Champaign Author to Celebrate Release of Second Book in Time-travel Trilogy

The wait is nearly over for fans eager to read Vortex, the second book in the Tempest young adult trilogy by Champaign author Julie Cross. The book will be released on January 15, 2013, in the United States. It was released in the United Kingdom on January 3. 

Cross will celebrate the occasion with a book signing and talk at the Champaign Public Library, located at 200 W. Green St., on Saturday, January 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free and open to both teens and adults. Registration is requested; register online at http://bit.ly/cpl_julie_cross_vortex or call 217/403-2070. Barnes & Noble will sell copies of Vortex at the library both before and after the author’s presentation. 

Tempest, Cross’s debut novel and the first title in the series, was released in January last year, earning praise from critics and raves from readers. Entertainment Weekly said, “This fast-paced spy thriller/romance packs a surprising emotional punch that leaves you wanting to leap into the future to devour the upcoming sequel.” The book came out in paperback last month and continues to gain attention. Earlier this month, Seventeen magazine named Tempest its book club book of the week.

Vortex brings back the series’ time-traveling hero, Jackson Meyer, now working for a shadowy branch of the CIA focused on time-travel threats. Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, are college-aged, a departure from many books written for teens. Cross prefers it that way, noting on her blog that she likes “the freedom that comes with writing older teens.”

In a recent conversation on reddit.com, Cross explained her interest in writing young adult literature. “I love all the first experiences. I love the angst. For me, I always try to write the book I would have wanted to read at 15 to 19 years old.” Cross also said she enjoys writing “from a guy’s point of view.” That, and having a male editor, “prevents an overdose of romance on my pages.”

Cross admitted her path to success has been “very unconventional.” Cross was a recreational gymnastics program director for the Champaign County YMCA until writing became a full-time occupation. She started writing in May 2009 with no prior experience or coursework in writing. She said she writes quickly, creating lengthy first drafts during the hours while her children are at school.

 “It’s truly amazing to do something you love for a living,” Cross said. “It never really feels like work.” Her first advice to aspiring writers is to read extensively, as she has done throughout her life.

The books are being published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press. Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the Twilight movies, has acquired the film rights to the series.

For more information about the library event, call Betsy Su, teen librarian, at 403-2086 or bsu@champaign.org.