Hello and welcome to my home on the web!
I’m Julie, and I write books for teens and kids. Please feel free to check out my blog, book descriptions, and FAQ for more about me and what I write, or go to my Contact Page for ways to reach me and/or my agent.
Julie C. Dao is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.
Julie C. Dao fell in love with storytelling at age eight, when she discovered Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, and the Choose Your Own Adventure books. She reluctantly studied medicine in college at her parents’ insistence, but came to realize that blood and needles were her Kryptonite (not so convenient for a doctor). By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about far-off lands and bold heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams. She considers writing to be her most useful skill, seeing as her other talents include: being the slowest eater on Earth, winning over other people’s cranky pets in true Disney princess fashion, and reciting Lord of the Rings movie quotes on command.
Julie’s upper middle-grade fantasy, PUMPKIN PATCH PRINCESS, became a Wattpad Featured Story and acquired over a quarter of a million views within a year of being published online. One of her earlier books is an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards quarterfinalist, and the novel with which she signed her agent swept several online contests.
FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS is her sixth completed manuscript and landed a six-figure, three-book deal after many long years of working toward publication. Her writing endeavors are well documented on her blog and have made her determined to help others with the same dream. When she’s not making up stories, she’s reminiscing about her travels in Paris, London, and Ireland, and dreaming about her next destination (hopefully Japan or New Zealand!). Julie lives, works, and writes in New England.
Julie is represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.
What’s the absolute best vacation you can imagine?
I would love to go on a vacation where I can 1) eat lots of delicious new foods I haven’t tried before, 2) go off the beaten path and learn about how the locals live, and 3) have at least a little quiet time all to myself to write, explore, or think!
Three favorite foods?
My mom makes amazing Vietnamese food, so my #1 would be anything she made. I also love hot soup (any kind!) and chocolate chip cookies.
Where would you go in a time travel machine? Would you stay?
I’ve always been fascinated with Belle Époque Paris. ELEGY, a YA Gothic suspense novel I wrote in 2012, was partially set there during the creation of many great masterpieces of music and art. I probably wouldn’t stay, though. I’m way too dependent on modern conveniences, like air-conditioning and Wi-Fi!
Which is your Hogwarts house? What is your Patronus?
I’m mostly Hufflepuff with bits of Ravenclaw (a Huffleclaw?), but the Pottermore Sorting Hat put me in Gryffindor. Clearly it has never seen me encounter spiders. The Patronus quiz gave me a bay mare, which I think 12-year-old, horse-crazy me would appreciate!
What do you most regret and wish you could re-do?
I would do college over. This time, I would major in something I enjoyed (English literature! Creative writing!) and I would make sure to have fun, instead of studying all the time. I also had a horrible roommate one year, so if I could do it over, I’d give her a piece of my mind and move the heck out.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs. If I could adopt all of the dogs in the world, I would.
Music or podcasts?
Music. I have to have music when I’m writing or driving.
Iced coffee or hot coffee?
Neither. I’m one of those oddball writers who doesn’t drink or need coffee! My vacations in London and Ireland have converted me slowly into a tea lover. My favorite teas are peppermint, chocolate chai, and English breakfast, with almond milk and honey!
If you could choose an actor to play you, who would it be?
People always tell me I look like Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years (played by Danica McKellar). But if I had to pick, I would choose Constance Wu. I admire her as an actress and a human being, and I think she’s such a great advocate of Asian women in the arts.
What would you be if you weren’t a writer?
I would be a movie music composer!
What quote do you (try to) live by?
I’ve always loved this one quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Partly because it’s about letting life take you where it will, and partly because it’s how I feel every time I start writing a new book: “It’s a dangerous business, going out of your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
To read more about my personal publication journey and advice for writers, please check out my FAQ.
For a list of events and signings I’ll be attending, please check out my Events page.