Hancock Park writer Julie Buxbaum for her new book “The Area 51 Files” – Larchmont Buzz

Hancock Park writer Julie Buxbaum (above) spoke with Buzz contributor Mia Gabriella about her new book, “The Area 51 Files,” now available at Chevalier books.

Editor’s note: Buzz contributor Mia Gabriella interviewed Hancock Park resident and bestselling author Julie Buxbaum about her latest book, “The Area 51 Files,” available at our beloved local bookstore, Chevalier books. Gabriella, a writer and poet, will write for Buzz about local authors in the youth book genre, in a column she calls “Tag My Words.”



From occupying Harvard Law School to publishing two critically acclaimed adult fiction novels (the opposite of love And the after you) to earn the title of New York Times bestseller with its young adult debut tell me three things, Julie has her eye on a new mountain to climb – middle grade books. its latest version, Area 51 filesIt is the first in a series of three books aimed at children (or anyone still young at heart). In the story full of aliens and puzzles to unravel, Skye Battle-Boom joins forces with her new friend, Elvis, a pizza-obsessed hedgehog, and lovable fluffy pup, Pickles, to solve the case.

So what made you, as a lawyer, decide to become a young adult and children’s author? This really intrigues me, it’s a drastic career change.

I was a lawyer, I graduated from law school, I went to work for a big law firm for several years, and I really hated it. I was just unbelievably full. And every Sunday night, I cried because I had to go to work on Monday morning. And so, I’ve been thinking for about 17 years now… As part of my New Year’s resolution, I’ve decided to quit my job and write my first book. It’s literally the only New Year’s resolution I’ve kept my whole life. I make one every year and break it every year, but this year I kept it. I quit my job the first Monday after New Years Eve, and sat down the next day to start writing my first adult book. And the idea wasn’t, “Oh, I’m going to be a writer.” The idea was that I always wanted to write a book before I died. I’m going to write this book and then figure out what kind of lawyer I really want to be. Where I wouldn’t cry on Sunday nights about having to go to work Monday morning. But after maybe two weeks, it occurred to me that I was doing what I’ve always wanted to do with my life, it just felt so natural and so organic in a way I hadn’t expected or anticipated before. Then after that, I got ridiculously lucky. I found an agent, who sold it to an editor, got a deal with Penguin Random House, and within nine months I became a writer on a book deal. I haven’t been able to return to law and have been a full-time novelist ever since.

Wow, this is really cool.

But I feel it is really important to emphasize: First and foremost, I had the honor of leaving my job. And secondly, I was terribly lucky. I mean, I was so proud of the book I wrote, and I still love this book, but there are a lot of people out there who write great books and the stars don’t line up like they do for me. So when people ask me, “Should I quit my job to write a book?” Do not do it! [Julie laughs.] This was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But for me, it happened.

Can you guide me through the upbringing of The Area 51 Files? How did the sky become?

So during the pandemic, my child used to ask me all kinds of questions that I didn’t have good answers to. And I’m sure a lot of parents felt that way. My child was asking, “When will we go back to school? Are we going to get sick? When do we wear a mask? There were a million questions and I didn’t have the right answers for all of them. As a parent, there is nothing more painful than not knowing what to say to your son. So every time he asks me My baby asked a question, my heart was sinking and had a really hard time. So one day we were sitting at dinner and my baby turned towards me and said, “Mom, I have a question!” And my first thought was “Oh my God, what now?” I started getting better but I was like, “Of course you can.” to ask me a question, my friend.” And my son says, “Mom, what do you think is going on in Area 51?” And a lamp went off over my head and it was like a ding ding gong, I can answer that question for you! And I decided to write a book to answer his question.

I wanted to know how publishing your first book changed the way you write. And what have you learned from writing for a younger audience compared to an adult audience?

Oh interesting! I don’t know if that’s the case. I don’t know that my work has changed so drastically from the first book to the second. I definitely became less disciplined. I think when I sat down to write my first book, I still had the kind of hard-line mindset of a lawyer. Where every minute counts, so there’s this ruthless efficiency that applies, and it gets slower and slower and less efficient as you get older.

This is very funny because I usually hear the opposite. Like, “Oh, this is my job now, so I have to double down on mine.”

Yes, I have two kids that keep me very busy, my life is getting fuller, and the amount of hours in a day stays constant until it gets more and more difficult. I think I was more efficient when I was younger, unfortunately. [She pauses to think.] I think adult writing and youth writing are very similar. I don’t find that my work has changed significantly in between. Except as I think a little bit about how language is perceived in the adolescent mind versus the adult mind. But other than that, my process is exactly the same. With my middle grade book, because it’s illustrated, this is different. For me, the writing process is a more visual way, where I have to imagine and see things, and then I have to describe the pictures to the painter. It’s something I’ve never done before and it turns out to be really fun. And the most fun part about it is trying to be funny in a picture, not with words.

So was the writing process year on fire easier or harder than Area 51 files?

I think it was more difficult. Technically speaking, writing Area 51 files It was more like working out a new muscle, so that might be more difficult. But in terms of joy, not all of my books are joyful from start to finish, but with it Area 51 filesI just smiled all the way through. Like, it was just pure fun. Partly because I wasn’t necessarily writing for my career, I was writing for my child, which is a completely different thing. I suspect year on fire It was a little more difficult, in part because I left it to write Acceptance I had to pick it up again.

You asked me earlier why I turned to YA, and I answered why I switched to adult. So the answer to my reason for turning to YA is that most of my life as an adult, I’ve been playing as an adult. Like, I’d get up in the morning, put on my business suit, go to work, and then come home, take off my jacket, and put on BSC Or something like that, and be like, “Haha, you cheated on them another day!” And as I got older, I published two books, moved to London, then New York, then Los Angeles, got married, bought a house, had two kids, and suddenly it became very clear to me that I was bigger-up. You’d think realization would be a relief because when you fake it, when you’ve had this imposter syndrome for so long, you get the feeling that when you lift things up it feels lighter. But in fact, I found it really sad. I miss not knowing what my future holds. There was no more what if. There were no more big life questions that needed an answer. I turned to YA because I wanted to write about that time in life where everything was wide open, when all first things were in front of you, not behind you.

Well, I have a few quick questions to get things done. I want you to answer as quickly as possible. ready?

ready.

The three most important things you need on your desk while writing?

A cup of coffee, a pen and a laptop.

plotter or trouser?

trouser.

Favorite character you wrote before?

David from what to say then.

The name of an underrated novel that you love.

Picture us in the light by Kelly Lowe Gilbert.

Name five authors, living or dead, you’ll want to throw a dinner party with.

Zadie Smith. Jane Austen. Milan Kundera. Richard Powers. Mo Williams.

Julie’s next book will be the next installment of area 51 files, titled the flow. Coming summer 2023! Mark my words, you won’t want to miss it.

Mia Gabriella


Mia Gabriella is a 20-year-old student who writes in her spare time. You can usually find her with her nose stuck in a book and hope that one day she will write her nose. When it comes to her writing process, she says, “It’s all done on my phone whenever inspiration comes. The Notes app is a godsend, haha.”

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