“Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.” Julie Clark’s second novel, The Last Flight debuted on June 23rd. The storyline centers around two very different women with one thing in common, they are both trying to escape their past. After a chance meeting, Claire and Eva decide to switch tickets, both hopeful that they will be able to start their lives over again. The plot thickens when Eva’s plane crashes, and Claire finds herself assuming Eva’s identity and all the secrets that come along with it.
In this interview, Julie shares about her writing process, authors who inspire her the most, and a sneak peek into the storyline of her next novel.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
Definitely when I was a young child. But I ended up taking a long road to get here, through collegiate athletics and elementary education first!
Who are a few of the authors who have inspired you the most?
Without a doubt, Jodi Picoult, Barbara Kingsolver, and Anna Quindlen.
The Last Flight is your second novel, your first The Ones We Choose was published in 2018. When did you first come up with the storyline for The Last Flight?
Probably about midway through working on my first, which is usually how my story ideas come to me…just enough for me to be intrigued, so that by the time I’m ready to sit down and write, I’m really excited about it.
Do you plot out the entire novel in advance, or do you see where the characters take you?
I have a general idea of the major plot points – what launches my character into their adventure, the midpoint turning point, and the resolution. But other than that, I let my creativity take over. I outline after I have a finished draft, so I can see where all the plot holes are!
What was it like going between telling Claire’s story in the present to sharing Eva’s backstory and everything that happened leading up to her trading places with Claire in the airport?
It was incredibly hard to draft two completely different POVs, but a little easier in that Eva was in the past. I didn’t need to worry about facts on the page colliding in real time. I spent a lot of time with each character on her own, making sure her backstory was fully developed, and making sure her narrative arc was complete. Then I had to weave the two together!
What was it like writing about a character like Claire’s husband, Rory?
It was hard. I kept trying to protect her, to soften the abuse…or the flip side, making him so bad no one would believe it. I had to walk a very fine line because I needed people to believe Claire would fall in love with a man like Rory – charming and charismatic, but then be repelled by how he was behind closed doors.
Were any of the characters in The Last Flight based off of anyone you’ve met in real life, or are they purely fiction?
Thankfully they are all purely fiction!
If you could meet Claire or Eva in real life, who would it be?
Eva for sure. I think she’d be very interesting to talk with!
What was the hardest chapter/scene to write?
The hardest chapter was the one where the women actually trade tickets at the airport. I wrote and rewrote it so many times, from different POVs, until I finally landed on the one that’s in the final version of the book.
Are you currently working on your next novel?
Yes! It’s still very early in the process, but I can tell you it’s about dark family secrets and what happens when my character discovers they’re much bigger – and more dangerous – than she ever imagined.