Noosa author Julie Holland records the world and her imaginings in real time, jotting down thoughts and observations as they come to her, catching a moment or a creative spark in words or pictures before it fades.
But Julie’s scratchings are not just private musings: the writer, artist and businesswoman has a history of converting concepts into creations and is currently knee-deep in her third novel, a gentle tale built around the texture and serendipity that life sometimes throws called Full Circle.
The pursuit of such creativity invigorates her – it is at her core and the forefront of how she chooses to live.
“They say you are a pantser or a planner,” Julie says. “If that is the case, I am a pantser – I fly by the seat of my pants. I start my novels with some of the elements very clear in my mind. The location of it is very important and I spend a lot of time on that. I know my main character really well before I start, but the minor characters and a lot of the plot evolve as I go. I find that in that way, they come to life during the process and carry the story in a real way.”
What underpins the appeal of this author’s tales is the realism of her narratives and her confident, well-rounded, mature central characters.
“I am a bit over the stereotype of the damaged female protagonist, and I think some readers have had enough of that too,” Julie says. “There is a lot of normal out there – not everyone and everything is a disaster – and it doesn’t mean a story can’t have hills and valleys, light and dark, as well as strength and joys in abundance.”
Julie published two works of contemporary fiction, HERE-After and That Summer in Nautilus Cove, two years ago during the period when much of the world was cramped and stifled by COVID restrictions. Anchoring them in dreamy locations and focusing on mature women who are faced with life-changing choices struck a chord.
The warm, humorous and inclusive fruits of her creativity were well received and reviewed, and Julie found a loyal following that is eager for her next publications.
Julie also finds beauty in creating little things.
A writer of inspirational verse, 10 years ago she also released a little book of her work called A Nest Twice Built. It had something of a rebirth last year after being reworked, added to and given a new title – Seasons. She created the drawings that adorn the pages.
“The verses aim to nurture inspiration, reflection and of course joy, because every season has a reason,” Julie says.
Energy abounds in Julie’s voice as much as in her daily life. She runs a busy business in Hastings Street, Noosa – Hearts and Minds Art – with her beloved partner Greg Peeler, as well as making time for writing, drawing and photography.
Julie sees Hearts and Minds Art as a vehicle to help other creatives reach their audiences; to share beautiful light, colour and exquisite form with passers-by via the Noosa shop and beyond via their website.
She is proud that her shop has soul, that the wares sold there are not the ilk that are ubiquitous or mass-produced.
Julie and Greg started Hearts and Minds Art in 2010, shortly after they moved to Noosa from Victoria. Theirs had been a high school romance, and they found each other again after life had taken each through marriages, raising children and divorces. Their love story was the seed from which Julie’s novel-in-progress, Full Circle, grew.
“Greg is my greatest advocate,” Julie says. “He is the one who said ‘let’s do it’ when my books had come so close to being published with major publishing houses but were ultimately rejected. He is everything I could want as a support and in a partner.”
Julie firmly believes that creativity is inherent in everyone, regardless of obvious aptitude. She strongly feels that using imagination to create something new is a vital, valuable part of society, and it has never been easier to acquire skills in pursuit of it.
“We are in a world where learning has never been more accessible: you can have an idea of something but not know how to go about it, and all you have to do is YouTube it to make a start,” Julie says.
“Getting your hands dirty is important, just like making mistakes and feeling inspired and then acting on that inspiration. I am all about new shoots, fresh expressions.”
Julie says it all starts with a step and a willingness to take
“You never ever know where it will lead you and the joys it will bring to you as the creator and others who appreciate your work,” she says.
“Whether you create to earn money and share it, to fill in time or to meet people, or just to have those little treasures in your bottom drawer – just start.”