Stories that Matter

Meet Julie Cantrell – Author of Into The Free!

It’s a pleasure to have Julie here today! Her debut novel, Into The Free, has just released, and it is already a smashing success! I haven’t read it yet, but I can’t wait! Here’s what you have to look forward to:

Into the Free     

Debut Novel of Love and Forgiveness from Southern Author Julie Cantrell

Gritty, compelling, and beautifully told, Into the Free will take you into a coming-of-age story filled with heartrending hardship and luminous hope. Julie Cantrell is a writer to watch!”

—Lisa Wingate, bestselling, award-winning author of Dandelion Summer

 COLORADO SPRINGS—Debut author and editor of Southern Literary Review, Julie Cantrell, writes an extraordinary story of love, survival, and forgiveness in the new David C Cook release, Into the Free. Readers will be awed by Millie Reynolds, a young girl from Mississippi who has packed a lot of life into her seventeen years.

With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” it seems that young Millie has no hope. She longs to flee Depression-era Mississippi and the madness that marks her world. Then a sweet gum tree she calls Sweetie, her beloved neighbor Sloth, and a band of gypsies that caravans through town all combine in a life-changing way. Her traveling friends lead Millie to a box filled with family secrets, and Millie wonders what its contents mean for her future. Will it give her the means to break her family’s cycle of abuse? Will she find a way to be safe and loved?

In Into the Free, Cantrell tells a story so compelling that people will scarcely believe it is a debut novel. Set in Cantrell’s home state of Mississippi, Into the Free has a full cast of genuine characters and a heart-touching story that readers will never forget. The book also includes an AfterWord section with book club-style discussion questions and other behind-the-scenes information. Readers will long remember Into the Free, finding the ordinary yet remarkable Millie to be one of their most beloved characters.

 About Julie:

A speech language pathologist and literacy advocate, Julie Cantrell is the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review. She has served as a freelance writer for ten years and published two children’s books. Julie and her family live in Mississippi, where they operate Valley House Farm. Visit her online at

Let’s find out a bit more:

Who Are You?

I’m a sleep-deprived, sugar-addicted mom of two spunky, strong-willed souls; a worn-out worrier of a wife with way too much guilt; a frazzled friend who wishes I had more time to meet for coffee and walks; a first-generation organic farmer with dirt on my jeans and hay in my hair; a pal to all things furry, feathery, and fun;  a teacher of students learning English as their second language, a certified speech-language pathologist who contracts to conduct school evaluations, a frenzied freelance writer who loves the challenge of a crazy deadline; a voracious volunteer who is finally learning how to say “no thanks,” and – as of February 1 – a newbie novelist. Whew. I’m tired.

Where Are You Now?

Physically: Exhausted

Spiritually: Sound

Emotionally: Stable. No. Unstable. Wait. Stable. Yep. Let’s go with stable.

Mentally: Debatable

Where Are You Going?

Crazy. Any day now. Watch me.

 Well, don’t go too crazy, Julie, I think you have great things ahead of you!
Readers, do you have any questions for Julie?
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  1. bethkvogt on February 3, 2012 at 4:41 am

    I like you, Julie. I really do.
    And if I can get my work in progress written and turned in on deadline, I really, really want to read your book.
    Thanks, Cathy for this wonderful intro to Julie’s book!

    • Julie Cantrell on February 4, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Awww…thanks, Beth. I like you TOO! And I’m honored you have my book on your To Read list. Thanks for joining the chat and good luck with those deadlines! I remember reading once that JK Rowling considered breaking her own arm to have an excuse for missing a deadline…that’s how much pressure they can create. Here’s to you becoming the next JK Rowling…with no broken bones! Cheers, j

  2. Olivia Newport on February 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy. If you’re looking for a story with a great sense of place and era as well as a character you want to root for from the start, this will be a satisfying read. Good job, Julie!

    • Julie Cantrell on February 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      Thank you SO much, Olivia! Those kind words mean more to me than you can imagine.

  3. Cathy West on February 3, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I’m so looking forward to reading it!!

    • Julie Cantrell on February 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks, Cathy! I look forward to hearing your reaction to it…and thanks so very much for hosting me here on your wonderful blogsite. A blog about books…what better topic for a blog could there possible be?

  4. Dianne Christner on February 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    “Into the Free” is such a well written book. Are you planning to write a second novel, Julie?

    • Julie Cantrell on February 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Oh, Wow, Dianne…thank you for that very generous praise. I am furiously trying to finish the sequel now. There’s much more to Millie’s story! I hope y’all will come back to read the rest.

  5. Rosslyn Elliott on February 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Thanks for featuring Julie, Cathy! It’s good to learn more about her.

  6. Rosslyn Elliott on February 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks for the view into Julie’s world, Cathy! It’s nice to know more about her.

    • Julie Cantrell on February 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks Rossyln…now that you know my sanity is questionable and I’m an overworked insomniac…we can have some fun 🙂

  7. Rosslyn Elliott on February 3, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Oops! Sorry. I thought the first one hadn’t posted. Well, it’s DOUBLY nice. 🙂

    • Cathy West on February 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      No worries, Rosslyn! It’s always nice to hear from you!! 🙂

  8. Katy Lee on February 4, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I love your cover, Julie! It’s beautiful. Looking forward to reading Millie’s story.

    • Julie Cantrell on February 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks, Katy! I love the cover, too. I’m grateful for the extraordinary talents of the designers – Amy Konyndyk and Jeff Miller of David C Cook. They did a fabulous job, and I’m so glad to hear you like it. I’m honored you plan to read Into the Free. Please let me know what you think!

  9. Elaine Stock on February 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Julie, I was just in B&N yesterday and purchased your book. It’s next in line in my TBR stack. Looking forward to the good read!

    • Julie Cantrell on February 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks so much, Elaine! I can’t wait to hear what you think. Cheers, j

  10. Shirley Taylor-Ward on August 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I just want to say that I loved your book and so hope you will continue to write. I always judge a book by it’s cover and I know that’s why I picked up,”Into the Free”.

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