- Crescendo (July 2019, written with Allen Cheney)
- Perennials (2017)
- The Feathered Bone (January, 2016)
- When Mountains Move: A Novel (2013)
- Into the Free: A Novel (2012)
- God Is With Me Through the Night
- God Is With Me Through the Day
Video of Julie discussing her book The Feathered Bone
Julie spoke in June 2016 to Starkville Reads, a nonprofit organization based in Starkville, Mississippi. In this brief video excerpt of her presentation, she was talking about the topic of human trafficking and how she came to author a novel (The Feathered Bone) about the subject. Julie’s compassion and strong belief in the survival of hope shone through as she talked about this difficult topic and the people she interviewed.
A poignant presentation from Julie followed this short video recording in which one of the take-aways was we are all here to love one another, love ourselves, and be loved. It’s as simple as that. (This is my paraphrasing of what Julie said). We are all responsible for one another and need to show compassion, set good examples, and take steps to help one another. If we don’t make an effort, who will?
Faith and hope are threaded through her stories, and they shine through in her personality and demeanor as well.
In this short video, Julie is talking about how she explores the human journey in her writing and why faith is a strong component of her writing. She wants us to examine who we are as human beings and how we survive the awful things that happen to us.
New York Times best-selling author Julie Perkins Cantrell was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1973, but she lived for a number of years in Oxford, Mississippi, with her first husband and two children. Cantrell and her family operated Valley House Farm in Oxford. She is also a certified speech-language pathologist, and for a time she taught English as a second language to elementary students.
Cantrell has now moved to Houston, Texas, with her second husband, where she continues to write. She has been a freelance writer who has been the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review. She has contributed to more than a dozen books.
Cantrell received a 2011 Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Artist Fellowship, and in 2013 she was the recipient of the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. Cantrell also won the 2013 Christy Award for First Novel. When Mountains Move was the winner of the 2014. Carol Award. In 2017, Cantrell was a finalist for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Fiction Award.
Cantrell is now a New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist.
Her debut novel Into the Free is the coming-of-age story of Millie Reynolds, who confronts family abuse and a dark past during the Depression era in Mississippi to find a better life. The novel has received impressive reviews from USA Today and the New York Times.
Her second novel, When Mountains Move, continues the story of Millie as she marries and travels with her husband to the Colorado Rockies.
Cantrell’s third book, The Feathered Bone, a contemporary novel set in post-Katrina Louisiana, was published in January, 2016. The novel explores issues of human trafficking, teen suicide, and domestic violence as it tells the story of Amanda. It is reminiscent of the story of Elizabeth Smart and Cantrell’s own brother’s suicide when he was a senior in high school. According to Cantrell, “the feathered bone represents the resilient strength of something that can bend without breaking,” and the title comes from the feathered bones once used to make corsets. In the novel the feathered bone is also used as a symbol to “examine the lengths women will reach in order to feel of worth to a man” (Cantrell).
Harper Collins Christian now owns the rights to the first two novels that were published by David C Cook. The revised editions of those books were re-released in 2016 with new covers. Her children’s books are out of print.
Cantrell wrote and had published her fourth novel Perennials in 2017 and Crescendo in July 2019. Crescendo was written with Allen Cheney and is the story of a musical genius who forever changed a Southern town.
1. When and where were you born?
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1973
2. Who were your parents? What can you tell us about your childhood? Did your parents encourage you to read and write?
My parents are Michael and Cynthia Perkins. I spent most of my childhood in Walker, Louisiana. I left the state after finishing graduate school at LSU in Baton Rouge. I was raised by a wonderful single mother who taught elementary school. She instilled in me a love for literature and always encouraged me to read and write.
3. When did you move to Mississippi? Do you like living in Oxford, which is such a literary town? Where else have you lived?
My husband and I moved to Oxford, Mississippi, in 2004 after spending our first married years relocating many times across Louisiana, Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Colorado. We enjoyed all the places we called home but have been happy to plant roots in this literary town. It was here I first met published novelists and realized it could be done.
(Note: Cantrell has since moved to Houston, Texas, with her second husband.)
4. Who are your favorite writers?
I am an avid reader and admire many authors. To name just a few: Barbara Kingsolver, Jeannette Walls, Jesmyn Ward, Louise Erdrich, Lee Smith, and Elizabeth Gilbert.
5. What are you working on now? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m currently writing my third novel. It’s set in modern-day Louisiana. I’m excited to introduce readers to my childhood stomping grounds and am enjoying seeing this story develop, even though it is quite dark.
6. Where do you get the ideas for your stories? How much research do you do for them?
I do a ton of research. That’s my favorite part. I love learning new things and meeting new people. I doubt I will ever run out of ideas. I only wish I had time to write all the stories bouncing around my head.
7. What advice to you give your children that you would also pass along to others?
I consider my role as a mother the most important part of my life. I hope I have taught my children to always know they are loved and that they deserve to be treated well by the people in their life. I hope they never settle for an abusive relationship, and I hope they always live a life of kindness, gratitude, faith, and compassion. I hope my writing helps readers know they are loved, they are not alone, and that they have worth in this world. I also hope my stories remind us all that our choices matter greatly…every single one of them.
Thanks for supporting my work and for taking time to share my stories with readers.