains, Manny experiences doubt. He was the last of the drunken crew to leave the cave, and he's uncertain if he extinguished the flames. Within hours, he becomes the number one arson suspect.

Santa Ana winds + matches = disaster. You'd think he would've learned that the first time he started a fire.

As he evades a determined arson investigator, Manny, a modern-day Scrooge, is visited by ghosts of the past, present, and future. He's forced to witness the fate of his inadvertent victims, including Abigail, the scarred beauty who softens his heart. Manny must choose between turning around his callous, self-centered attitude, or protecting his own skin at the expense of anyone who gets in his way.


1.   Give us a quick run down of The Boy Who Love Fire.

Manny, a modern teen Scrooge, faces 3 ghosts as he outruns arson charges, falls for his fire victim, & battles for redemption.

I’d classify it as “contemporary with a splash of ghosts.”

2.   What inspired you to write this story?

In 2007 Santa Ana winds fueled a wild fire that surrounded our house then jumped to the next road, destroying three other homes. Our house was spared. That event had a profound impact on me. I wondered, Who started the fire? If it was a young boy, does he have any idea how many lives were changed? That’s what gave me the initial “spark” for The Boy Who Loved Fire.

3.   The cover is amazing! Can you describe your publishing process and why you decided to go indie?

Thank you! I adore my cover, and the process was so much fun. If anyone wants more information about cover design, check out my blog post Cover Design 101: Interview with J. Allen Fielder.

Why did I decide to go indie? Frustratingly close calls. My agent submitted to some really fine publishing houses. We came so close with a couple of editors. After receiving a tough rejection, I read this post by Susan Kaye Quinn. By the time I finished the last sentence, I was sooo excited. I knew I’d indie publish. I had a wonderful conversation with my agent, hired a freelance editor and cover designer, and became a one woman learning machine. Susan Kaye Quinn’s for writers section of her blog is a life-saving resource. If someone out there is even thinking about indie publishing, I’d recommend they start there.

4.   What books/authors have inspired you along the way?

Gosh, so many. I love the writing styles of Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, and Kristin Hannah. My bio says I love stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Each of these authors wrote stories that still linger with me today.

I’ve become a Hugh Howey fangirl. Not only because I love his WOOL series, which I do. I’m also inspired by him as a writer. If you’re ever feeling low about your own writing journey, check out my post Are you the Tiger Woods of Publishing? Does it matter? That post was inspired by Hugh Howey and his approach to writing and publishing.

5.   What is your favorite or least favorite book-to-movie adaptation and why?

My favorite movie adaptation was The Help. Although there was so much left on the editing floor, they did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life. That’s one of my favorite books. I wish every sumptuous detail could’ve made it to the big screen.

6.  What's next for you ?

My next book! I’m busy working on another YA contemporary novel. Hopefully it’ll be ready by summer. Stay tuned :)


  1. Thanks for the fun interview, Laurisa!

  2. I'm continually in awe of your indie journey, Julie. Such an inspiration. BWLF is a story that NEEDED to be out there. Brava to you!